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Story writing for games is hard. (Forums : Writing & Stories : Story writing for games is hard.) Post Reply
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Apr 4 2021 Anchor

I've been working on a game prototype for quite some time and have managed to take care of most of the creative side on my own.

One of the things I have to admit to myself I cannot do is write a compelling story. I know I need help with this, my own attempts are dull and flat.

I can make lists of events and work out when to introduce mechanics but I can't give it life, coherence or character development.

Could anyone recommend any resources specifically focused on writing for a game or would an experienced writer have any tips to share? I'm thinking I'll need to hire someone to write for me but then I worry that it will go in a direction I dislike or the writer will turn out to be no better than my hacky attempts. Typical anxiety.

Apr 5 2021 Anchor

Relax yourself couple of days in nature with few cartoons in your pockets. Try to think abnormally, some kind of black humor and ideas will start coming to you. But be warned, if you look to long at abyss, it will return regards too. So what is it about, start to think out of box and attack the same problem with different angle every time. Be brutal, story should be mysterious, but not predictable. Use "The walking dead" system, keeping in mind that everything is mortal til end of the game. Use multiple endings for your game, many ways, some kind of sandbox, free play where any decision has it`s own consequences and so on.

May 7 2021 Anchor

I know what you mean as I'm struggling with the same problem. My approach to it is as follows: I start with something super basic like "A boy goes to the store." And then I try coming up with a reason as to why he went to the store and just let my imagination take care of the rest. That sorta helps me. My other method is to visit r/writingprompts and hope imagination strikes me again.

jjc_uk
jjc_uk Running late, but moving quickly
May 19 2021 Anchor

Writing IS hard.

Hiring a writer is a good option, although your anxiety is justified. Bringing someone else into the project is always difficult. It takes time to find the right person, and it takes time to embed them into the project. You will need to find a balance of letting the writer add their own touch to your vision for the story - expecting someone to magically verbalise your story is unrealistic. Trust the writer's expertise and expect to meet in the middle.

If you do take on the writing yourself, my best advise is to keep it simple. Don't try and write Mass Effect or Disco Elysium. Economise with words, minimise story sequences, keep your ambitions low, restrict dialog to just one or two lines. Focus on stringing together something reasonably consistent, don't worry about trying to make it funny or emotional or epic. Remember that gameplay and graphics are also part of the story - players will respond to animation, art and environment just as much as words.

Some of my favourite storytelling in games is also the tersest.

Jul 15 2021 Anchor

I learned a technique in university called "free writing" which was designed to get all the 'fluff' out of your head before you did some serious writing. What that meant was opening up a journal, writing without thought or conviction for five minutes or so, and then going on to do your writing. Getting an object into motion is difficult; keeping it in motion is easy. Free writing allows you to setup your flow state and from there, you can get going. Free writing with an intent to brainstorm is also productive, though you need to release mental constraints about not wanting to write down bad ideas. Just write every idea that comes to mind, and sift through the trash later for the gems.

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