Sign in to follow this  
boolean

The definitive guide to game writing inspiration

Recommended Posts

boolean    1829
Thanks for those links SnS. I had a read through them and I can tell why everyone flocks to your journal [grin]

I have added an extra section to the guide called 'Gamedev.net links', so if you know of any great articles that exist on Gamedev, post the link and I will add them to that section.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
onyxflame    203
Oy, looks like sun's got some great stuff...now if only I can stop blabbering long enough to check out her journal. :P (You are a she, I hope? I seem to remember that from months ago lol.)

Oh and, do you have any info on that card game sun? Sounds like something my family would love playing, but it's doubtful I'd be able to find it in this crap town. Maybe I'll just hafta make my own version... :)

And boolean, as much of this stuff as you do all the time, why aren't you a moderator or something by now? :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sunandshadow    7426
Quote:
Original post by onyxflame
Oy, looks like sun's got some great stuff...now if only I can stop blabbering long enough to check out her journal. :P (You are a she, I hope? I seem to remember that from months ago lol.)

Oh and, do you have any info on that card game sun? Sounds like something my family would love playing, but it's doubtful I'd be able to find it in this crap town. Maybe I'll just hafta make my own version... :)

And boolean, as much of this stuff as you do all the time, why aren't you a moderator or something by now? :)



Lol. Thank you, and yes I'm a she. Card game...? Oh, you mean _Once Upon a Time_ by Atlas Games (There are now spanish and italian versions too, but this website doesn't sell the french version becauseit belongs to a different company, Halloween Games.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stimarco    1071

This is probably one for the writer, but...

If you want to get away from the increasingly tired rehashes of Celtic/Scandinavian mythologies that have become so popularised by Tolkien's works, you could do a lot worse than read Joseph Campbell's books on the world's myths and legends.

Here's a list of his books from Amazon UK. The "Masks of God" series, as well as "The Hero With A Thousand Faces" are the key works.

His studies of the world's mythologies were made in the 1960s and he rounded them off with a book that uses Jungian principles in an analysis of common storytelling elements he discovered during his studies. This book has proven something of a seminal work on the subject: "The Hero With A Thousand Faces" and is the basis for all of Christopher Vogler's books ("The Writer's Journey", "The Hero's Journey", etc.) Many books have been written based on Campbell's original analysis, but few add anything really new and some actually miss the point.

I should add that Campbell wrote for an academic audience, so don't expect an easy read. Chris Vogler's books are probably better if you prefer some bedtime reading, but I warn you: you won't be able to watch "Star Wars: A New Hope" again in quite the same light.

--
Sean Timarco Baggaley


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sunandshadow    7426
Personally, I can't stand Joseph Campbell. He was a transcendentalist/spiritualist of some sort and it shows very badly in the way he writes like someone blindly enamoured of 'ancient ritual' and 'noble savagery' rather than a sociologist or other objective scholar. >.< Unfortuately he was the most prolific writer about myth and now is one of the few who can be regularly found on bookstore shelves. I would recommend Emile Durkheim, John Fraser, Jared Diamond, etc. instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
onyxflame    203
Universalis

Not sure if this really belongs here, but it seems to me like it'd be a great tool for creating story ideas, whether intended for game use or just as stories. It's basically a collaborative storytelling game, with mechanics to resolve disagreements between players, as well as the ability to semi-randomly resolve story conflicts so even the players can be surprised by what happens. It costs money, but it's a lot cheaper than buying several writing books.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
boolean    1829
Argh, sorry for taking so long to update the list. I thought Sunandshadow was the last person to reply a while back, so when I kept seeing that she was the last one to post a message, I just assumed it was the old one. My bad [smile]

I have added a new section called 'Other useful tools' since the new additions didn't really fit into the rest of the list.

If anyone has anything they would like me to add or has any input on the list, please let me know.

Cheers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
paul8585    100
I am in no way shape or form trying to come off "as a smart person". The creative beliefs I hold most telling and important are the ones I formed way outside the academic arena, I mean, on my own, in my own time, and in my own way.

