Slowly, you step into the old throne room of the castle, your footsteps echoing back at you as they bounce off of the arched ceiling twenty feet above. The room extends ahead of you, an abandoned hall covered in a layer of dust, empty save for two rows of massive pillars. The air is cold, stale and still. As you progress forward between the pillars, your torchlight reveals the end of the hall, bringing the throne into your view. The grand seat of stone sits upon a wide pedestal of marble, in front of a tattered wall tapestry, flanked by time-worn statues depicting demonic knights. And then, in the illumination of your torch, you notice it: the king’s remains, a cobweb-covered skeleton sitting upon the throne, his hollow eye sockets somehow staring directly at you.

Perhaps I didn’t describe it quite that well at the time, being only fifteen years old, but I can still recall the magical feeling of excitement that I felt when I ran my first custom dungeon. I had only been playing Dungeon & Dragons for a couple of years, but I rapidly took on the responsibility of learning how to be the Dungeon Master (DM) for our group. What I didn’t realize at the time was that being a DM was more than just an enjoyable pastime for me; it was actually preparing me to become a writer of several styles and multiple media, molding me into a multi-class wizard of the pen.

There was something about being intimate with an entire fictional world that I found (and still find) utterly fascinating. It definitely appeals to my attention to detail and, at times, intrigues me to a point of near obsession. This infatuation eventually oozed into other parts – nay, every part – of my life. The concept of “making it my own” actually changed the way I enjoyed other hobbies. I was no longer satisfied with merely reading a book, listening to music, watching a movie or playing a video game. I wanted to write my own everything!

Over the years, I have done exactly that, acquiring an impressive array of literary achievements since my days as a DM. I have written hundreds of songs that have been recorded and distributed around the world. I am the author of two self-published books, one of short stories and the other of poetry. As a freelancer, I have penned a number of informative articles and editorials. The film screenplay and video game script I wrote just for fun. In addition to all of this is my biggest personal project: Dark Domain a.k.a. Nocternal, my own fictional world, eighteen years in the making and still a work in progress, currently over three hundred pages of material.

- Edited version of "From Dungeon Master to Diverse Writer." Read the entire literacy narrative - click here.