Today’s “Talk Nerdy To Me” guest author takes her storytelling to a whole other level. Karina Cooper writes the Dark Mission Novels and The St. Croix Chronicles, along with a variety of short stories. She also lives out a story every week with her friends…
Ooh, Foxy Lady
by Karina Cooper
Thank you, Alex, for letting me come play on your blog! Talk Nerdy to Me is one of my favorite concepts. Only partially because I happen to be a great big nerd—so much so that I spend every Friday playing dress-up with a bunch of other nerds like us.
For the unitiated, LARP stands for Live Action Role Play, and it comes in two flavors. The first is made popular via such movies as Role Model, Knights of Badassdom, and Supernatural’s LARP and the Real Girl. This is fantasy LARPing, usually a more immersive version of the Renaissance Faire or less highly structured version of the SCA. It’s also super, super fun. I don’t live near a group that does this regularly, but let me tell you, all my favorites happen overseas.
The second is what we do, which is a different type of get together. Less camping, more get togethers a month, and different rules. Ours is better described as a table top role-play session—like old school D&D, right?—but with full costumes and interactive improv. We have Storytellers who run the rest of the world, who narrate the things we can’t act out (such as, for example, giant monsters or thunderstorms or a horde of motorcycle gang goblins). It’s our job to interact with each other, with the non-player characters the Storytellers throw at us, and… well, you know. Save the world.
In my every day life, I am Karina Cooper, not-so-mild-mannered author, but come Friday nights, I go through a miraculous transformation!
With the right clothes, makeup, a good wig, and more yarn than I ever expected to have to deal with, I become a gun-slinging, two-tailed kitsune named Luka. She’s breezy, lighthearted, loves a good turn of phrase, and has the kind of secrets urban fantasy books are built on.
Which is the point. The thing I love most about LARPing is that it’s another form of storytelling. We all make fully formed characters with all the hallmarks of the characters you love reading about: they have goals and motivations, backstories both tragic and bright, and relationships formed through adventures, loss and tribulations.
We like to joke about how hard “fake life” is, but the fact is, fake life is amazing. I love that I can write all day long, and then strap on my gear and go off to play with a bunch of people who are as into shared storytelling as I am.
I’ve been playing these games for something like fifteen years. I have a huge history of characters, stories, accomplishments that feel as real to me—to all of us who live in our imaginations—as any real world accomplishment. Dragons fought, demons conquered, Princes overthrown, feuds that went on for years. Loves found and lost and so much death in our wake. Sometimes even our own.
The one thing I can say transcends every game, though, is the people. We all came away with some amazing memories, even after the players move away or move on to other things. Though three of these ogres here in this pack have moved out of town, we will never forget the Year of Summer. <3
And that’s how I like to live my life: forever in a story.
Karina Cooper is an award-winning author and a geek from every direction. When she’s not writing, she’s apparently making things up in other stories, because fake life is awesome. She’s an avowed Star Wars lover, a Bioware fanatic, a Supernatural fangirl, a cosplayer, a gamer, a LARPer, and a bunch of other things that roll under the all-encompassing term ‘geek’. What she loves best is telling stories, either on paper or in person. Visit her at karinacooper.com, because she says so.
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