If I wanted to draw a character, would I spend the whole afternoon studying and reading about other peoples characters? I would think to spend the afternoon actually drawing would be the most effective way to get there, same with character developement. To spend the afternoon reading about the actual writing to be done rather than actually writing is just like the above mentioned drawing example. I mean we could and would need to spend hours of concept drawing, of which will end up in the trash, just to get close to the begining of a final rendered character, alot of unseen work to get there.
Take character, try this, write, I mean write, easy nuff' said, but write for a reason. What do I mean, character, ok, character development. Sit down and wether it be outline, free form, your own special short hand, what ever, and picture this potential character, and write down what you see, lists, of physical traits, mental traits, childhood, Fathers work, Mothers love or lack, and so on and so on, and after a few days, an hour here, there, you will have come to know, really KNOW, who or what this person or thing is, then it will react accordingly to what ever the plot is, it is a fully fleshed out being, via your notes, in conjunction with your mind, and well it was done by writing, and only you will know about the twenty pages of character development you put in, everyone else will think wow so life like. You don't have to be always working on the story to be working on the story, and the work is writing. Believe it or not it is only you who knows who your characters are, not someone else, just step back and take a look, a good long hard look, and log, look, look, they are there. This method worked for Dickens, good enough for us mere mortals. Just like sketches, gotta gett er' done

[Edited by - paul8585 on August 26, 2008 11:52:42 PM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sunandshadow    7426
Quote:
Original post by paul8585
If I wanted to draw a character, would I spend the whole afternoon studying and reading about other peoples characters? I would think to spend the afternoon actually drawing would be the most effective way to get there, same with character developement.


Hmm, well when I go to draw a character, I spend an hour or two looking for source images on google image search, then print them out so I can look at them all at once while drawing. It's not an issue of practicing drawing the character when you are in the design phase. I know how to draw characters in general, just like I know how to write them in general. The problem is figuring out exactly what I want to draw/ write. And the easiest way to figure out what I want is to look at others' stuff and say "this reminds me of what I want to do, that is the opposite of what I want to do, wouldn't it be cool to combine this element from here and that element from there, what if I did the same type of thing as this example but with a totally different tone..."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
paul8585    100
When governments want to know the true character of any individual, they observe, and keep notes on all they observe, Mother, Father, school everything, then based upon those notes they have the most complete picture of the characters, well, character, and what that character might do in any given situation. Dickens IS the best ever at, and is known for his picture perfect character development. Dickens would write pages upon pages of these character documents, he would as well stand before an enormous mirror, and become the character, in speech, walk, everything, then take these physical manifestations, and use them to great effect in his characters, he knew who these characters were before he would ever write a single verse incorporating them into his stories. Dickens is to written character development, as Kirby is to drawn character development. Process is internal, reference is external, at some point if your gonna write, gotta write! I mean like drawing the body there are basic principles, and one must draw, draw, draw to hone these principles, same with writing, a shadow drawn on the inner thigh, is like a portion of a written description, it is in the general area, maybe not perfect, but your mind has already moved onto the torso, just as the writer now explores, via writing, the torso as well, and so on. Now when the artist comes back to the thigh at a later date he see's the shadow not quite right, out comes the eraser, and that shadow now a little better, just like the written torso, now we see it a bit more clearly and can describe it a bit more effective with different words, words are pencil strokes, and the final product is words built upon words upon words. The more a writer writes, the better they become at writing, the more a drawer draws, etc... Just try what I am suggesting Shadow, give it a try, or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sunandshadow    7426
I never liked Dickens' characters, lol. But of course I do do character development exercises, actually write stories with characters in them, then go back and revise the story to make it better. I'm not a detail person though, I've always been lousy at observation of pretty much everything. I'm a theory person instead, I start from a a basic archetype and then build detail on top of it, rather than starting from observed details and trying to guess or ignoring the pattern underneath them. Fortunately as Rudyard Kipling said, "There are nine and sixty ways/Of constructing tribal lays/And every single one of them is right." (With the caveat, it's right IF it actually results in a half-decent story, I've seen a few methods that just don't work for anyone.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
paul8585    100
Don't like Dickens characters? I guess you can lead a man to knowledge, but you can't make him think.

Above is a joke in good spirit, exercise is close, but exercises prepare for, this is a way to do.

I read on another post you were looking for a writer, you, who does not like Dickens characters, in charge of writers, say it aint so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stimarco    1071
Quote:
Original post by paul8585
Don't like Dickens characters? I guess you can lead a man to knowledge, but you can't make him think.

Above is a joke in good spirit, exercise is close, but exercises prepare for, this is a way to do.

I read on another post you were looking for a writer, you, who does not like Dickens characters, in charge of writers, say it aint so.


To be fair, classic literature can be unrewarding if not read in context. I was going to put in a one-line teaser for my book-in-progress, but that would be unfair, so...

