Category Blog

Writing for an MMORPG vs. Writing for a Novel

I can’t say if my experience was typical of the industry, since I was the only writer there. I’d like to think it was not, seeing as how I was forced to eventually quit for lack of payment. There were a number of key differences between writing for a game and a novel, not the least of which was having to work with someone else’s ideas – no matter how I felt about them. I was lead writer, but I wasn’t in control, a difference that set the tone for the job.

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Description

One of the key elements to crafting a story is description, whether it’s building scenery in the reader’s mind or shaping the appearance of a character. I tend to approach this through the usual senses, focusing first on sight then leading into any of the other inputs that apply. This is not to say visual description is the most important, it’s just the most apparent (for humans). Adding sounds, smells and textures can contribute considerable flavor – no pun intended; not many scenes call for taste descriptors. Additionally, these can be further explored by showing how they affect the point of view character. This, of course, leads into an essential use of description: character building.

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The War Golem on Protagonize

I had an idea for a goofy story a while back, about a bunch of goblins who summon a foul-mouthed kid. I wanted it to be funny and realistic, in that the kid would speak and behave like your typical video game griefer, but it was far from the usual story I write and try to have published. I knew it would be fun to write, but if no one was going to read it, there wasn’t any point to pursuing it. A watered down version wouldn’t have been as good, either.

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Constructing a Scene

When I break a timeline down into scenes, there are three factors I take into account: the event, the point of view and the setting. All gimmicks aside (flashback, time shift, dream, etc.), the how of a scene isn’t nearly as important as the why. If there’s no clear cut answer as to why this scene exists, how it furthers the story or characters, then it simply doesn’t need to be. The book will survive just fine without it; any other reason to include it borders on vanity.

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Write What You Know

I’ve seen this bit of advice before, in creative writing classes, seminars, online forums and writer groups. I believe it’s meant to encourage writers to play to their strengths, rather than the cursory limitation it could be interpreted as. How does one grow as a writer without working on flaws or expand knowledge / technique without learning new methods?

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