Junot Diaz Credits His Literary Success to Dungeons & Dragons

July 21, 2014

Junot Diaz

In a New York Times article published last week, writer Junot Diaz said that the now forty-year-old role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), enabled him and a generation of writers to jumpstart their creative lives. “It’s been a formative narrative media for all sorts of writers,” he said, adding that role-playing allowed him to “learn a lot of important essentials about storytelling, about giving the reader enough room to play.”

According to Jennifer Groulin, an assistant professor of English at Ball State University who studied D&D players for her book, “The Creation of Narrative in Tabletop Role-Playing Games,” D&D requires inventiveness and a knack for advancing the story in a way that causes other players to buy into it. “You have to convince other players that your version of the story is interesting and valid,” she said. “I think D&D can help build the skills to work collaboratively and to write collaboratively.”

Ex-gamer writers include the poet and fiction writer Sherman Alexie, George R. R. Martin of the Game of Thrones series, and the sci-fi and young adult author Cory Doctorow.

D&D was originally designed by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

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