Hi, my name is Monica Valentinelli and I am running for the position of SFWA Director At Large as a write-in candidate.
I am an award-winning narrative designer and games developer who started in the hobby games industry in the mid-2000s. Throughout my career, I’ve done a lot of advocacy work in gaming to make the communities we traffic better places. These efforts include my SFWA volunteer work to form the Nebula Game Writing Award rules and serve on that committee, my time on the board for the RPG Creator’s Relief Fund charity, and my multiple appearances and educational outreach through the Gama Trade Show, Gen Con Writer’s Symposium, and Origins University at Origins Game Fair. I’ve also consulted for several companies and their crowdfunding campaigns along with work for the stellar Writing the Other program. This year, I’m starting to hold online classes through the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers as well.
I strongly believe the power of a story is not limited by form or type of publishing. As publishing methods change we, as storytellers, often embrace opportunities to share our expertise through conventions, online classes, and mentorship. I believe that we can grow this approach by increasing literacy about what it means to be a professional author and how that world is very different from writing for games/other media—and vice versa.
I am running for the Director At Large position that currently lacks a candidate because I want to build bridges between our industries, starting with gaming. I feel this is necessary to better inform and empower creative professionals to plan our careers and navigate changes. Of course, in any industry, there are events and changes you cannot plan for. As a veteran, I have dealt with the unexpected many, many times over to glean shareable lessons and insight with others who are struggling. As I look to the future, I cannot let my dream of building bridges between writing communities die. We may not write for the same reasons or in the same mediums, but the lack of education and awareness can only hurt all of us long-term.
While this might sound idealistic, I know that building bridges is possible because I have built them before. And, as Director At Large, I would start by reviewing the tools SFWA already possesses. The organization has many resources at its disposal like the mentorship and grant programs. Often, the first question to ask isn’t: “Do we need to start from scratch?” It’s: “How do we build awareness of the resources we already possess?” And, of course, “How do we make people feel welcome?”
The industries within gaming and publishing might be different, but I am passionate and excited about the idea that we, as writers, can benefit from one another’s knowledge. I believe that this literacy will help us adapt and weather changes so we can keep doing what we do best: telling great stories regardless of form or method of publication.
Thank you for your time and consideration. If you want to know more about me, feel free to poke around at my fiction, non-fiction, and gaming publications.