Interviews

Elahmeth Part Three: The Essence of Elahmeth

Rachel C. Lightfoot, Sarah L. Parris, Meme Dixon, and Liz Konkel from Elahmeth: The Roleplayer’s Guild join us once more! Yesterday, we talked about how their writing has evolved, and how they expect it to continue evolving. Today, Elahmeth talk to us a bit more about working together and collaborating as writers.

Mayra
You have each mentioned that your writing, as a group, is now very much in sync and flows wells. Do you think that’s a result of the working together shaping characters and worlds? Or do you suppose there was some sort of “predisposition” that allowed your writing styles to generally align with each other’s? In other words: nature or nurture?

 

Sarah
That’s an interesting question and as I’ve taken some time to mull it over, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s probably a bit of both.

 

The four of us tend to write similar stories on our own anyway. We all gravitate to the same genres, we share a sense of humor, and I think share a similar taste in the kinds of stories we enjoy – adventure, darkness tinged with comedy, characters who drive the narrative through internal conflict rather than external, and so on.

 

I would say the main difference in our individual writing is a matter of tone and medium – some of us preferring dark to airy, or off-beat humor to a more general upbeat vibe, or script to prose.
But I think because we have a shared sensibility in what makes a good story and good characters, writing together felt fairly natural from the beginning, and took off beautifully once we had found our rhythm. The nurturing came in when it came time to figure out the more technical side of things – what actually made sense for the story, what would most help the characters grow, or what would most challenge them in certain instances. Much of the time, we have different ideas about those kinds of things, and it can take time to hammer them out until everyone agrees we’ve come up with what will work best for the story.  

 

We’re in one of those tangles right now actually, concerning a scene where two characters must have their souls tested. We all agree that they must be tested for a certain overarching issue, but are unsure what the challenge for that issue, or the catalyst for their personal growth should entail.  It’s a fine line, but I feel it differs slightly from pure plotting, as the nuances of the scene will affect the characters’ growth and how they will come to perceive their places in the world differently than they do now. Here we must do what’s best for the characters and what we decide will have an effect on the tone and trajectory of the story, if that makes sense.

 

Rachel
I definitely agree with Sarah on it being a mix, for a lot of the same reasons.

 

As I said, I’ve roleplayed in this style for years.  I picked it up in 7th grade during a low spot with most of my classmates, and quickly found myself part of a guild dedicated solely to medieval fantasy RPs.  I loved that guild, and definitely owe the other members a lot – they taught me how to RP and have a good time with it.  But time passed, we got older, and we parted ways.
Comparing our guild now, and my first guild back then, I honestly think the main difference is the mindset – knowing what’s good for the story and characters rather than just focusing on what’s going to give us a good, no-fuss time.  

 

It’s relatively easy to pick up a roleplay and go – I used to RP with complete strangers in short stints, where we’d dive in feet first and see what we could make of four or five free hours, then never communicate again.  Those kinds of RPs are a lot of fun and have their place, but they can become very repetitive after a while, and they lack the potential to really dive into a character’s inner workings.  They’re just snapshots, and though a lot of snapshots strung together can tell a story, it feels disjointed and one dimensional.  That’s the trap my first guild fell into – we used the same characters, but the events of one RP might never color another RP.  They were just static “what if” scenarios.

 

We definitely have had a lot of “what if” scenarios along the way, and it’s that kind of spontaneity that got us started in the first place.  That was the natural aspect of our guild – how well we could mesh our styles and goals from the beginning.  As Sarah said, we all have a common idea of what makes a story and character interesting, so we easily fall into the same stride.

 

But rather than plow ahead blindly, we plot a lot with world goals in mind.  And sometimes that plotting takes time.  Like Sarah said, we’re currently in a fairly large tangle for our current main campaign.  We made some good headway a week or so ago in terms of plotting, but…  No roleplaying yet.  We started this campaign in December 2015.  Only a few posts have been written since then, and none since last July.  The tangle’s just that big.  All of us want to finish the campaign, for the sake of clarity and closure, but none of us want to rush it.  If it takes time to tell the story right, so be it, because whatever we do will influence our characters and their stories indefinitely.

