ProsePlanner Book Review | Video Game Writing

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Yes, video game writing.

I am always looking for alternate ways to tell a story, and I’ve recently become interested in video game writing and interactive fiction. I love reading books, comics, and graphic novels, but I have never played too many video games.

However, I’ve seen enough people play video games to have developed an appreciation for the stories and the dialogue in video games. And I wanted to learn more. Recently, I happened upon a fantastic book by CRC Press for video game writing that I’d like to share with you.

Dramatic Storytelling & Narrative Design: A Writer’s Guide to Video Games and Transmedia, by Ross Berger.

This was a great book and has really set the bar for me on video game writing and why it’s important.

Several key points from this book are:

  1. Narrative design versus video game writing
  2. Story structure diagram
  3. Character and world surveys
  4. Branching conversation tree
  5. Definitions of story beats and dramatic devices

I really enjoyed this book because it provided me with a whole new set of skills when writing characters and constructing a robust storyline. I would argue that regardless of the medium the audience wants a great story. To tell that story well, this book goes into a lot of detail with regard to the story beats (Act 1, Act 2, and Act 3) that are outlined below.

Act 1

Inciting incident

Introduction to the protagonist’s purpose

Refuse the Call

Situation Worsens

Accept the Call

Point of No Return

Act 2

Adjustment to New World

Escalating Burdens

Exposure to Weakness

Loss of Trust

Mid-/Low-Point

In the Belly of Jonah’s Whale

Act 3

Redemption

Escalating Burdens

Climax

Reversal

Recognition

Resolution

Denouement

ProsePlanner’s Book Review Rating: Four stars! This book provided a tremendous amount of detail in the craft of video game writing (and narrative design), which I believe is applicable to writing a novel. I hope that this blog post has been interesting and that you’ll take a look at the book. Please let a comment below if you liked it.

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