Friday, June 14, 2019

Writing the Prepared Professional

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One of the reasons I love thrillers is the genre's dedication to authenticity. Cops talk and act like cops, spec ops guys see the world much differently from ordinary people, and so on. The genre provides a dramatised window into the lifestyles and activities of these professionals, and how they see the world.
Key to portraying an authentic violence professional is preparation, both mental and physical. People who do bad things to bad people know the costs and consequences of violence, and prepare themselves accordingly. They tool themselves up to meet the threats they expect to face, and seek out training to expand their repertoire. Done properly, a writer can awe the reader by demonstrating the triumph of the prepared individual even in the most extreme of environments.
Conversely, when not done right, it leads to many eye-rolling moments.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Designing for Games vs Designing for Stories

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A week ago, PulpRev author Jon Mollison wrote a Twitter thread about the role of clerics in Dungeons and Dragons. Among the key insights was this:
Wrong. Clerics are a great #dnd class because they fill a proper function within the game - secondary brick with defensive tac support.
Designing the class to reflect a literary archetype puts the horse of post-game rationalization before the cart of the in-game game.
He nails it on the head. Designing for games is vastly different from designing for stories.
Readers engage a prose story through the plot, characters, and prose. The writer guides them on a journey in the mind, directing the story from start to finish.
Gamers engage a game through its mechanics. By playing as their avatar, they create their own experience.
Readers and gamers have different ways of approaching their chosen media. The requirements of these media lead to different design choices.