Behind the Scenes - Pie Stories

Behind the Scenes - Pie Stories

Some of you have inquired how I come up my pie stories, which are inspired by short random encounters in game that I later embellish.  I am not a professional writer, nor did I major in English or literature - but I took a creative writing in high school (ages ago) and enjoyed it. I'm here to encourage you, whatever walk off life you're in, to try your hand at writing such stories.  It might just enrich your experience in Norrath, and get your mind off grinding through yet another hell level.

Not sure how to begin? Here are some of tips to get you started:

1. Get curious. Something catch your eye or intrigue you in Norrath, made you do a double take on your travels? That's a good starting point for a story, since your imagination is already stirred, getting those creative juices flowing.  "The Doomed Mission" began with a question I asked myself whenever I ported into Butcherblock - why are there dwarf skeletons always standing there, that don't attack?

A story can begin with a simple question.

2. Observe details and note them down.  Sometimes seemingly inconsequential actions can help shape your story.  Before writing "Rogue of Honor", I noticed Roxsta was caught pickpocketing the lizards while were fighting, and that one line of text would've passed by in a blink of an eye. While writing the story, this minor detail would help me shape Roxsta's character and rationale for being in Cazic-Thule.  Take screenshots on game (Numpad "-" key), to jog your memory later.

3. Flesh out your characters. Where did they come from? What influenced their actions or decisions?  Why do they do what they do? Sometimes you're not given much to work with so you have to work backwards - for example, Rhupert in "A Mysterious Letter" was just a complete newbie that his RL friend Giddo invited to try out the game for the first time, and I helped them both bind in Kaladim.  But I began thinking about what it would take for a level 1 rogue to leave the comfort of Misty Thicket, and make such a long trek to Butcherblock, filling in the backstory as I went - each piece helped the next fall in place.

4. Talk to others, and interact with them.  Most stories don't happen in a vacuum, and it's easier to advance the story when there is a dialogue between two or more characters.  "An Unusual Request" literally wrote itself - it does help that Pihole is able to port/heal/SoW/buff - but EQ as originally designed is a social game, and I imagine that is what keeps drawing most of us back.  Ask people what they're doing, where they're going, and how your can help - it can all be good fodder for your story.

The story of Willam Halfdark wrote itself.

5. Research, read lore and explore. Norrath is a very immersive world, with a lot of local flavor and unwritten history that you can draw from. Actual game locations and history help draw in the reader into the story, when they make sense.  Below are two resources I use:

6. Challenge yourself. You may have noticed a common theme in my pie stories - but when I start, it's not always clear how I'll incorporate a pie reference into the storyline.  Contrary to what you may think, having the challenge of a thematic design constraint actually does help push me harder - and makes the story more satisfying for me.

7. Don't give up.  Sometimes the toughest part is just starting the story - there's too little to work with, the characters just don't make sense, or there is no flow to their actions.  You might need to keep adding to the character, and let the momentum carry itself forward. Other times, you have to just sleep on it for a while, and come back to it later.  "Tale of Two Shamans" actually took a while to write, until I took a break and realized the two shamans did not need a lot of dialogue to get their point across.  But first you have to get your ideas down on paper, to allow yourself time to evaluate or edit down later.

If you're interested in kicking off your own stories, or if you'd like to contribute stories to this page, please let me know! #Pihole8881 on Discord or