"Hey, Lycanthrophile, i just found this RPG group. And I think Carl would be a good fit..."
That was my introduction to Tenebrae Nostro. No hint of the madness to come in those simple words.
I'll be honest. My response was to say no. I was in the middle of writing a Supernatural Big Bang story and unsure if I would make the deadline. The last RPG I had joined outside of a few close friends had ended because of a lack of time on my part, and I had no desire to see something wither on the vine again. I was dealing with a personal issue that was taking up a lot of my time. I just couldn't see taking on another project at that moment. So I politely (I hope) declined and continued on writing as Julie and I kept on talking.
Fast forward about three months. Julie mentioned Tenebrae Nostro again. And this time, I was in a better frame of mine. So I looked things over and said yes. But there was a problem. Carl and Gideon had known each other in a different game, so we wanted the characters to have a past. Except that Gideon was already involved with Adam. I wanted Carl to have or develop a relationship with an appropriate level of angst, but I wasn't about to suggest that we break Gideon and Adam up. So Julie mentioned this character called Michael from a book that she had just read. I did a little research online and read the ebook.
I devoured it in one day. I then went out and bought a paperback copy.
It's not great literature by any means. But something about Michael Luther's situation and the events Julie proposed that would lead him to LA resonated with me. It would be a perfect match for Carl and force him to grow as a character. Which meant that I would have to grow as a writer. Just the challenge that I wanted.
In the three months it took to write Savin' Me, Julie and I have written almost 90,000 words which made it into the story, plus probably another 90,000 in background, discarded scenes, and plots that were started and discarded. I have developed Carl's backstory in more detail, several significant NPCs who were little more than painted cardboard have become characters in their own right, and spent time in the not so easy art of realistic world building.
So thanks to Trinity for creating the playground that allowed us to run rampant, thanks to Frost's mun for giving us the perfect set up, and most of all to Julie for poking and prodding me into becoming a better writer. I couldn't have done it without you.