1. kablooblab
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    kablooblab Member

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    Jobs in writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by kablooblab, Jan 31, 2011.

    A job I would love to have when I am older would be to write games. Does anyone have any information on how to do this, what degree I would have to get in college, how much money I could make or where I start? My favorite types of games are rpg's and I would prefer to write them because of the deep amount of story they have. By writing I don't mean coding just in case you thought I meant that.

    Also if I couldn't do that, what other kind of jobs could I get writing?
     
  2. hawky94
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    hawky94 Active Member

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    I too would love to have a job such as a script writer for a gaming company, or a free lance writer myself, a journalist, something like that. Any information that the community can provide would assist us both.
     
  3. yuriicide
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    yuriicide Member

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  4. hawky94
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    hawky94 Active Member

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    I live in Canada, a native of England though, I'm looking at doing conflict-journalism, sports journalism, investigative and free-lance journalism as well as writing this novel I've been working on for the past month.
     
  5. The Degenerate
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    The Degenerate Active Member

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    If you're interested in working in gaming, you're going to have to go for a game design degree. Game companies don't hire outside writers for their scripts. In fact, there isn't even a position you can apply for that says, "Script Writer." It's usually left up to the game designer or they assign the task to someone already on their team. But naturally you would need to work your way up to this and show some writing competence before even being asked. You'll probably start out in QA, testing, and maybe could work up to doing art or programming. It's really an insider thing.

    However, I did write lore for an independent game company called Black Chicken Studios, and I have no formal training in gaming. I happened upon the job from an ad. It didn't pay much, but I got to work in the indie gaming industry and I realized how truly unique it was compared to other forms of writing. There was a lead writer and I was a lore writer along with an entire team of other lore writers. We all wrote independently of one another, so long as we kept to the lead designer's already established story, so you really had no clue what the other guy was doing. The game is called Academagia

    As for writing jobs, well, that's even more difficult to land full time. No matter what writing job you seek out, you're almost always going to need to start freelancing in order to build up clips. Which means you need to get used to rejection relatively quickly.

    If you're interested in Journalism though, make sure you write a lot of stories for the college paper so you have something to send editors. Try starting a news blog up too and cover news for your town. It's all about building up your clips and proving to an editor that you can handle the ins-and-outs of reporting and can follow your own leads. Honestly, if you're interested in Journalism you need to seriously consider your why you're interested. Reporting the news is a lot more than simply writing it. You need to dedicate most of your time to researching and interviewing and going out and finding your own stories. They're not going to be handed to you. It's all about the facts, and you need to make sure you're 100% accurate otherwise the fact checker is going to send you venomous emails spewing things like libel and what not. But perhaps you're more interested in writing features, which leaves more options in the way of creativity.
     
  6. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Mostly true, The Degenerate.

    More and more these days companies are hiring outside writers, or insiders that have writing experience, but may not be coders or developers necessarily.

    True though that most companies just make the dev that doesn't complain the most do the writing, lol. It all depends, though, and is changing more and more so people with actual writing experience are getting the nod. And it shows. At times games can be really high quality, and it's only increasing (I found Dragon Age to be really well written, and in fact was re-triggering dialog exchanges often for study, lol).

    The problem is there are very few jobs in writing where you get a degree, train in the writing, then ta-dah you have a job. Even finding jobs in journalism is hell, and often these days communications or multimedia web experience or all sorts of other training is actually preferred in many cases.

    Why? Because you can prove you're a competent writer with no training. If you work at a game company, and say hey, here's some writing samples, and they're good, you get to be a writer.

    However, having an English degree, or even journalism, isn't going to mean much. With all writing jobs, it's always about the writing samples you can provide (other stuff matters, of course, but not as much). And it's often about who you know. Then, somewhere down the line, training and degrees might matter.

    So, yeah, if you want to write for video game companies, get a degree in game design or try your hand at doing it independently and building a portfolio. Because guess what, you can have all the degrees in the world, but game design is going to come down to your portfolio and samples as well, lol. Although obviously the structure and training help a ton in building the skills to get a good portfolio.


    Oh, forgot to mention GTA San Andreas has an independent writer do the whole script and story line. It happens, you just have to already be established, and a degree in writing doesn't not lead to establishment necessarily.
     
