Game Writing Blog #1 - I Want To Be In The Room Where It Happens

The past few months Ruben Farrus (Casa Rara's director/co-producer/game wizard) and I had multiple Zoom meetings where we tried to parse the game lore and world for Mini-Maker. For me, this is a dream job come true.

Here's my embarrassing secret: While my writing background sits in film scripts, short stories, and poetry (which I'm taking my Masters in), I have never in my life written a video game. Sure, I know how to build a world/setting/plot, but I wasn’t so sure how this could actually be applied to a video game. Not to mention, video games are more often than not a "group effort"--something poets/story writers don't always get the chance to explore as much.

So, here's my first of a few Game Writing blogs for those of us who are in a similar position to where I was not too long ago. For those who know they love to write, maybe already are building games on a technical level, but have no idea how to bring their writing chops to the next level ( look, a game pun). Heck, this could be for folks who can write DnD sessions, LARPs, online RPs, but have never had the chance to apply it to a game setting! 

Here's my suggestions as to where to begin:

1. Reach out to game writers, read about game writers, and play (you guessed it) games.

Sounds easy enough, yeah? Er...sort of. One of the first things I did when I realized I wanted to write games was reach out to people. I joined Facebook groups, I pinged writers on Twitter, and looked into smaller indie game companies to see if any internships were available.

On one occasion, I noticed the game writer for one of my favourite games (*cough* Dragon Age: Inquisition *cough*) had written something nice on a picture of my makeup inspired by a poetry book. It figures she was also a poet/poetry fan! While her inbox was closed, I took the leap and directly responded to her compliment asking politely if she was willing to answer some of my questions regarding how she began her career. She said yes!

People love to chat games, their careers, and overall are usually happy to help you so much as you're not over-the-top, demanding, or even requesting a job outright.  Remember, be curious and kind. 

2. Use all your skills to pave your path!

How I landed up at Casa Rara Studio is some amalgamation of luck, persistence, privileges granted to me, and the power of social and financial anxiety. Despite this, I'm sharing this with you in hopes you'll find some value from my journey. I initially reached out to one of the people running another Montreal studio about writing internships/any assistance they may need, and while they weren't looking currently, they let me know about another small Montreal company who specifically was interested in uplifting marginalized writers into games. 

I basically played e-mail tag and shortly reached out to them as well with my resume and portfolio. Once again, while they didn't have any available positions, they said they'd keep an eye out for me. This stresses the importance of always having a portfolio ready--I sent film scripts, poetry, book reviews and stories to show my versatility.

Lo-and-behold, a month or so later, they let me know about an opportunity at Casa Rara as a Community Manager. They figured with my background in writing/business/social media I could maybe flex my muscles and give it a shot--so I did. 

3. Find a mentor!

The rest is history, as you can probably see. However, I made sure to take any opportunity I could to engage with creative writing (like writing blogs, suggesting plot ideas when it was appropriate, etc), show my passion for our game, and share my own work.

Ruben, who is a video game veteran, saw my drive and looped me into the game lore. At indie game studios, where people wear many hats, this is totally possible! Community Management is something I love to do as it is, but to mix this with writing? It makes for an awesome gig.

- Syd Lazarus

Community Manager/Writing Goblin of Casa Rara Studio