“I was on a phone call with an author of one of those fantasy series I edit, discussing my revision notes for him. His latest book had all the right beats and elements, but what I was missing was the depth of character motivation. The plot seemed to be happening to the characters rather than because of them.
This author, I knew, also played D&D and suddenly it hit me how to explain the issue. “Think about when you’re playing D&D,” I said, “and you have to choose what your character would do based on his character profile.” I told him about James having R’lyeh step on the traps, and how that choice created consequences and emotional engagement for all the players.
If everyone plays it safe, there’s no excitement—in D&D, and in writing.” More from Liesa Mignogna at Tor.com.