Writing for Games

Together with Naomi Alderman, I devised and taught a regular residential course in Writing for Games for Arvon. We had the great pleasure of teaching this course a few times at Arvon’s Lumb Bank writing centre – once the home of Ted Hughes, though now seared into my brain as the site of 100 Hours of Solitude.

But it’s not all about the venue. We tried to teach people to think more broadly about games and about writing. Games can tell stories but they can also be poems. They can be political manifestos. They can be pointless fun. It’s up to you to decide what you want them to say.

The course was designed both for writers who are interested in games and for game designers who want to explore writing. We looked at card games, street games, roleplaying games and big-budget computer games too.

In 2014, I taught the course with the excellent Jon Ingold, with guest speaker Rhianna Pratchett.

Feedback from participants:

“I didn’t expect to find an exciting, new world of writing and come back with a whole new focus, but that’s what happened… Writer geek heaven.”

Chella Ramanan on GamesIndustry.com

“‘I’m writing a game now & it changed my approach to fiction. It kinda changed my life.”

“The best week ever.”

“…that perfect blend of helpful, fun and downright weird… one day I’ll go back, just so I can experience it all again.”

Blog post on Arvon.org

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