Thursday, July 30, 2015

Adventure Writing Advice

The other day I posted about Dwayne awe inspiring gaming prop he built by hand.  He's writing an adventure that goes with the prop.  He asked me to help out with the general process.  I always have to preface these posts by saying this is what works best for me so when someone asks me I can only give them what I've found that works.  And it isn't foolproof against suckage, but it should reduce the chance.
  • And really the first step is to finish writing your adventure without input from ANYONE!  Keep the door closed, lock it in a safe, tell no one about it until that first draft is done.  
  • When it's done, put it away for a couple of days, weeks is better, get it back out and rewrite.  
  • And when I say rewrite I mean start looking at what you have and start cutting the extra bits.  First draft - 10% at least = 2nd draft.  This is not an absolute, but a good rule to go by.
  • One the second draft is done then let other read it.  There are different schools of thought on this part.  Some believe you should just let people read it and comment.  I prefer to give some directions before hand, to make sure if this or that makes sense, if the middle part drags and whatever I think needs a little more attention.  But of course the reader is free to comment on whatever.  
  • Take in the feedback.  Assume Buddha silence and listen.  No speaking.  Shut the hell up, zip the lips and throw away the key while they give feedback.  It's okay to jot down a question you may want to go back to.  Very important is not to explain anything at this point.  Your writing should have done that.  And if you have three out of three people asking the same question you need to look at that section and give it another go around.
  • Take all those brilliant suggestions and select what you are going to use.  Not all advice is good advice.  There is a lot of shitty advice to be flung about.  Find what makes sense to you, what you think will make your adventure better.  Like I mentioned above, but if all or a majority of the readers have the same trouble spot don't fool yourself into thinking its good enough.
Once you've got that done playtest it.  A couple two three times.  Different groups if possible.  While it might read well on the page, you have to see how it plays.

Anyway, that was my 13 cents.

Tomorrow: Covers.


  1. Sounds like a great plan. I gotta find a gaming group....

  2. I agree with the second step whole heartedly. When I was designing houses, if I got stuck trying to make something work, I usually didn't have the option of putting it away for a couple of days. What I did do was leave. I ran an errand, went to the library; the local game store was only a mile away, I went over there a lot. What it did was completely change my mental gears, wiped the slate clean. Then when I came back to it it was usually clear within minutes what needed to be done. It sort of achieved the same effect as putting things away for a while.

  3. Excellent advice, all of it. I especially endorse:

    "First draft - 10% at least = 2nd draft." -- Good for any kind of writing, emphasis on at least.

    "Take in the feedback. Assume Buddha silence and listen. No speaking. Shut the hell up, zip the lips and throw away the key while they give feedback." -- Absolutely. Until a person can do this, s/he is going to suck as a writer with no hope of improvement.

  4. Never let it sit for too long, however, else you find yourself writing a completely different story.

    You'll never get to book two of your trilogy if you keep rewriting book one.

    I usually write straight through. By the time you get to page 300, it's been a couple of weeks since you wrote the first 50 pages anyway; time to start your review/re-read.

  5. I agree with you for most part, except for the bit where you say we have to cut in rewrites.

    I only get the bare bones written when rough drafting, so I actually add words in rewrites. :-D