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Game On! Workshop

In this workshop for writers, Joshilyn Jackson and Lydia Netzer, two award-winning, best-selling novelists who are also long-time gamers, share the secrets for using play to take your ideas from the game table to the page and write exciting fiction that sells.

There really is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at your keyboard and play.

Game On! teaches writers to use the fundamentals of role-playing games and improvisational theater games to write better stories. The building blocks of fiction and these kinds of games are the same: layered and engaging characters, three dimensional settings, and propulsive plots.


Game On combines personal anecdotes with nuts-and-bolts instruction and fun exercises to teach attendees how craft skills are strengthened through play, drawing a firm line from specific gaming experiences to an analogous literary skill.


Game on Attendees should leave with a working toolbox that allows them to test-drive and lay out their ideas on the gaming table and then translate them from the table to the page. 

Have fun with games while learning to write.

Why Games?

Junot Diaz, Sherman Alexie, Cory Doctorow and a host of other successful fiction writers have been very public about their ability to translate their games into Pulitzer-prize-winning and best-selling novels. The connection between playing role-playing games and successfully creating fiction has been acknowledged in the New York Times, by ABC, Medium, and in hosts of writer’s advice columns, writers resource sites, and literary magazines. Game On moves beyond pointing out the convergence, and even past drawing direct parallels from aspects of gaming to crafting fiction, to showing writers exactly sandf concretely how to do it. 


The instruction  is reinforced by the exercises, giving writers practice in applying these principles to their own work. Why does Susan Dennard (NYT best-selling author of The Luminaries) say that all writers should be playing Dungeons & Dragons?


Because gaming is writing, and writing can be play.

How Does It Work?

The workshop is constructed in three parts. 

Characters: how to use RPG rules to juice heroic journeys and ensemble casts. 

Setting: how the map is the story on an epic level, and how to use a battle map to make character choices real. 

Plot: how games demonstrate story pacing, and how the randomness of dice can inspire intuitive connections.


These modular sections can be added or removed to adapt to the time allowed and the number of attendees. Game On can be taught in a seminar setting, where exercises are read and shared for feedback, or it can be hosted as a lecture in an auditorium, still involving the active participation of the entire audience. It can also be broken apart and taught in multiple sessions.

Who Are We?

Joshilyn Jackson and Lydia Netzer are writers who game, and gamers who write. Both have impressive publishing histories and both have spent years using gaming to inspire, fuel, and improve their fiction.


Joshilyn Jackson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of ten novels, including Mother May I and Never Have I Ever. Her multiple-award winning fiction has been translated into more than a dozen languages. A former actor and playwright, Jackson reads the audio versions of both her own novels and other writers’ books; she brings her actor’s sensibility to her longtime passion for RPGs and improv theater. 

Lydia Netzer is the author of Shine Shine Shine, a NYT Notable Book, and How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky, which the NYT Book Review called “charmingly weird,” both published by St. Martin’s Press. She has been running Dungeons & Dragons games since college, and uses RPGs to teach literature and writing, with students spanning all ages from elementary to adult. 

Let's Make It Happen

Game On can be structured as an interactive lecture for several hundred, a teaching series for up to thirty, or an intensive workshop for a select few.

All we need is a projector,

and we will bring the dice. 

Email us to request

a full workshop proposal.

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