Wolverine Studios Community Manager
We conclude our series on text sim dynasties today with a FAQ and discussion on common issues that come up in the process of creating your work. The focus will be on written dynasties, as the area I’m most qualified to give expert advice. If you missed the first two parts of the series you can view part 1 here and part 2 here.
What if I get writer’s block?
This is common for even professional writers, so don’t fret if it happens to you. As I’ve explained to my students when lecturing on this topic, what’s happening in this case is that your brain is stuck and can’t find the mechanism to get past the mental obstacle. So what you need is to reset your brain and shift it in another direction.
When I get writer’s block, the very first thing I do is step away from the computer. You can not force yourself out of a writer’s block, and staring at the screen will not magically conjure up a solution. So do something else. What I often do is either go listen to music or read something. For me, reading is usually literary fiction – Haruki Murakami in particular is excellent for this, as we share similarities in writing style and affinity for first person.
In terms of music, I listen to whatever genre most fits the mood of what I’m trying to write. Heavy action? Something with a fierce beat that gets me amped up, such as Fort Minor’s “Remember the Name” or Isle of Q’s “Little Scene”. If it’s a contemplative piece, songs like The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young” or pretty much anything by Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, and Carly Rae Jepsen (even though they have a lot of peppy numbers. There’s something about sugary pop that works with me). Analytical piece? Weirdly enough, rap – whether it’s Bone Thugs N Harmony, Notorious B.I.G., or Snoop Dogg.
The point is, figure out what works for you. Maybe it’s reading, maybe it’s music. It might be another video game (heresy, I know) or watching a TV episode on your favorite streaming service.
I’m bored with my dynasty.
It happens. There’s a few ways of addressing boredom, but the first thing you need to do is figure out why it’s boring you. Tired of the journalistic/history book? Try switching to gameplay? Gameplay got you down? See if there’s a cool story about a player or another team in the league to talk about. The point is, shifting the angle and even the dynasty type can refresh things and bring new excitement into your discussion.
If the issue is you keep winning all the time, quit your current in-game job and take up a fresh challenge – whether it’s the worst team in the pro games or leaving that hegemon you’ve built up in college for a difficult, down-on-its-luck small school in a region with a poor talent pool or a lot of competition. Conversely, if things are proving too challenging, consider switching to an easier in-game situation where success will come more readily.
Nobody is commenting, even if I ask questions to try and get feedback.
Some places you post a dynasty will be more active than others. One thing you can consider doing is cross-posting to more than one venue, if it’s allowed on each place you post. I do this by default, by the way, with two or three favorite forums to post in.
You also might want to take a look at your dynasty and ask yourself, “If this wasn’t about my team and my game, would I be interested in this and keep reading?”. If the answer is no, then figure out why it doesn’t interest you and see what adjustments you can implement to make it more engaging.
Help! I keep abandoning dynasties and starting new ones because I have new ideas all the time!
Ah, yes. The ADD version of dynasty writing. First, as you get new ideas, write them down somewhere and keep a list handy rather than act on them right away. In my professional copywriting work, where many of my clients hire me for repeating projects, I build a topics list. This accomplishes two things – I write down ideas immediately, rather than forget about them a few weeks later, and when I’m tapped dry for inspiration, I have the list to go back to.
That’s how you handle the new ideas aspect of this issue. The other problem – the serial abandonment – has nothing to do with ideas at all. It’s that you haven’t developed writing discipline. Many of my artist friends comment about the same issue in their field – they start a project, get distracted by a new idea, and don’t finish the piece they initially started working on.
The solution here is to, as I mentioned last time, set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Make yourself keep that writing routine. It’s one of the biggest reasons why, in teaching, I always had students write weekly journals. It teaches writing routine and discipline (among other benefits). In fact, it works so well, quite a few continue journaling even after the semester is over. Same basic principle with your dynasty writing schedule.
I think I’m a terrible writer/streamer and don’t know how to get better.
One thing to keep in mind – everyone is bad when they start, even when they’re naturally talented. In fact, a few months ago, I looked back at one of my earliest dynasties and the cringe was real. In each post, I spotted like 20 different items that needed revision or opportunities to make it much better. So embrace the suck. The best way to get better is to keep writing.
Another path to pursue – read the work of people whose dynasties you think are really great. But don’t read them for enjoyment. Instead, read them with a writing craft eye in mind. How are their posts structured? How do they move from point to point, and how do they develop each topic or scene? What are their techniques for using dialogue (if applicable)? This can even get down to granular things like their sentence lengths and word choices.
For streamers, I admittedly would be awful at this. But the same basic principle applies. Look at successful ones and see what they’re doing that’s working well. What’s even better is if you can go back to their earliest streams and then watch their videos in order to see how they progress from their own difficult start to now.
Also think about asking creators (whether streaming or written) about how they got started. What problems did they encounter? How did they solve those problems and get better at their craft? Most people will be willing to help if you just ask.
That concludes our dynasty series. I hope you’ve found it helpful or inspiring. If you’re feeling the urge to play a game and start your own dynasty, check out our free game demos here. Or, if you already own the game you want to play, start a thread on our dynasty forums. I look forward to reading about your adventures.