Write Games? You Must Work for the Devil! Right?!?!

One of the first issues that came to my attention when I started writing for the hobby games industry and playing more video, card, PC, and RPGs, is the stigma that’s associated with gaming. Enter Dennis, from Game politics who has covered a whole host of articles on the subject, “Violence in Video Games.” (Caveat* I’ve written a few articles for the site.)

It’s funny how many times I’ve gotten weird looks and other sorts of declarations ranging from comments declaring everything from a “lack of maturity” to “video games are the work of the devil!”

And to top it all off, this stunning (NOTE THE SARCASM) article comes out. TV, Film and Game Violence seen as a threat.

Sports are violent. Sports are a game. Take ice skating, for example. How many comedians have done skits on “what went wrong” with the skater’s performance? Our entire media and local TV news are both violent; rarely does either of them specialize about what is great about humanity. Protect the children? Hey, your parents probably played “Cops and Robbers” or “Cowboys and Indians” growing up, with more realistic-looking guns than the ones they have out now.

Don’t agree with me? Fine. I get extraordinarily frustrated with all these studies because, in the end, people “forget” that there is a conscious brain behind the person absorbing the content that’s around them. Yes, there should be levels of play depending upon ages, and I have no problem with that. But if I play Resident Evil, for example, I know I’m smashing zombies — not humans. I don’t feel the urge, afterward, to go hit someone. I’ve already relieved my stress, without drugs, alcohol, or any other “harmful” substance involved and I have *gasp* morals against that sort of thing.

I play games because it makes me a better writer and I get some enjoyment out of it. Screenwriters, fiction authors and game writers — no matter what field you are in within the industry — are entertainers. We don’t create content to be “violent,” we create it to be entertaining within the scope of a license, a team, or our own, little universe for the purpose of selling that media to people who are interested in playing it.

Here’s the kicker: If so-called violent video games didn’t sell, no one would be making them!

Working for the “devil?” If money is the devil, then I guess I should probably let my horns grow. Huh, now there’s an interesting story idea.

On the Writer’s Strike

I have to apologize for my long absence. I’ve been working, writing, and doing other things off-line. Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting more regularly, and you’ll see shortly that I’ll have some pretty nifty things to share with all of you.

The topic on many people’s lips these days in our neck of the universe is the Writer’s Strike. Whether or not you agree with such a concept (and before you say…”Oh, those writers…”) I ask that you stop and think about this from another aspect.

If you look at the different work industries, there are really two major spheres of what people do. Either you “serve” someone, by providing a service, or you “make” something, by crafting something new for a variety of different purposes. Traditional manufacturing aside, writers, artists, actors, web developers, photographers, singers, and all other “artisan-based” activities are one of the few, true “crafts” we have left. We make books, jewelry, performances, websites, paintings, and clothes. How much is a handmade item worth to you?

Well, to a writer, payment can be a pretty large bone of contention. You see, many of the people we write for view writing to be a service, and not a craft. As such, the rules for payment have never really been standardized, to the point where only three to four percent live like King. Couple in the fact that those of us who freelance do so within limited time frames, freelancing (even screenwriting) is not for the faint-of-heart.

What I believe this strike to be about is not the disagreement over what has been paid, but the rights that we, as sole proprietors, need to think about and address whenever new ways for our media to be distributed. Similar to images and music, there are usually stipulations that follow when royalties should be paid. Anytime you hear music on the radio or download it from iTunes, you are listening to a “paid” broadcast of that tune. (The “Save netRadio” issue recently arose out of this concept the past, few years.)

The key here, is that this issue needed to be brought up. If it wasn’t, it would allow and open the door for other media distributions to occur without recognizing the creators. I, for one, fully support the Writer’s Strike not because I have a vested interest (I’m not part of the Guild), but because writers need to be validated for the work that they do (Do you know the names of all the writers for your favorite shows and movies?) by being rewarded financially for a show’s popularity. After all, if it wasn’t for the writers, we’d all be watching reruns of M*A*S*H indefinitely.

For more on this topic, visit the Wikipedia entry entitled, “2007 Writers Guild of America Strike.”

The Renegade Writer

A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success

Written by two freelancers who broke the rules to win the game, this handbook contains a wealth of information for writers who are frustrated by the seemingly limited ways to operate in the freelance market. It explains that freelancers can negotiate for more money and better terms without risking their careers, shows that editors are not the writer-gobbling monsters many freelancers fear, and explains how to establish and foster work relationships.

In this updated second edition there are more ideas, more rules to break, and more resources to get started, including a suite of appendixes covering topics such as contract procedures, getting paid, services for freelancers, generating ideas, and doing research. As inspiration, the book includes examples of real writers who have gone against “expert” advice and flourished. Being shy doesn’t pay, and following the rules puts a writer in a long line of other sheep; with this text as a guide, writers can step out of the herd and build a successful business in a crowded market.

Available at Amazon.com




Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

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