More than 150 million Americans play video games. With numbers like that, you’re in good company if gaming is your choice of hobby. But what if it can be more than that?
As creatives, we’re always looking for new ways to help us write so today we’re going to put gaming under the microscope.
Here’s how video games can help you be a better writer.
Video Games Make You Cliche-Savvy
Cliches are the bane of any good writer. Avoiding them is key when crafting compelling stories with original plots and characters. So you’ll be glad to learn that videogames make you cliche-savvy.
Videogames, like any genre, have their fair share of overused cliches. Playing a game that makes heavy use of them is one of the fastest ways to become unmotivated and bored. But that feeling, that sense of the familiar, can be weaponized when it comes to your writing.
Cliches are so common because they’re familiar and easy. The best way to avoid overdone tropes is to learn what they are in the first place. Games help you with that because a lot of the tropes found in games are also found in fiction. So as you game, even if it’s a bad game, you’re learning what not to do.
Video Games Teach You To Show Not Tell
“Show don’t tell” is a writing adage for a reason. It encourages your readers to become active participants in your story and increases audience immersion. Video games just happen to be the ideal tool to teach your writer brain to show rather than tell.
If you’ve ever played a game with an obnoxious voice-over explaining every minutia of the narrative, you’ll know how frustrating it can become to be hand-held through a story. Good games don’t do this. Good video games encourage exploration, whether it be of an environment or a story.
That encouragement is something you can take away as a writer. Rather than “telling” your audience about a fact or feeling, “show” them through an evocative description or action.
Video Games Help You Unwind Constructively
The time we spend not writing is just as important as the time we spend pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). As the saying goes: you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Gaming isn’t just a way to unwind, it’s a way to do so constructively. This is because games are intended to challenge and reward you. The latter, quite literally.
Gaming amps up the dopamine available in the reward pathways of the brain. This increase leads to more motivation, more willpower, and a great feeling to boot. It’s one of the reasons gaming can be so addictive. But used for good, this boost can be a boon for your writing.
So the next time you step away from your latest project, opt for some Diablo 3 builds or a game of minesweeper. It worked for J.K. Rowling.
Gaming is Effective for Creatives
As creatives, games aren’t a frivolous hobby, they can help us achieve our goals as an author. Whether you’re avoiding cliches, unwinding constructively, or learning how to show not tell, gaming can help you write more effective, engaging stories.