I have been to several writing conferences over the past few years and been a member of discussion forums and Facebook groups. Talk frequently turns to character development and plot development, pacing, action, etc.
I’ve brought this up before and the post was apparently ignored because there were absolutely NO comments or likes so I’m going to make the connection again.
This past weekend, I attended a gamer’s convention in San Antonio called PAX South. The Hubby is a gamer and has been since we met 16 years ago. I don’t have any problem with him being a gamer, until he stays up too late or forgets to eat, but then again, I do the same thing when I’m reading or am writing/researching a new book.
It was a new experience for both of us. Panels, music, games, and so much more there to peruse at your leisure. The hubby easily found people to discuss games with while I listened. Some of it I’d heard about from the hubby, other topics left me in the dust. But what caught my attention were the multitude of discussions about plotlines and character development.
See, like indie authors, gamers are the step-children of the arts. Games have been making it into the mainstream, but most people still see gamers as no-job-having losers living in their parents’ basement surrounded by crushed chip bags and empty soda cans. Not so, my friends, not so. My hubby has been and still is employed. Just the two conversations I remember, the gamers were gainfully employed making much more than I do in very interesting jobs in technology. One of them having traveled from England to attend the convention.
I’m rambling so I’ll get back to the point. During the day, I lost track of how many discussion I heard about well thought out stories and how well the plot moved along. How well the characters were developed and whether or not the characters were worth caring about. If it hadn’t been for all the sounds and sights and glow from various electronics around me, I would have thought I was at a writer’s convention.
You didn’t misread that. These gamers are smart. And savvy. And they’re looking for good stories. On more than one occasion, the Hubby has said he’s been able to get more immersed in a game than most books he’s read. Because of the story. I can always tell when he gets involved in a game. It’ll be finished before I know it and I’ll have seen little of it. That’s because he’s been working at it, he got immersed in the story.
Stories are stories, no matter what form they take. And good stories are appreciated. Listening to hundreds of people talk about characters and plot was just as exhilarating as hearing it from fellow writers. Because this time it was from the side of the reader, er gamer. It was hearing it from the side of the consumer. The one putting in the time living the characters created. I recommend every writer spend time with consumers. It’s an eye opening and inspiring experience.
One thing that stuck a chord was during the first panel. Storytime with Geoff Keighley. Toward the end of his time, he talked about the attitudes in the industry. Those of big developers against indie developers. How people trying to make a way into the industry through non-traditional means and those making and playing smartphone games instead of console and PC games were looked down upon and harassed on social media to the point that they wanted to quit the business all together.
It sounded EXACTLY like the discussions and behavior going on in the writing industry. There are good and bad games by big developer and by indie developers. Same with books. I’ve read great books by indie authors and stinkers by supposed New York Times best sellers. Good and bad can be found in all venues. I’ve also seen campaigns against people simply for being different or producing something not popular. Ridiculous behavior by a group of adults.
I guess my point is this. Stories are stories. And they are told by and heard or seen by people. Respect each other. Revel in the variety and support your fellow artists.