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MW GUIDES add-on: GM Writing Exercises

   
I have made some fairly significant changes, mostly towards the goal of actually helping people write stuff, and veering away from mechanics and that sort of thing. Because they're presented as being writing exercises, not game design exercises. I added steps to help people more than just 'write a paragraph of backstory' while maintaining system and genre neutrality (I think), except for the town, which is clearly not genre neutral.

Which is to say, it probably could use some additional feedback at this point.

I will go peek at it as soon as I have a minute.

GCouple notes: use.location from set.the.scene for combat.writing.

remove "skip mechanical layout" they can skip if they like, but the point isn't just.to be.a writing exercise, bit to marry writing prowess and mechanical aptitude.

While the focus is writing, devaluing mechanical prowess is something I would like to avoid.

There's no discussion of how to create the mechanics behind these things, though. I mean, I stuck a little in there for a couple of things, but actually getting into mechanics can't be a part of system neutral exercises.

The purpose here is to get people writing interestingly and descriptively, not to send people to their books to look up tables and crunch out numbers. They'll do that anyway. The mechanics are required to play the game. The descriptions are not. That's what I see as the entire point here.

I disagree with this: They'll do that anyway

I've seen people that were good story tellers intuitively that had no good concept of how to run mechanics and that creates a whole different set of problems, primarily game balance tends to suffer a whole lot. These games tend to end disasterously and driving home the idea of being prepared is very important to being a game master.

These aren't just pure writing exercises, those go in the writers guild, these are focussed specifically on making someone a passable GM.

The article itself is also primarily meant for new GMs, and you're assuming something that could very well be quite the opposite.

By and large you're correct when it comes to people with any sort of experience on this side of the table, but I think it's certainly not always the case and we shouldn't assume that it is.

I think adding a "stat this up" to it as well creates a more complete writing experience, especially since a lot of times the mechanics can contribute back to the descriptions. I know when I'm writing up GURPS especially this is true because of the diverse elements that can be added on.

People who are good storytellers already don't need writing exercises.

I think we have a fundamentally different understanding of the purpose of these exercises. I'm looking at this as having a purpose of taking people who aren't terribly comfortable with the process of creative writing and guiding them through what they really need to know for a given subject. You seem to be looking at it as just providing prompts and the user will figure it all out on their own. I feel confident saying that your method will likely not produce the results you're hoping to help people achieve. That is, actually becoming better game writers.

Yes, some people will be perfectly fine with 'write 1 paragraph of backstory', impfireball as a case in point. Those aren't actually the people I'm looking to help with this. The people I'm looking to help are the ones who routinely write "Bob hits the troll with the sword". Those people may not even be aware they could be including more, and when it comes to including more, they don't know where to start. They already know how to have Bob hit the troll with the sword, they just don't know how to say it well.

Along those lines, some people will be perfectly fine with 'stat this up'. If they aren't, this series of exercises is not properly equipped to help them do it. They need system specific help. That's why I made it optional.

I'm sure you'll disagree on every point, because you always do, and I really don't care anymore. If you still want what you want, then change the wording of the offending parts yourself.

I don't need to be right about it, I just think it's a better, more inclusive way of doing it. It's really not worth making an issue of though as either way it works (I just think mine works better)

I can concede the point though.

I'll keep that theme but add some words about how stating up your creation can be helpful to the creative process, which is what I'm trying to get them to understand anyway.




 

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