  7. The Degenerate
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    The Degenerate Active Member

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    I think this is a concept worth exploring. It seems that games these days are focusing more on "interactive storytelling" rather than pure platform gaming. I read an article that game companies are using video games to explore a new storytelling medium, and it shows through games like Bioshock, Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, and the Legacy of Kain series.

    This could be good news for the writer. There was a game, called Advent Rising I believe, that specifically requested Orson Scott Card to write the script. Of course, he was Orson Scott Card, so I doubt a writer who hasn't gotten himself noticed would be asked to write a script, but perhaps it's a window that could be open to positions that are clearly "script writers."

    This is why I jumped at the opportunity of writing lore for an indie game. Here was an example where they were hiring writers specifically, because the game world was large in itself that the developers didn't have to time to write out the story and lore. Perhaps this is a trend that will continue to evolve, where skilled writers are recognized as integral to the game development process. Indie gaming is a logical window for a writer to explore, and helps get their foot in the door.

    Also, Massively Mutliplayer Online Games have teams of writers that simply write the content for the games. I know Blizzard runs a contest every year for fan fiction, where the winner gets to go to the headquarters and meet with the writing team and learn about the job. This seems like another logical route for a writer to check out.

    Though I believe this is a trend that's going to take some time to come to fruition. If someone is solely interested in writing for games, and games only, it would make sense to learn the ins-and-outs of game design and persue study in that area specifically, as oppossed to just trying to stumble in with a writing sample.
     
  8. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Definitely agree that video games are becoming a new story telling medium. True for art in general, really, which is cool.

    Also, more often games are having novels and comic books (and graphic novels, naturally, by smashing the two together), and it's not only improving the quality of the games, but providing jobs for writers (or at least people who can write).

    Getting to write for a video game, indie or not (or maybe especially) would be cool and look good on the kind of resume I hope to build. And sounds fun.

    Oh, forgot to mention in my other post that RA Salvatore is heading the 'world and lore creation' or something title like that for an upcoming mmorpg (and single player rpg in the same world, I guess). With Scott McFarlane overseeing art design. It's code name is Copernicus, from 38 Studios (started by Curt Schilling, the baseball pitcher). It's the kind of thing for writers and artists that should be exciting. A 100 million dollar video game project is hiring ACTUAL successful and acclaim artists. Good news, and generally awesome (even though I'm not a fan of Salvatore or McFarlane specifically).

    I remember one story from a game dev for a mmorpg, which generally take a ton of resources and talent included tons of writing, who said the way they decided who would write quests was to basically draw straws, since nobody ever WANTED to do it. Then, you'd just try your best to not make them suck, I guess. He was not very happy about it, despite his stuff being generally good (and overall, as most game developers are pretty smart in general I presume) because writing quests wasn't his JOB. Designing them, sure, coding them, why not, conceptualizing them, of course. But writing the actual dialog and texts, meh.

    In another upcoming mmorpg Rift, the writing has been slammed and is horrible at times. They even have people they brought in due to game-related writing, but imo they aren't so much as writers as employees with writing experience. It's gotten better, but it's almost hard to play a game when the writing is so terrible even those people who aren't elitist snobs like me when it comes to writers are cringing.

    It's an interesting new area of writing, though (not quite a field yet). And I'm not sure if my interest and knowledge comes from being a gaming nerd at various points in my life, or a writer, but either way the culture of writing in games (mmorpgs in particular, as the content is often so much more abundant and budgets much higher) is fascinating. If someone were to give me a research grant, I think it would be an interesting, valid and productive area of study.

    And it will definitely always be a huge benefit, and maybe a selling factor, to have actual experience in game design, production, coding, something. This is true for 'regular' writers, though, that end up needing secondary skills to succeed overall. It's not as tied together as in a game design company, for sure, but plenty of writers are editors for their agents, or deal in marketing their own works, etc.

    Basically, if you're a writer, or want to be a writer, prepare to do a lot of other stuff too, to be successful.
     
  9. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    The ones I know that have gotten into the game design industry as writers have been people who been writing for traditional tableltop roleplaying companies, and gotten into the business using those merits and contacts.

    And to into writing pen and paper rolpelying companies you just need to start out as an armature writing, writing you own material, do it well and get into contact with people who do write officially.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    first, get yourself a bills-paying day job... then decide what kind of writing you really want to do most and can do best...

    then study, learn, and practice till you're as good at it as those who make a good living doing it... when you get to that point, you're ready to try selling what you write...
     

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