Any tips on improving writing skills?

as we all know, Choice game is more novel writer than game programmer… I got lots of good ideas, but coming from an engineering field, my writing is direct, to the point, which is useless for story telling. Any one willing to share some good sites or links on improving writing skills for novels, books and the like ?

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Try here, there’s some suggestions people make.

You’ll find some assistance just googling on your own too. I did enjoy Jason’s post

I disagree that a direct writing style is useless for storytelling though.

My advice is write, just write, it doesn’t matter the quality on the first draft, just write your story.Get something finished, you can polish it up later. The more you write the better you’ll get at it too. And don’t over-think things.

There are people writing games in choicescript who aren’t the best writers, but they have other areas where they excel which I admire every bit as much.


Most of what I say is the same as FairyGodfeather but I’m saying anyway because I am full of zest for life.

Read! Everything in the entire world! And since you’re programming an interactive story: play games too! And not just big budget either! I’ve learned more about game design and been inspired to do so many things after playing free trashy visual novels than is reasonable.

Also: write! The oft-forgotten ultimate advice. Literally. Just write. Write a lot. Eventually you’ll have too much stuff NOT to continue.

Also also: Do not be afraid to do something you don’t think others will like, unless you are trying to make a soulless and pandering generic game for the masses (in which case, it will probably sell alright but be beat out by the stories trying new things!). Taking risks and trusting what you think is good are some of the most important things. Otherwise, your writing is flat and lifeless. No matter how good your prose is, if you don’t put YOU into it, then you have nothing to offer, because then you have nothing that makes your story unique and worth playing. [[OBVIOUSLY THIS IS ADVICE BEST USED IN MODERATION]]

Lastly: During the first drafts, do not be afraid to just go wild. Turn your gangster story into a huge diatribe on the politics of family. Put some murder in your romance book. Never discount the effect of an impromptu musical number (although that might be hard to write). All that said, don’t do stupid shit just because you feel like you have to. If it sounds like an idiotic idea to you, chances are everyone else will agree! But if it’s Crazy Enough That It Just Might Work™, go for it! You can always trim the hedges later, so to speak.


I can’t believe I forgot to mention games. That’s such a good idea, @SpaceLesbian

I think in this case games are such a valuable source of inspiration.

I’d say go explore what interative fiction has to offer and see that verbose writing with exquisite description isn’t what everybody’s writing. There’s a variety of styles out there, and often less can be more for keeping the reader’s attention.

The games I like aren’t always the best written but they do have intriguing ideas that capture my imagination, and provide a great deal of interactivity and choices that matter, or at least seem like they matter.

Have a look at the old CYOA gamebooks. Their writing isn’t always the best, they’re pressed for space so most of the passages need to be short and to the point. Lots of interactive fiction here. I’d say have a look at the stuff that’s rated highly.

wow, thanks guys, its encouraging to see such passionate people here!

I’ll also let you in on a little secret. See all those amazing games, even the best of them don’t start off perfect. While the author certainly puts in the majority of the work, there’s editors and beta-testers to help polish up a game. I think most authors find the beta-testing process extremely valuable.

If you haven’t already, I’d suggest beta-testing some games here. It’s a fascinating insight into the whole process of making a game.

We have authors who’re not native English speakers, there’s some who’re dyslexic, and there’s a wide range of ages and experiences. If they can write and make games then I’m sure that so can someone from an engineering field.

Who best to write Choice of the Starship Engineer! :stuck_out_tongue: Or Thomas the Tank Engineer! The possibilities are endless.

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i’ve actually did post a WIP to my game, but its been pushed down to the 7th page or something. It seemed like a lot of people tried it, but not many replied on what they thought. thanks for the ideas, if i ever make a starship engineer game, i’ll be sure to give you credit :slight_smile: haha

I’ve yet to publish anything, so take my advice with a grain of salt, but

“my writing is direct, to the point, which is useless for story telling.”

Matter-of-fact, straightforward, to-the-point writing can be a wonderful style. Don’t think of it as a weakness, because it really isn’t. I have the opposite problem: I tend to be verbose, and it muddles my prose.

A ‘direct’ style is NOT useless for storytelling!

The best way to improve writing is to write. You don’t necessarily have to start by writing a story. Start with a journal, short story, or do some writing exercises. For me, what was most important was establishing a habit of writing every single day. I always write something for two hours in the day now, typically at night. It all started with journal writing for me.

Ok, i take it back that a direct style is useless for writing lol, but thanks for the reply guys, I’ll keep working on it

  • Keep all of your writing in one place, e.g. a notebook or an electronic journal.This way you will be able to see how much yoou are improving and keep it organized.
  • Practice writing daily. The key word here is ‘daily’. Never miss a single day.
  • Pick any topic and write. Don’t get stuck on figuring out what to write about.
  • Try to think outside the box. Don’t write about the same thing everyday or you’ll get bored.
  • Have a friend edit your writing. This helps immensely; plus you get another new perspective to analyze your writing from.
  • Find the best place for you to write, which gets your creative juices flowing.