I've been roleplaying quite a bit for the past… er, well, thirteen years. But my involvement with and the nature of Harry Potter roleplaying fandom has meant that in the past six or so years, I've done a lot of hopping into and out of games – there have been a few long-running campaigns that have been wonderful, just great adventures in group storytelling, but in general, the area as a whole is characterised by the way games coalesce and disintegrate, and people drift hither and yon. This means lots of creation of new characters, adaptation of existing or previous ones, and – even if you're not the one doing the moving about – reconsideration of storylines for your characters as others come and go.
It needs flexibility, but it can be its own sort of exciting, as an important element of your character alters, and new possibilities and interpretations open up. I have had so many conversations with people that go along the lines of, “Well, they could be friends, or they could be enemies, or they could be past or future lovers, or they could be complicated frenemies who are engaged in an ongoing potions duel but go for smoothies. I know how each of these is made possible through my character's history and personality, but I don't know which I like better.”
Emphasis added, because that's the point here. There are so many options, and once you've been RPing for a while, you play a whole range of different sorts of storylines (well, you do if you're actually doing it right – whole different rant) and you come to realise that every option – every option – has its own varieties of delightful and delicious to explore. And this is the problem I'm finding. I can see the wonder and opportunities that lie down every branching of the path. It's fine when you're in a game with other people – you wrangle and negotiate and brainstorm and come up with a way that's maximum fun for everyone involved.
But when I'm writing prose, it's just me standing at the fork in the road, looking into multiple distances that all look equally splendid and not taking a fucking step because I can't make a bloody decision. RPing, you have broken my certainty of the singularity of story.
…Great, I just came up with more options in writing this out than I had before. *le sigh*