I was lucky enough to be born and raised in London and the nearby county of Kent, so I'm well aware of the historical contexts behind Dickens' writing. (Incidentally, Dickens primarily wrote serials for magazines that were only later collected in novel format. He would actually modify future chapters according to the reception of his earlier instalments; interactivity in his favoured medium was not yet dead!)

Shakespeare is another example of context making a huge difference to understanding his works.

Shakespeare's writing can be bloody hard to follow at times because he wrote at a time when the very language itself was in flux. Worst of all, however, is the way teachers tend to approach him as a playwright first and foremost, assuming that plays were performed under a proscenium arch. This does Shakespeare a massive disservice: he was an *actor* before he became a writer, and he was acting for much of his life. If you haven't seen the Globe Theatre, a replica of Shakespeare's most famous theatre, it's incredibly difficult to see just how interactive the acting process was at the time. There was no curtain. No proscenium arch. Few sets. It was surprisingly close to improvisation. Some copies of Shakespeare's plays mistakenly included dialogue that was clearly ad-libbed between actors and the audience.

We see linearity in Story today as axiomatic, but this was not the case until very recently. Oral storytellers frequently adapted their stories to their audiences. Harpists (in pre-invasion Ireland) taught through song and story, spreading news and gossip across the land -- the original gossip columnists! Even early theatre was closer to pantomime in its level of audience participation than to today's formal staged plays. Shakespeare would probably be stunned to see just how much reverence we put in his words. Heaven forfend that someone changeth a single jot or tittle of his plays!

It was not until printing presses, radio and finally movies and TV that an author's written word became entombed in amber forever by modern media. The computer has merely restored the interactivity our ancestors already enjoyed, but with the potential to take it so much further.

*

If Sunandshadow doesn't like Dickens or Shakespeare, this is no reason to insult her writing abilities. One does not need to have read widely in the fiction genres in order to be able to write well enough to make a living at it. Fiction is about the *people*, not just the words on the page. You can pick up characterisation and plotting pointers from TV, film and radio, not just books.



Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
paul8585    100
Dickens wrote in periodical format because he married a newspapermans daughter, good for the family busines, periodicals. He was as well a man of the stage, quite, and as for yourself being English, sounds like a personal problem, get specific, what exactly is this context you speak of, in this context.
Shadow did nothing to warrant my wrath, and no malice was directed twords her, I was joking, but you, well, English humor, sometimes flounders in translation, and when I insult someone, they know it, that is whole point.

Sorry shadow if you feel, felt, slighted, challenge of convictions leads to truth, I know, I know nothing, except what I think I know. If I engage you, I respect you, even in disagreement, and I can be, ha, can be, I am a smart ass.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stimarco    1071
Quote:
Original post by paul8585
Dickens wrote in periodical format because he married a newspapermans daughter, good for the family busines, periodicals. He was as well a man of the stage, quite, and as for yourself being English, sounds like a personal problem, get specific, what exactly is this context you speask of, in this, context.
Shadow did nothing to warrant my wrath, and no malice was directed twords her, I was joking, but you, well, English humor, sometimes flounders in translation, and when I insult someone, they know it, that is whole point.


Two countries separated by an upper middle class* language.

--
Sean Timarco Baggaley
Warning: May contain bollocks


* (The language married into some money recently. The ungrateful little strumpet is currently looking for a new home in either Hertford, Hereford or Hampshire.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sunandshadow    7426
Thank you Stimarco, for the defense and clarification that I am a woman. :) I do actually like Shakespeare's comedies and sonnets. I never really had a problem with the archaic language, although like Chaucer, it certainly gets funnier when someone explains the figures of speech and cultural context.

Paul, to further clarify, I happen to have a BA in English, and I have for various classes been required to read 6 different works by Dickens. I had one English professor who was practically in love with the man. :D But I just never really connected with Dickens' characters or the moral mindset of his stories, which start out in a gritty/grungy way but somehow the characters are immune to life's gray areas and end up not having changed in any realistic way in reaction to their experiences. I like fairytales, and I like the gritty social examination of something like Lord of the Flies, but Dickens is like Lord of the Flies does Mother Goose, which is quite jarring to me.


*Where Hurricanes Hardly Hever Happen? ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
paul8585    100
Maybe your professor was, ah, maybe correct. I have papers as well shadow, and they for the most part would do just as well layed out on the floor as on a wall behind glass.
Maybe you could explain the whole context thing stimarco is talkin' bout'?

