Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Three Game Book Writing Tips

Here are three quick game book writing tips:

Write Every Day - Put something into the project every day. Skip as few as possible. Make sure you open the file, write some new words down, and just get things flowing. You'll delete a fair amount later during editing but it's easier if it's already down. Better to put a bad idea down now just to get something written than to wait for the perfect idea later.

Copious Notes - Write down why you did things even if you aren't sure if you'll need it later. That way in a few weeks when you see the note you won't think, why did I do it that way? Delete these at the end, or save them in a side file for when people ask. But you won't regret having them and might regret not having them.

Outline First - Write the whole outline, and then fill in the blanks. Seriously, this is the best way I've learned to write. Copy the outline down into the main file, and start writing.

Bonus tip: Off site backup. Have one.


  1. Going by my limited experience at this, I have to agree. Particularly for a research-heavy book, it's easy to maintain one's headscape from day to day while doing other things, but only as long as it gets reinforced each day. Skip a day or two and there's much more work to do to get all those sources back at one's mental fingertips.

    Of course for GURPS books "outline first" is a requirement, and I have no problem with that.

    1. You're right on there. If you keep at it, you don't waste any time starting and stopping.

      The requirement for the outline is a good point - but what I do is turn that outline into the main file. I format all of the heading properly, and then fill in under them as I go. That makes sure I don't miss anything, and also has the benefit of letting me write pieces as I feel inspired and in no particular order. DF15's Loyalty section, for example, was written from start to finish while I was getting my car serviced. But I wrote a number of sections of DF12 a few sentences at a time until I liked what I had and then was able to edit them. Had I attacked it piece by piece in some kind of order, I'd probably never had finished.

      All of that said, I won't have my PC with me for a week and I can't write game books on my Kindle. I'll jot down notes as things come to me and then write them down when my PC and I are re-united.

  2. Good advice. I'd say it works for almost any project, too - blog posts or other writings, or even miniatures (do at least one step each day, write down what colors you used, lay out a plan for what steps to take in what order).

  3. l largely agree, though there are some times when I need to take a break from a project to get some distance and let my subconscious deal with things.

    In related news, the bathtub is one of the best aids to writing ever invented.

  4. Those are all great writing tips in general. I also recommend Dropbox, Evernote, or some other cloud-based storage. Dropbox works pretty well for files. Evernote can also be used to save files (into a note), but also used natively for notes (point 2 above) which can then be tagged and searched.


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