Let’s face it, at some point in time every fiction writer has wanted their story adapted in some way. Be it a movie or a television show, a comic book or a video game or even just fanart, the idea of seeing the world you built brought onto a larger scale is a beautiful, beautiful thing- with heartbreaking odds of actually coming to reality.

Recently, I’ve gotten super into Skyrim. I wasn’t originally a big video game person- I remember when the Wii came out and begged my parents for one (which my sister and I eventually got for Christmas), but I was never very good at it. I didn’t grow up with any sort of handheld gaming device beyond the Tamagotchi pets the dentist always seemed to have, and it wasn’t until middle school and the Future City competition that I started playing more often. SimCity was the first, then the Sims- I reasoned that I could create my characters and try out new ideas (which is still how I play, years later!). Maybe a year ago there was a decent sale on a package with Dragon Age Inquisition and Mass Effect Andromeda, so I bought it and tried them out.

As had been with most of my gaming experience, I was not good at either.

(though in the case of Mass Effect, I absolutely blame the game itself. It’s got potential, but man does it have issues)

I finally sat down in February (or rather, mustered the energy to click on the Dragon Age icon instead of Prime Video- I was horribly sick and had exhausted my entertainment resources) and restarted DAI. My problem before had been running in a straight line with an “EXPLORE, damn the consequences” sort of mentality- thus attracting the attention of three bears and a nice rebel mage party that mauled me every time I jumped out from behind my rock pile. This time, I took it slow.

And two months later, I beat the game and bought Skyrim as a birthday present to myself.

The reason these games have intrigued me so much these past four (has it really only been four?!) months hasn’t been the combat sequences or even the pursuit of the quests. It’s been the worldbuilding and the stories- which in all honesty, I should have absolutely predicted considering I’m a workaholic writer with a streak of major history nerd.

And because “nerd” extends to most other things in my life, I took the time and dissected some of the reasons why these stories work so well with games- and why a game format works so well with certain stories.

For the next few months, I’ve scheduled a post series revolving around developing a story game-style.  It’ll probably take longer than it would normally, and you’re going to over-plan everything, but if you’re anything like me or most of the writers I know, it’ll be fun and worthy of procrastinating the actual writing bit. My hope is that throughout this series, you’ll create a bit of structure around your planning process and find new ideas and interesting things about your secondary characters, lesser-used settings, and side conflicts barely adjacent to your main plot.

While I have since uninstalled Mass Effect Andromeda (RIP, super-interesting idea), I am getting ready to tackle the main storyline of Skyrim (after almost four months of sidequesting and DLCs) and have added the first two Dragon Age games to my play queue.

I’m looking forward to this series. If this post is going up already, it means I’ve planned every bit of it (I may be sporatic, but I do learn my lessons) and you can expect somewhat regular posts at least through May! Comment if you have any questions or suggestions, or if you’re planning to take part in this series! I’m going to have a question tag, so get excited for that! I’m pretty stoked for everything this coming year has in store, and I hope you are too. 🙂

-Katie

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