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rjm5578

Writing skills

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Hello everyone, 

I'm new to this forum but I would like to ask a question.

What are the most important skills needed for someone looking for a 

job in writing for games. Also is it better, when creating

a portfolio, to write small stories to display your different writing

styles or to finish out a whole story.

 

Thanks for any feedback!

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You'll probably want to read some recent threads on a similar theme:

https://www.gamedev.net/forums/topic/690843-top-challenges-of-writing-for-multiplayer-games/

https://www.gamedev.net/forums/topic/690725-first-try/

The main thing you need to be aware of is that games companies, in general, do not hire writers based on reading a story (or part of a story), just like they don't hire artists based on seeing their paintings. Employers usually want to see examples of work as it would be directly used in the game. This might mean things like:

  • sample dialogue between characters
  • the shooting script for a cut-scene
  • race/class descriptions for RPG character creation screens
  • a summary or short treatment for the overall narrative progression through a game

On a more sober note, most games companies do not hire writers at all. The majority of writing is either outsourced to contractors - usually veteran writers with a wide range of experience - or delegated to designers, some of whom are likely to have a literary background. You may wish to consider whether one of those routes is better suited to you.

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The best things to know when writing games are novel-writing and screenwriting. Both will help you in very different ways:

Screenwriting: Develop dialogue skills and expressing your ideas with no sound.

Novel-writing: Deep character development, crafting your own worlds, extending a small story into something epic and creating profiles for character classes.

In general, both are a good idea to learn. However, most writers I know in the industry started as screenwriters (at least in story-driven games like Uncharted. The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom (2016) and Gears of War used novel-writers most of the time)

Overall, it depends on what kind of writer you want to establish yourself as. Not to say you can't do both, but focusing on one for a while before switching to another might be a good idea. Nevertheless, a diverse portfolio of scripts, books, novellas, etc. could help show your skill.

www.writersdigest.com

www.nofilmschool.com

www.gointothestory.com

These sites will most definitely help you learn the basics and expand your horizon. Good luck!

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couldn't agree more with Kylotan. When I decided to do this professionally I was under the assumption that the writer would be in the same vein as a design lead. Boy was I wrong !

To be honest Game Writers are just glorified dialogue writers in the industry. So when sending out samples I thin this is the most important factor you have to keep in mind. Never submit a short story; it proves no point to the recruiter that you're wonderful with words or 'ideas'.

I think a good way to go ahead creating a portfolio would be to step into Interactive Fiction. It kinda worked for me.

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All good advice. It is good to be accomplished in both fiction writing and screenwriting. Also many game developers want to know that you know how to use both general word processing and screenwriting software. They like to know that you can use and understand screenwriting software like Final Draft. Final Draft is expensive, but it has all the bells and whistles, but there is free software out there that can be used as well. I have used Celtx and am currently using Trembly that were both free. Check them out, as most screenwriting programs are basically the same, but some do have some extra things that you won't get with every program.

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