When you introduce a game to someone else, you tend to break it down for them by genre, setting and then maybe add in the gimmick that sets it apart from the rest. We all have an idea of what it means for a game to be a platformer, a first-person shooter, a third-person shooter, a real-time strategy game, heck even a role-playing game, despite the genericness of the monikers. By now there are well-established mechanics and expectations for all sorts of game genres. In platformers you are expected to jump. A lot. You are expected to build up an army from scratch in real-time strategy games. There’s nothing in the general idea of these genres that dictate that this is the way it has to be, but these are gameplay mechanics that have worked well. Not only this, but the fundamental style of your game has to more or less match the genre’s aesthetic so as to not scare new players off. (Click here to read the rest of this entry)

People enjoyed the little ghost stories I retold during my retreat. Here’s another that freaked the hell out of me. (Click here to read the rest of this entry)

So I’m back from Varuna (and braved the chaos which is returning to work ;) ) My week away was quite pleasant and productive. I did a reading of my first two chapters, which got a good response. I wrote about 9,000 words, which is less than my usual target of 10,000 in a week, but I was writing poems and not a lot of dialogue. Dialogue almost writes itself and a simple mess-about scene can blow out to 1,000 words quite easily. I’m happy with what I wrote – I had to tackle an emotionally traumatic scene which always leaves me a little drained. I tend to get myself into the mood that I’m writing towards, like a mild form of method acting. The scene that resulted was good, but perhaps not amazing. I might get it on another revision. (Click here to read the rest of this entry)

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I’ve been on a few writing retreats now and one thing that has struck me is that writers, no matter their preferred genre, love to tell a good ghost story. I enjoy them as they have that simple but effective approach to storytelling. However, I’m not too proud to avoid mentioning that it freaks the hell out of me for quite a while afterwards. (Click here to read the rest of this entry)

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