Reading and Writing Across Genres to Improve Writing Skill

Posted by Akira | Posted in Gaming Writing, General Writing, Sci-fi | Posted on 10-09-2013


The summer is always jam packed with activity. June and July, specifically, contain two birthdays and an anniversary, then there’s a vacation in August. This year, for the hubby’s birthday, I threw a surprise Doctor Who roleplaying party using Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space game supplements as a guide. He won the supplement  in a gaming tournament, but they can be purchased on Amazon or The Player and Gamemaster books are steeped in detail and rich in full color photos from David Tennent’s tenure as the tenth Doctor. If you like glossy books for geeky play, you’ll love this set. It’s beautiful! I read through the books a couple times before I decided not to run the game strictly by the rules. I knew I was inviting new gamers and non-gamers, folks who were familiar with the Doctor and some who were not, so I had to make a story-centric but rules-light adventure to accommodate everyone invited. I used a lot of advice from the folks at the Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space forum and went from there.

The adventure was a blast to write and research. One of the things I tend to forget in my effort to get published, is the need to continue honing my writing skills. I love medieval romantic fantasy. I love reading it, watching it, listening to it, and writing it. There’s nothing wrong with having an affinity with a particular genre, but it’s also important to branch out so that skills grow and mature. Writing fantasy requires a particular skill set. Writing science fiction requires a completely different set of skills. Writing the Doctor Who adventure was an ambitious project. I’ve written for fantasy roleplaying games before, but I’ve never written science fiction. It’s a different mountain to climb. Luckily, I started the project way back in March. I gave myself plenty of time to plan and research, and plan again, and research even more, before I actually began the writing process. Even though this was a roleplaying adventure, I used my usual writing process (tweaked a bit) to get through it and come up with a polished final product.

After floundering for about a week in this new genre, I found good resources online that helped me figure out which skills needed improvement and how to improve them. Writers Write posts a good chart that I found to be fairly accurate.  It wasn’t difficult to find good quality sci-fi short stories and novellas online. Project Gutenberg was the best resource for what I needed – free, classical sci-fi. Project Gutenberg is a repository of ebooks that are free in the U.S. because the copyright has expired. Its database can be searched alphabetically by author, title, genre, you name it. Using the Writers Write chart and Project Gutenberg, I was off and running. Several re-writes were needed before I felt comfortable that the story was engaging but not too techy and the rules were fair but not too strict. In the end, a good time was had by all. I’ve posted Detroit Cybermen by Akira Washington on the RPG Supplement page.

The adventure went over well with my party, and I have developed my writing skills a bit more. At first, I was overwhelmed by the process of writing in a new genre, in the end it was a good challenge that I embraced and used to mature as a writer.


Take your time

Posted by Akira | Posted in General Writing, Wild Royal | Posted on 26-01-2011


I took a long break from writing to let the proverbial dust settle on the last re-write. It’s been months and, although I’ve thought about the novel and the story, I haven’t had the motivation to get back to it again. I’ve been writing for submission to anthologies and contests mostly. I’ve even fleshed out a few character backgrounds, but nothing substantial for the current novel. I’ve decided that I need to get back into the swing of things. I’m starting by using my handy dandy new phone to better organize my writing and development time. I’ve realized that I need to set my writing time in stone, commit to the plan and then DO IT if I am ever to submit this two and a half years worth of work. In the meantime I do believe I have been working on the craft, honing my skills if you will, so that the submission will be met with success.