Long before I wanted to be a game designer, I wanted to be a writer. And, in fact, was a writer. I wrote a number of short stories, and got mostly positive feedback for them. I know my strength as a writer lies in my characters and settings, and I imagine that once I make the transition to visual media, namely video games, this will remain the same. I've always written deep, convincing characters who were developed enough (even in stories as short as a couple pages) that the reader could understand their actions and begin to see how they worked. My settings, similarly, have always been detailed and have held my readers' interest quite well. The only universal comments from my readers have been "I'd like to know more about this setting," "I want to see this setting" and "are you going to do more in this setting?" And settings are the fun part for me. That's most of the reason I wanted to do game design, in particular, as making my settings interactive is the best way for me to let people explore them, and all the people I've had read more than one story said I should do some form of visual media because my settings would be interesting to see.
But that's where my strengths end. I'm decent enough at writing stories, it's not my strongest suit but I am still competent. The rest falls flat. My sense of humour is strange and grim to the point of turning a few softer readers off and prompting comments on me being "sick." When I write a story with a moral message (I used to do this a lot) it's either too heavy handed and turns the reader off the discussion I'm trying to turn them on to or it's too subtle and is missed entirely. My social, political, cultural and legal commentary falls under this as well. Often, rather than writing to make a statement I write to raise a question, but this brings a new issue as the question I am trying to raise tends to sail over my reader's head. While a lot of this should get easier in a visual media, I'm not entirely sure and I KNOW I need to work on these things. Well, not the humour part. My sense of humour is not going to change.
So I'd like to ask writers that are strong in these areas for advice, especially when it comes to writing in games. In particular, on delivering moral messages as well as social, political and legal commentary with the right level of subtlety and making complex philosophical points comprehensible to those who are not as erudite as I am. I'd like to be able to lead them to a question, usually about a viewpoint that is commonly held and I disagree with, and give it to them in a context that will provide them a counterbalance for their likely bias and hopefully get them to think about it rather than immediately throwing it away. I can't let them know what I'm doing or they'll stick their head in the sand but I can't let them miss the question entirely or it might as well not have been brought up in the first place. I've never been able to get the balance right, and if any of you have I would like to hear from you on the matter.
Edited by Jeremy Williams, 04 June 2013 - 06:40 AM.