A Writing Guide Review Trio
So, I have three writing guide reviews on tap for today.
The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing and Design by Flint Dille and John Zuur Platen is a really good introduction and guide for writers, either novice or veteran, looking to move into video game writing.
The differences between video game writing and other forms of writing are laid out. Writing for video games often add another layer of complexity. This is especially true in more recent games where players have far more options in regards to game play. Whereas a novelist, comic book writer, playwright, etc. work in a single linearity, a video game writer must think of all the possible variations of an action. Now, the plethora of player choice is limited, but is considerably larger than in other forms of entertainment.
For years, I had used a pretty standard character bio sheet that I got from a handout for my first creative writing class. Now, this handout is pretty good. But, the character (and organizational) creation chart that Dille and Platen introduce has quickly become my favorite. Whereas the character’s biography had been the key in creation, the new model is based on role in the plot with biographical information coming at the end. I have created several characters with it, and have found it greatly better than a standard biography.
On the whole. If you are interested in getting into video game writing, this is definitely a book to go after. And for those who are looking for newer ways of looking at one’s own writing, there are gems here that can easily be adapted to other forms of writing.
Making Comics by Scott McCloud is a highly entertaining and easy to follow guide in how to create one’s own comic books. The book follows both a general guide to how to create as well as looking at the form as a whole.
I really enjoyed the book and it did teach me a lot about how to make comics. Unfortunately, the book is mostly geared towards artists rather than writers. Much of the text is designed to give artists a foundation on how to work. Now, writers get some advice, but other sources would be equally or more helpful. That said, the book is really helpful in showing writers how to think like a director (which I will touch on in the last guide).
Another issue with the book is that while McCloud does focus a lot on the various options a young comic writer/artist has, he really does not expand much on that.
Writing for Comics by Peter David is the answer to what McCloud leaves out. Geared mostly towards writers who wish to focus primarily on superheroes (and other similar genres), this book is a great resource whether you want to write for comics or other forms.
The best parts of the book come from his explanations of conflict and theme, structuring the narrative, and how to actually script a comic book. The character creation chapter is also an extremely helpful one, though there is no chart or biography exercise given (besides a basic one).
And he even provides some insight into actually getting paying work with some companies.
So, in the end, Writing for Comics is highly recommended for anyone looking to write for comic books or even writing science fiction and fantasy prose.
There you have it. But if you want to write for video games or comics, check these books out.