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Hey what's up everybody. I'm brand new here and I'm looking for some feedback on a short story I started writing. When I was coming up with this, in the back of my head it was intended to be more fleshed out with further entries, turning into a grand arc which would eventually either form the backstory for a character in an RPG /or/ the overall narrative of a short "Firewatch"-esque artsy adventure game. Check it out below:


Gavin Miller sat alone in his living room, staring into the LED computer monitor settled on top of his corner-desk. Showered in digital glare, he leaned backwards and rubbed his bloodshot eyes with rolled fists. The small digital clock on the bottom right corner of the monitor showed 11:54 pm, meaning that he was cutting close to his bedtime.

Tomorrow, he would wake up at 7:00 am on the dot, dress in his slightly oversized black button-up and his creased black dress slacks with matching black necktie, thereafter adorning himself with a black leather belt and a pair of matching black oxfords in the process. On that morning of July 8, 2030, he would exit his bed, forgo his usual fried eggs and rye toast for a granola bar, swipe his curriculum vitae and relevant work samples off his printer, and drive his 2012 Honda Civic all the way to the unforgiving graces of an unfamiliar hiring manager at an unfathomably ritzy office located in the bustling frontier of downtown Seattle.

Yawning, Gavin committed to one final scan of the document on his screen. He chuckled when his eyes glanced over the title that had championed this mess of brightly lit words scattered in front of him. “Portfolio”, or so claimed the mundane 18-point Calibri font plopped into the center of the screen.

“Ugh… How did I come up with 70 slides of this shit?” 


Get your asses into the inner sanctum!” sang the distressed voice of a nearby evacuator.

“What the hell are you doing, Mike? I told you to grab the bag of rifles from the bus!” groups of huddled young men and women scurried past two grey-haired silhouettes and into the dimly lit foyer of a vaulted doorway.

“Christ, Doug, are you serious? These kids- “

No, Mike. If we’re stuck here in- in bullshit Tibet, we’re standing our ground,” retorted Doug, as he straightened his glasses with the tip of his index finger.


Doug and Mike were both visibly middle-aged men, neither of whom could be described as much younger than 50. Both men wore suit jackets over flannel, complimented by blue denim jeans and brown loafers. These men were, clearly, not dressed for any situation involving a bag of rifles, a Tibetan monastery, and a troupe of frightened college undergraduates.

Gavin rushed over to the two men, a dark green nylon duffle bag slung over his right shoulder.

“I heard you two fighting-” he panted, as he set the bag down on the ground.

Doug and Mike exchanged glances, beckoning one another to pick it up. Doug finally grabbed the bag and gestured at Gavin. “Look, Gav, get inside the fortress and don’t come out until one of us retrieves you.”

THEY’RE COMING FROM THE SOUTH!!” bellowed a watchwoman atop one of the guard towers. The distinctive smell of smoke flooded the outer court over the chaos of echoing gunfire.

Mike agitatedly combed his fingers through the thick of his hair. “Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck!”

“Mike, I- I need you to calm down and help me get the kids inside,” Doug pleaded as he latched onto Mike’s shoulders, looking him straight in the eye. “Just for now.”

“We’ll get out of here. We’ll get through this.”

Gavin, having come from a family of police officers and military veterans, understood the weight and reality of violence secondhand, as relayed through recollections of the Afghanistan war and 9/11 over countless Christmas dinners.

A gunshot rang out, closer than the others, followed by a high-pitched shriek.


Gavin peeked over the battlement, the muzzle of his AK-47 still sizzling. Illuminated by moonlight, a distant caricature crumpled to the ground, swiftly overtaken by a dozen more caricatures.


A flurry of bullets whizzed past as Gavin snapped backwards. Red pain shot through his left hand as it landed on his own pile of shell casings lining the cobblestone platform. One rolled off the platform and clinked below. Gavin burst out in tears and covered his face with his dirt-caked hands.

Goddammit, what have I done?


The alarm jostled Gavin awake. “7:00 am on the dot as requested, Mr. Miller,” chimed a modulated female voice through a speakerphone in the wall, followed by a pleasant tone. A second voice emerged from out in the hallway. “You have an *11:30 AM* meeting with *HIRING MANAGER*, *JOSEPH GRANT*. Should I relay the address to your cellular device?”

Gavin stumbled out of bed, massaging the bags under his eyes with both palms.

“Yeah, thanks Jonesy. Get my outfit started while you’re at it.”



Basically, what I want to know is... does my writing style seem promising? Are there little seeds in here that could branch out into something more symphonic? If so, how should I approach this so that it's videogame friendly? What kind of wrenches could I throw in down the line to make this character nuanced? 

Edited by GMoss

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Your writing is fine. But I'll address the question of "how should I approach this so that it's videogame friendly?".

I think the first thing you need to consider is where exactly this would fit into a typical video game production. The number of games that have that much dense narrative is very minimal. Often it makes more sense to view video games as requiring something more like a screenplay or a shooting script than prose - because there's no way of representing lines like this - "Tomorrow, he would wake up at 7:00 am on the dot, dress in his slightly oversized black button-up and his creased black dress slacks with matching black necktie, thereafter adorning himself with a black leather belt and a pair of matching black oxfords in the process." - without just dumping the text on the screen or having a narrator read it. "Show, don't tell" applies doubly in video games.

You might be aware of this and willing to significantly adapt the work, but you'd be better off going direct for the final medium you would need to use - otherwise you're spending a lot of time on details that will get discarded and not enough time on details that are essential. Hollywood might have the resources to take a story and pay someone else entirely to adapt it into a screenplay, but in games that is the writer's job. But be warned that you can't even get into the fine detail that you would on a shooting script unless you know the way that the game plays, because unless it's your own project, the writer won't usually get control over which scenes happen, or what the characters do. You might get control over cutscenes! But the main thing to take away is that a story for a game is impossible to write without being aware of the game itself.

Again, regarding backstory for an RPG - apart from dense backstories being very out of favour, you'd usually want to be structuring it in a more abstract way that doesn't read like a short story. Backstory might occasionally be presented as a short biography, or it might be presented with short flashbacks, or it might be indrectly hinted at via artifacts found in-game such as diaries, emails, newspaper clippings, conversations, etc. It will almost never be just a lump of linear text that you read in one go.

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I appreciate you taking your time to sit down and write that out.

So, you're saying that it'd be more beneficial for me to go in-depth when doing internal worldbuilding and character biographies, and then I'd draw from those documents when writing the actual plot as an abstract shooting script? 

Edited by GMoss

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I wouldn't say that I'm giving you as specific advice as that, and I wouldn't want to tell you how to write when it comes to creating documents that you'll draw on later. All I am saying is that the form you've used above is not a form that a typical game developer can make any use of. You need to be aware of the way both that game development works as a process and how writing for games works in general. And that includes being realistic; if you design a whole world and characters, the chance of anyone else opting to transform that into a game is approaching zero. But if you show that you're able to work with other people's world and characters, and produce writing that works with their game and engine - that's a marketable skill.

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