“Writing does not have to deal with typing, not even with words. It’s about energy”

In the quest of new ways of creating stories, shaping media and developing meaning in communication, I attended today’s Stagconf (Storytelling and Games Conference). I got what I wanted, but it’s a bit hard to summarize….

  • I’m not a gamer. That’s maybe because I’m not a pretender in any sense. I just do stuff; maybe my life is more playful than a bad role-player game. But I appreciate the game writers’ approach to stories and content a lot. The basic rules of storytelling (start somewhere, have the big picture in mind, care a lot about details, reduce to the best, use strong patterns etc.) have strong parallels to rules for online media I’m discussing here (unfortunately in german.
  • There is no german word for writer. “Texter” is not enough, that’s the guy who is arranging letters. “Autor” is to much – you need an œuvre to be an author, but sometimes you just want a plot (or a story). That’s maybe a symptom of the fact, that the job of a writer hardly exists around here (unless you’re writing books. In my opinion: when you create content (be it text, video, or interaction-infrastructures and -rules), you are a writer. – Or you should be.
  • Discussing storytelling in games and other content-focused approaches make much more sense to me than all those tv/print/online- or, even worse, quality-discussions. I see much more potential to gain some insights into the future of media from here, then fromut it (no, I did not wait until it (what?) was published or broadcasted in some old school media), the topics where quite boring and the discussion quite…well, I’m not going to offend anybody.
  • Game-Writers ask themselves the same question as the creators of online media frequently ask (and they hate it to the same degree): when will we be as rich and cool as TV? Why were TV and movies so fast to invent working business models and to be a renowned art, and we are not? Why are there still so many bad and clueless writers or digital media consultants around? – That’s probably also due to the fact that is very hard to develop criteria of professionalism for the creation of reality. To whom do you compare, who is your benchmark? God?
  • That makes me to the key learning I had to day. It’s not new, but it was expressed very beautifully: Writing does not mean typing. It does not even necessarily have to deal with words. It’s about creating an shaping energy – in yourself, and in others. That’s how David Calvo put it.

To me, that means: It needs the full story to create good content. Don’t focus on words, features, highlights, you have to deliver rather a complete solution. Even if you can’t use it in full extent, even if it’s just a 2 minutes clip you have to deliver or a at first glance short news release. If you don’t, its crap. And that’s what people realize…
That’s another parallel between writing for games and creating content for dialogue-oriented media or environments: People work with your content. They improve it, they unmask it (or you), and they will discover all the weaknesses. – They will do it, just because they can… So you better have an answer. Gamewriters also call that the Munchhausen-Pattern: You have an answer to any objection… 🙂

Speakers and links
Doodles of the talks