Writer and game designer Will Hindmarch is an occasional contributor to WWdN and constant mooncalf. In a good way.
When the writing is tough, I doubt a lot of my words and think hard about whether I really know what I’m doing or not. Where do I get the nerve to try to be heard or read?
As David Simon once put it, who died and made me Storyteller?
Thinking back to some of the lessons I’ve learned as a writer and narrative designer, I think about all the hours I’ve logged — through doubt and confidence, pain and passion — writing things I thought I might not be able to write. A lot of my knowledge was given to me by teachers and mentors but I think maybe none of it really made sense until I dared to fulfill or defy the lessons given unto me. I could train and train but only while I was writing did the full substance of the lessons make sense to me.
When the student is ready, the blank page shall appear.
It takes many forms. I’ve logged a gazillion hours telling collaborative stories through tabletop RPGs, which are a great way to learn adaptation, improvisation, and quick development of ideas as they happen. It’s a great medium for learning — you can imagine how excited I am by the prospect of a tabletop RPG show from my friend, games master Wil Wheaton. (So do fund the hell out of that, if you please.) We can all glean lessons from that kind of play.
Combine the experience points I’ve earned from RPGs with the time I spent in the authorial batting cages of Ficlets (where I got to write stories in tandem with Wil) and you get my newest game design, which itself combines narrative gaming with actual writing.
Storium is my effort to cultivate and give back some of the lessons and inspiration I learned as a student, as a gamer, and as a professional writer. I want to make a community where we write for fun, earning our writerly experience points through collaborative storytelling online with a bit of a gamey layer to provoke and inspire us. Storium makes it easier to face the blank page. Together, through play, we can level up our skills.
Through the Storium funding campaign’s new educational milestone, we’ll be able to build something that flexibly and interactively helps all of us players explore new narratives, new worlds, and new points of view.
No lesson in writing can substitute for actual time spent writing and reading. Our goal for Storium is to make storytelling — including writing and reading — more social, more playful, and powerful in unique ways. It’s by writing that the lessons become real.
So who made me Storyteller? I did. I had help from friends like Wil, who encouraged me when I was adrift, but it was playing games and writing stories that made me a writer.
Who makes you Storyteller? You do. You are. Go play.