 

Liz
Collaborating as a group was fairly easy for me. I wrote with my friends in high school, and had to work with three friends for a group project where we rewrote “Oedipus” in modern style, with a genre attached. I hadn’t roleplayed before Rachel and Sarah were like ‘hey let’s do this’ but it helped me having already worked with friends before.

 

I think it’s a mix of both as well. My first day at college some of the first people I met were Meme and Sarah, who happened to have the same adviser. From there, Meme and I just kind of clicked and somehow got super excited about our scriptwriting classes which led to us always plotting and writing together. We clicked rather quickly, and our writing synced up seemingly from the start. Then Sarah and Rachel had a similar thing so I think it was easy to come together as one group.

 

I think it took a bit of work to get these four worlds to go together, especially since mine was vastly different from what the others have, but once we found a certain spark that worked, everything seemed to fall together. We plotted hard, did math and timelines, with Sarah and Rachel covering hundreds of years worth of info, but everything came together in a nice little bow.

Meme
I definitely think it was a mix of nature and nurture. I won’t go into it too much since my feelings and thoughts are pretty much the same as everything that’s been said and I don’t want to be too repetitive.

 

Our similarities definitely made it easier to come together when we first actually went for this.We all meshed really well and became close friends faster than I believed possible. So maybe that played a part. I remember it was only awkward for a bit getting into the roleplay. Then the characters began to adopt this sort of “Okay we’re in this, let’s set goals and see them through until we’re home” mindset. And as Liz just said, once we found this spark that ignited not just us but our characters then everything started falling into place. Like something unlocked in our heads and now here we are.

 

A lot of times we will pair off when we hit these roadblocks. Because at any given time two of us are on the same or similar pages, it helps to split and get the ideas worked out and then come back together for further tweaks and overall approval and then that usually leads to long sessions where more plot and development unfurl from what we have (I’m actually thinking about the Wyld Hunt). Does that make sense?

 

Rachel
Definitely makes sense to me, Meme.  I mean, even when we plot now, Sarah and I usually try to be in the same room (our houses are about 15-20 minutes apart at the moment), so we end up talking and scribbling things on whiteboards before tag teaming typing replies in the group chat.  And I know we’ve all done similar side conversations before we jump into our big plotting sessions, just because one of us will get excited, feel the need to share a new idea, and not everyone will be around to flail with at the same time.   Then when you add in our tendency to pair off and work on side RPs, to get our characters to going, too….

Liz
We do pair off. And that can lead to interesting results. Like the night where we thought the Wyld Hunt was a great idea, you and Meme went all FAE LORE! and Sarah and I had a conversation I can’t remember still.

 

Meme
Excitement makes sharing a necessity because until we get that enthusiasm out we are just talking really really fast.

 

Rachel

And yes.  All the fast talking. With some random squealing incoherently thrown in a lot of the time.

 

When I first interviewed Meme, Sara, Liz, and Rachel, they did not have an “official” name for their guild. It was such an honor–and surprise–to have with witnessed when they decided on the name of their guild. It is with great joy that I share those special moments with our readers!

 

Meme

OOH GUYS! LIZ JUST REMINDED ME THAT WE NAMED THAT ONE WORLD! SIAMAK’S WORLD!!

 

Sarah
Oh yeah! Elahmeth right?

Liz
Something like that. I know we used our names!

 

Meme
Yes! We used our name because it went with the feel of the world.

Rachel
Yes, I remember that much – we used the last two letters of each of our names to name the world.  I just couldn’t remember if that was our guild’s official name?

Meme

 

I don’t think it was but I’d forgotten.

Liz

 

I can’t remember if it was, but I know that we got very excited about putting our names together.

Meme

 

I know we liked how magical the name sounded.

Sarah

 

You know, I like that for a guild name though.

 

Meme
Oh oooh

Rachel
As do I. So, shall we go with it?

Liz
I think so. ❤ It’s a little bit of all of us.

Rachel
It is. ❤

Sarah
Nice! Elahmeth it is!

 

Meme
I am so happy right now!

 

Mayra
*observes with tears in eyes and tissues and chocolate*

What a moment to witness! ❤ Elahmeth it is! ❤

 

The essence of Elahmeth: “A little bit of all of us.”