Getting into Game Writing



Bring weapons!

This post got longer than I’d like, so I’m going to break it into five parts. I’ll put up one a week.

I am often asked how one gets into writing, and the question is more complex than you might think. Just about everyone I know who works as a game writer got there a different way. So I can give some general guidance, and talk about how I got in.

I should start with this interview I did a few years ago, which got a positive response. I think people liked the unintentionally catchy phrase “Be too stupid to give up,” but that really is at the heart of it. Getting these jobs is a combination of doing all the work in advance so that you’re ready when the moment arrives– and then continuing to develop yourself while waiting for that time. Because you cannot predict when the opportunity will come. All you can do is make sure you’re ready when it does, and then stick it out in the meantime.

And that is not easy, because the wait can be long. The opportunity can slip by before you even know it, or it can seem to capriciously go straight to someone else. I want to be honest, because I’d like you to ask yourself if this is what you really want, and if you’re willing to abide in the cold darkness, outside the circle of firelight. If you think you’ll falter, better to back out now, rather than after a few years of trying.

Aside: when I was an art student, I noticed that everyone (including famous artists,) seemed to have the experience of someone pulling them aside at an early age and telling them they didn’t have what it took, and they should give up. I theorized (without any evidence at all,) that everyone gets this talk, and many people listen. It’s a threshold that every artist must pass through. If someone can talk you out of becoming an artist – telling you that you can’t make a living, or it’s not respectable, or safe, or it’s weird – or whatever – then you weren’t going to make it anyway.

And there’s no shame in that. Sometimes it’s better to know when your dreams won’t work out, and move on. Sometimes it’s better to stick it out. The only one who can decide that is you – just please don’t attach any shame to either decision. We’ve got way too much shaming going on in our society. (I’m a fan of guilt, personally. Let me decide what to torture myself over, thank you very much!)

Tune in next week for part two, wherein I discuss the first step.

  • a real yankee is from new engl

    good read Brian, look forward to the next part.

  • So true !

    I’d angrily add that the people who pulls the apprentice artists to tell them that they won’t make it (most of the times the parents, or the teachers) because of lowpay-not-respectable-you’re-gonna-be-poor-and-homeless-and-weirdo-for-the-rest-of-your-life are usually NON artist, have never been artists, and never even imagined to be one. So how the heck are they supposed to know what it is like to be an artist !?
    And those ones are only the first line of resistance…

    As for professional editors or creatives that have seen it all already, those who tell you that you don’t have what it takes, those ones are the final bosses !

    Well… gotta jump over Bowser if you wanna taste some Peach !

  • Arrya Sun

    Looking forward to the steps! =D

  • Ya gotta love having weapons near you.

  • Growing up i never really told people my dreams. So i didn’t get that talk 🙂