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JuJu

writing How Write Good?, Part 1: Getting the Idea, and Then Building on it

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“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.† - Maya Angelou 

 

 

Hmm? Oh, hello there! Come on in, I- what? No, I'm not busy! Come in a sit a spell! What's up? What's that? Writing tips? Sure, I've got writing tips!

 

Oh, I see, you: 

 

 

WANT TO MAKE A GAME, BUT HAVE NO IDEAS / ARE NOT GOOD WITH IDEAS...

 

You want to be a game designer and make cool games so that your friends will be like "Wow, cool game!" but you have no ideas on a story, or even how to begin a story, and you're beginning to stress because what if they put a ban on new games or something and you haven't finished and how do you start do you plan or just wing it or what's the starting point how do you find it--

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, just take a deep breath for me. Let it out, take another. Okay... good? Good. So, you're ready to make a game. Great! No ideas? Preposterous! Think of an idea right now. Well, let's start slower. Think of a guy. Any guy. Got him in your head? Okay, this guy has a family, or does he? Something happened to him. What happened? 

 

There's an idea. Make a game about it. 

 

 

Okay, maybe it's not that simple... No, it's really that simple! Ideas can come from anywhere, anything, any time. What do you like. Space? Make a game about an astronaut. Or cute planets trying to find their star. Chess? Okay, a white and a black chess piece travel across a board-world together. Gummy worms? Make a gummy worm harvesting simulator. 

 

"Well, Juju, I might have an idea now, but an idea is not a story." 

 

You're... right! It's not! But, how do you flesh out a story? Well, sit back down and let Juju clue you in on a very magical four letter word that happens to be a computer program: WORD. 

 

"...Word? Word!? That's your answer?!" 

 

Yep, that's my answer! Word, or Notepad, or Writing Software #3, or something! Write your idea down, and then think a bit. Here's some things to think about: 

 

  • Who's the main character of the idea? Are there any secondary characters? 
  • Will you allow for a happy ending, a sad ending, or both? 
  • Do you want to go a conventional route, or do you want to channel your inner M. Night Shyamalan and have a crazy plot twist?

More important things to think about: 

  • How long do you want your idea's story to be? A few hours of playtime? A few days? 
  • How will your game assets fit in with your idea? What sort of assets would you need to find to make your idea come to life? 
  • What sort of scripts would you need? Is there anything your idea has that the RTP of RPG Maker can't do without a special script? 

When you have answers to these questions, then it's time to think about something called the LINEAR NARRATIVE. That's just a super fancy term that means a story that is told from beginning to end, without doubling back. For first-time writers, this is the easiest option. Doubling back usually means extra work and cross-referencing which, while good in its own way, is often rather confusing if not done right. 

 

In any case, this means that it's time to give your idea a beginning, middle, and end. "How do I do this?" you ask. Well, think of your idea. For example, let's say our idea is this: A girl lives in a house. Your idea may be more or less flourished. Still, let's first take our idea and... embellish it a bit. Let's add some adjectives and maybe even a preposition or two, shall we? 

 

A girl lives in a house. 

A small girl with red hair lives in a shabby house on the edge of a futuristic city

 

Look! With just 12 extra words, we've added so much to our idea! (applauds) But it's still not a story yet, is it? I mean, the girl's only LIVING, and not doing much else. Let's add more to the idea, using a semi-colon. (Grammar Reminder: One uses a semi-colon to add combine two full sentences; it doesn't work if you have a run-on sentence or a sentence fragment. :))

 

 

A small girl with red hair lives in a shabby house on the edge of a futuristic city. 

A small girl with red hair lives in a shabby house on the edge of a futuristic city; she goes from her house to find her missing mother. 

 

Okay, great! We have our first, most simple outline! We've done the most important thing in the story-making process: We've given the main character a goal. Without a goal, the main character doesn't have a reason to do anything other than the norm, and the game won't exist! 

 

Okay, so you have to make a decision here. Does the girl find her mother, or does every effort turn up in vain? What sort of people live in this futuristic city? She's a small girl; what sort of challenges does she face all alone in this large place? Her house is shabby; is she too poor to afford bus tickets and has to go everywhere on foot, or does she have a bicycle or some other form of transportation? Answer these questions, and the story grows. 

 

Tip: It's easier to separate your story into three acts. The first act should set the story. For example, we'd show the girl, part of her life, perhaps her mother, and then we'd segue into act II, where her mother goes missing and she embarks on her journey to find her. This would lead to act III, where we'd show a climax. If you had a boss battle, the final boss would be in part III. We'd see her ending, and then her story is finished... for the moment. 

 

What else? Well, we have the story here, and if you wanted, you could even just leave it at that. But we can still add! Why did the mother disappear? Was she taken, or did she leave of her own initiative? The little girl, if the game is true to life, will have grown and learned on her lonesome journey. How will she face her mother after the events of her story? Will actions the player chose to take have an impact on the girl, and if so, how will the end of the game be affected? Will there be a cliffhanger for a sequel? 

 

Write all this down in your word document. Make notes. Wanna change something? Change it! Afraid you'll lose your progress? Nah! Write new ideas in different colors, so you can change without really changing a thing! Never be afraid to expand on your idea. Even if you think it's stupid and no one will like it. It's YOUR idea, and despite everything, if you take initiative on it and work hard, you're 100% guaranteed that someone, somewhere, will enjoy it. Remember: even the corniest movies get a cult following at some point.  ;) 

 

So get out there, and make some ideas! 

 

Like what you read? Can't wait for part 2? Think I'm stupid and the worst tutorial person ever? Let me know! 

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You're stupid and the worst tutorial person ever! >_<

Okay, just kidding, fun tutorial, I've never had the problem of running out of ideas (quite the contrary) but I can see how this step by step could help a beginner. Great work! :)

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Fantastic JuJu! I'd surely reference people here when they get stuck in deciding how to make a game for the first time and what not.

Thanks! I hope I helped just a bit :) 

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