You do realize we are discussing a writer who is by many experts to be maybe the best, the best, as well as someone who's work has moved me personally, on a deep level, his skill and craftsmanship has gotten me. So when anyone discusses a top of there field type artist, you have to say more than, you don't like it? What specifically? Be specific, what is this context? Why does one writer dislike another writer, a true champion in the field, a cornerstone, to dismiss his lifes work as utterly without any method or merit. There has to be something to his process worthy of a second look, even if you don't see it the first few times around, and certainly if so many claim it is there, don't say it is not without getting very specific, maybe the best, the best, he is I tells' ya'!
I should have known you were a girl, unicorn icon and all sorry bout that'.


I am just digging deeper hunh?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sunandshadow    7426
Context meaning cultural context - for a book written in a time or place other than one's one, one must understand the time or place to be able to appreciate the book in the way the audiences of that time and place appreciated it, which is presumably how the author intended it to be appreciated.

But seriously, this is beginning to be annoying. Don't you recognize the importance of personal taste? Even if the majority of people in the world were to agree that one book was the best book ever written, I am still allowed to dislike it if it doesn't appeal to my personal taste. Yo can't say my professor was right - in matters of taste there is no 'correct' opinion. It's just a fact that Dickens doesn't strike my fancy, and I already explained why. I did not at all say that it was "utterly without method or merit", just that it doesn't work for me personally. There isn't any deeper to dig, so accept it and move on. I'm certain there are also examples of thing I, or other members of this boars, think are examples of champions and cornerstones of the field of writing that aren't your cup of tea. Unless possibly you don't have any taste of your own and just like whatever others say is great?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
paul8585    100
You should not be moderator status, you have no idea what you are talking about, seriously, and any debate becomes a challenge and is confronted with non sensical jargon, a matter of taste? I have been talking about mechanics, not taste. The mechanics of character devlopment, and one method, used by a master, you get way off subject then divert it to a taste issue. When ever a person has bitten of more than they can chew, they always try, as you are, to reduce it to some kind of taste debate, which this is not.

Only a fool would disregard a masters approach to craft, in any medium, as if your taste is beyond a masters, just a very foolish position in general.
News flash the rules of writing, mainly the ones that apply to games comes from Aristotle, but I am sure his writings "CONTEXT" displeases your refined palate, and well it is so old as well, why it's ancient, oh dear!
It is people like you online who make it immpossible for others who can contribute something to do so, you make the experience a childish wasteful enterprise beyond actual constructive debate.
A matter of taste, just your opinion, there are two side to every coin, etc... are phrases used by persons worldwide when they have no clue what the hell they are talking about, and want out of the conversation, and always deliver said phrases in a last word context, see Ma', used context in a sentence, should I define it for you as well, as you and your english muffin seem to have no idea what context is, or means.

[Edited by - paul8585 on August 28, 2008 1:01:22 AM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sunandshadow    7426
Honestly, I don't know what you are thinking. I said, "I never liked Dickens' characters." Meaning, they do not appeal to my taste. So I've been talking about taste the whole time, and because you mistakenly thought otherwise, now you're going to say I shouldn't be a moderator? I don't imagine you've even read any of my writing on literary theory, even though my own essay on the very subject of character creation is linked to in the first post of this thread? Earlier in the same series of essays is one where I talk about Aristotle's Poetics. But then, from your first post addressing me you haven't done me the courtesy of assuming that I might be a fairly intelligent and experienced writer who has already spent years reading books on literary theory, writing, and trying to help others come to a better understanding of fiction and improve their own writing.

Let me ask you one question: Why are you at this forum? If you are here to experience interesting new perspectives and discuss literary theory topics while being a polite 'citizen' of the forum and respecting others' right to hold opinions different from your own, that's awesome. If that is the case we will probably be friends once this current misunderstanding is straightened out. But of you are here to pose and lecture and argue your opinion to the exclusion of everyone else's, we get people like that occasionally, that isn't welcome here and if they don't leave on their own one mod or another will warn them, progressing to a temp ban if they continue being aggressive; in particular there is a site-wide policy against personal insults and flaming, which any mod can enforce. That's not a threat, it's something every new poster needs to know, especially if they want to participate in constructive debate without the conversation degenerating into argument and then flaming.

At any rate - either look at my stuff and come to an informed opinion, or calmly and courteously restate whatever question of theory you actually wanted this conversation to be about, or let the conversation end, since the one thing I agree with you about it that it had gone off on a useless tangent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this