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Writing & Game Short stories

I’ve spent more time in my studio painting and writing stories this spring. I’ve written two chapter books and a number of short stories. I’ve also written a new short story that I’m trying to turn into a video game.

The goal always being, “how quickly can I write a story, and produce it as a game so that it is creative and fresh, rather than technical drudgery”.

It’s not an easy thing, game engines still need to evolve more so that artists spend less time in technical hell and more time in creative highs.

The game idea is a short story based on my experiences having asthma as a young child, and the sort of fever induced hallucinations I would have when sick, the working title: Breathing Lessons. We’ll see if it ever hatches into something full. I will say that when writing, I chose my soundtrack first, and then knowing the chapters of the game I wanted to write, I would turn on the music, and write to it. I’ve already dummied up one level with the actual music (which I can buy the rights to easily) and so far so good. I’m trying to keep the technical challenges low, and focus on the mood and how to tell a story, gasp… without cut scenes, at least with very little animation.

The other writing I’m doing has taken up more of my time, but the sense of closure from writing always feels better than spending my time in that technical drudgery I speak of. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the technical side at times, it’s true I sometimes thrive there, but more and more I find that I want to spend my time being creative not being bogged down – the technical I can do, but I don’t enjoy it like writing, painting and drawing. In the end it starts to feel like a waste of energy, a dead end.

I’m going to post here a couple of test illustrations from my chapter book, Spring’s Equinox. The goal of trying to decide what the illustrations should look and feel like.

This is a sketch for one of my illustrations. When done writing, and ready to test on my sons I make sketches through out the document, so that my youngest son who is four, can follow along more easily.

equinox-sketch

Once I have a sketch like the above I start turning it into a painting, usually having scanned it and then drawing and painting on top of it.

equinox-stick

Trying to find the style for different books or games is always the challenge. These paintings are inspired by paintings by N.C. Wyeth who I admired when I was a kid, for books like The Black Arrow.

equinox-stegosaurus

The main challenge in writing and coming up with ideas for any of this is learning to relax into it all, having spent many years working in a highly technical industry under extreme deadlines I often push too hard for too much and am learning how to slow down and let things flow.