GAME WRITER HUSTLE: The Writing Test
Competition is fierce. Top videogame studios know there's a TON of talent out there vying for that dream game writer gig. (or, in these troubled times, ANY decent work) The solution? A little bit of controversial 'free labour' known as...the WRITING TEST. Now, I've been a game writer and interactive narrative guy since 1997. That's 23 YEARS. Let that sink in for a minute. And even with that slew of storytelling experience, heaps of professional accolades, high-level game writer recommendations, and some acclaimed self-created indie projects? I still get asked, more often than not these days, to 'audition'. Seriously. ..
CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS: How a Comic Book Epic Was a Master Class in Storytelling
When I look back at the stories that had a lasting effect during my youth — those that shaped me, and inspired me, and frankly blew the roof off my poor little mind — I'd have to say that one of the defining tales was this 12-issue DC comics epic. For a hick kid with a second-rate movie theatre, a laughably small local library, and six channels on cable? My storytelling could pretty much be summed up as BC and AC: Before Crisis on Infinite Earths...and AFTER it.
How Dungeons & Dragons Revealed My True Character
The roots of capital-c Creativity run deep. Mine grew wild and tangled 'til squeezing tight at the sound of rolling dice. Role-playing. Escapism. Fantasy.Call it what you want, son. The rest of us called it...D&D. Dungeons & Dragons pushed my burgeoning imagination in strange and exciting new directions. But, as this story (embedded above and transcribed below) will show, it also taught me something essential about myself...
GAME WRITING: A Short Exercise In Suspense ('Homecoming')
A potential client recently offered an intriguing challenge — write a short story in five parts with the following limitations: three sections of prose under 200 words in 2nd person narrative style, and two sections of TEXT MESSAGE dialogue with 8 lines or less in each. Use a female protagonist, and craft the tale from one of the following genres: Romance, Urban Fantasy, Comedy, Horror, or Suspense.
COVENTRY: A World-Building and Branching Narrative Exercise (GAMES)
Building a world affords a certain creative freedom. You aren't forced to work within established boundaries or strict IP limitations. You can let the imagination run a little wild. You have a chance to throw stuff against the wall and see what sticks. And, quite often, you can incorporate factual research into the world building of a fictional space. Which means you might even learn a thing or two in the process.
WRITING PROMPT: Questionable 'CHOICES'
Over the past year, I've been approached more and more about writing for 'branching narrative' games. Usually it's an established property, with the team leader keen for a different take on the material (which tends to translate as 'Characters and dialogue with more edge, please.') Hmmm...I think I can do that ;-)
BRANCHING NARRATIVE: Choose Your Adventure!
Whether crafting linear or branching narratives, the end goal remains the same — Emotional Engagement. I've been thinking about this a LOT lately. And that's only natural when app and game and media folks keep wanting to bend your ear and chat 'choose your own adventure stuff'. Something, my friends, is in the air...
MOVIE SEQUEL or NEW TV SEASON — Who's Better?
I was recently asked an interesting question: 'What do you see as the key differences/similarities between writing a sequel to a movie, and breaking a new season of a television show?' I answered in a giggling torrent, more with 'gut' than logic...but I still think the analysis holds up well.
HOW I'D WRITE IT: GREEN LANTERN IN JUSTICE LEAGUE
The early reactions for JUSTICE LEAGUE are in, and most agree on one upside—the characters, overall, are great! Which helps, because that's what's been missing from the DCEU. I just hope the goodwill carries over to my fav DC hero: GREEN LANTERN. And they CAN make his intro work. Here's how...
FABLES: DEFINING A GENRE
The fine folks at WATTPAD — the Canadian-made 'social storytelling' network where fledgling writers and established authors can share story excerpts and complete works with a hungry (and massive) through a slick and simple interface — recently got in touch with an intriguing request...