This week, I’ll be speaking on a panel at the National Screenwriters’ Conference.  It’s entitled “Writing- It’s more than a game” and the details are:

“The differentiation between games and films is blurring rapidly. As game graphics and other technical innovations reach a highpoint, games are depending more and more on character, story and plot… and traditional screenwriters are becoming a valuable resource for the games industry.

The major global film market (15-30yo) is spending more time and money on games than cinema – and the trend isn’t slowing. So is there a place for you in game writing? Do you have to be a user to appreciate the form? How do your skills translate to this exciting field? And is the sky really the limit? Find out how you can tap into this exciting writing opportunity from three internationally respected games writers.”

I’ll be on with Jim Shomos & Joe Velikovsky.  It’ll be an interesting panel, I think.  One of the things that I hope to stress is that games are not stories – they may contain stories, but they aren’t the core of the experience.  After hearing Zareh Nalbandian from Animal Logic talk at GCAP about convergence, I was struck by how there’s a big gap in what film people think games do and what they actually do.  His talk focused mostly on the things that narrative games share – strong stories and characters – and almost completely ignored the mechanic aspect of it.  I think there’s a lot that games can learn from traditional writers, but I think there’s a lot they have to learn about the medium before they can seamlessly make the transition.

I’ve also set up a professional development workshop with VITTA for March 27th titled Games for Learning and for meeting your VELS requirements as well! Details are:

“Games and Game Design allow a number of interconnected disciplines to interact with each other -from story writing to art to programming to design.  This workshop takes a game from its initial idea through various stages in development, demonstrating how traditional literacy and numeracy skills can be applied to game design, the planning process involved in games creation, how to deconstruct and manage large numbers of ideas, and how to brainstorm and creatively solve game related problems.”

I’m planning to blog and twitter the NSC.  Follow my twitter feed here.

This past week…

It’s been a busy, but incredibly positive, week.  The biggest news is that I’ve submitted the final work for a project that I’m incredibly excited about and should be able to talk about very, very soon.

I also finished the first draft of the first new content for my novel in over a year.  I’m working on adding chapters to fill out some character development and to stop the main beats of the plot feeling so rushed in the second act.  It’s been really strange to go back and write new content for those characters in that world, especially as it’s a novel that I began 3 years ago and the person I am now is very different from the person who sat down to write it originally.   What’s been most surprising is seeing patterns evident in the book that reflect things I’ve been going through in my personal life, and only now being aware of them.  It really brought home how the creative process is, in many ways, a process of digging through yourself.  It also really brought home how crappy first drafts are.

Other news is that I’ll be talking at the Media and Design School in Auckland at some point in the next few months, and hopefully at the Melbourne Emerging Writers’ Festival in May.

I also received feedback from my two presentations at the Victorian IT Teachers Association Conference.  You can find it here.