[This is a guest post by Freddie Tubbs]
Becoming a professional games writer might seem like a dream career for many a gamer but it’s a job which is not often advertised so how exactly do you go about becoming one when you leave college or university? We have pulled together ten of the key things to think about.
1. Do you enjoy and understand games?
Just playing games with mates at the weekend isn’t enough to make it a career. You need to understand how they work and think about them in a critical way, much in the same way as a games developer would look at them. How can you expect to write games if you don’t understand and study them yourself?
This is the first crucial question you need to ask yourself honestly. Are you a talented writer, or a writer with flair who understands the gaming world back to front? If you can’t answer yes to this question then you are unlikely to make it in this industry. Check out Viawriting and Uktopwriters for helpful writing guides.
3. Do you make your own games?
Use online game making tools to make your own game as a way to show your interest to a prospective employer. It will also give you a great way to understand all of the aspects involved in making a great game, and help you to consider the team work involved when you do it for real as a writer.
4. Are you a confident networker?
As we mentioned, jobs don’t come up much in this industry through the traditional recruitment adverts. You need to be able to network buy going to events in the gaming industry. Make sure your name and expertise is known by blogging and tweeting so that online people know you exist. When networking it is important to have a professional resume to share with people. Take a look at Resumention – a tool specifically for game writers, a similar service was recently recommended in the HuffingtonPost here.
5. Are you willing to learn extra skills?
Try learning designing or coding skills even if at a basic level, so that you have a genuine understanding of what the rest of the game team actually does. As a writer, you will need to write in a way that works for them so understanding their skills and being able to talk in their language will go a long way to help you get the role.
6. Are you already writing professionally?
Try working as a professional writer in a different industry where it’s easier to get a role, so that you can prove your writing skills and then transition once you find a good connection through your networking. If you need help with editing your writing, try the online tool from Bestaustralianwriters or for proofreading help have a look at the guides on Mywritingway.
7. Do you read books about gaming?
If you are serious about becoming a gaming writer then it will pay to read a few books about gaming as a profession, so at least you can talk about them with your interviewer. Books including Ralph Koster’s “A Theory of Fun” and also “Rules of Play” should give you a really good grounding.
8. Would you try a different role in the gaming industry?
It’s possible to go for a different type of role within the gaming industry such as an entry level production role, or entry level design, and then to watch for opportunities to convert your role into a writing one. When sending off your resume for any role, consider checking it first with a resume editing tool like the one from Ukwritings.
9. Do you read books to improve your writing skills?
If you want to improve your writing to create a unique gaming style then some of the more unusual writers in literature are a good place to start to open your eyes to different ways of writing and looking at the world. Authors including Joyce, Paley, Beckett and Barthelme are worth a read.
10. Do you analyse the games you play?
“Are you someone who considers why and how the game you are playing is keeping you hooked and the kinds of gaming elements which attract you and annoy you in equal measure? You need to play games with a critical eye to work out how they draw players in, or don’t”, – explains Daniel Johnson, a Game writer at Assignment help and Huffington Post column writer.
Becoming a professional games writer is a highly sought after job, it’s not often advertised and can be as much about who you know as it is about having the right skills. If you are serious about this career you need to analyse games, read about games, create games and network with those in the gaming industry, as well as be a fantastic writer.