Blog posts I read to improve my gamebook writing – updated

Hello gamebookers! I was just going through past April A to Z posts to find people to interview this year and it reminded me of a very important series of posts on gamebooks from Grey Wiz. So here is the updated list.

The Problem with Gamebooks – Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6 – this series of posts provides an in depth analysis and discussion on the structures of gamebooks, their shortcomings and how to fix them. If you’re going to work with something, you need to know its weaknesses as well as its strengths and this is an excellent post to get to know gamebooks better.

The Brewin’s Guide to Writing Better Gamebooks – This is full of tips and things to avoid when writing a gamebook. I reminded myself of them when writing Asuria Awakens and realised that I had included all the items that you need to avoid instant death at the beginning, so I added an extra item towards the end to avoid the death section.

Game Design Principles by Ashton Saylor – I go back to this one normally for rule 1. I have put some things in gamebooks that I thought were funny or clever, but they turned out to not work because they annoyed the player.

A Bestiary of Player Agency on These Heterogeneous Tasks blog – this is an important blog post to read if you want to get the most out of your options in gamebooks. There is a lot more to options than just offering sections to turn to and this post allows you to think about more options that you could use.

Standard Patterns in Choice Based Games on These Heterogeneous Tasks blog and also Classifying and Rating Linearity on Jake Care’s blog. I like these posts as they let me classify the gamebook I am making and then let me think about whether it is panning out in the way I want it to. Now that I am using the Gamebook Authoring Tool which provides flow diagrams, I compare general shapes of the diagrams.

So there you go. These 5  posts are all quite long, so there is plenty to get your teeth into there, but if you read them, digest them and follow the principles, you won’t do much wrong with your gamebooks. Unless you don’t proofread them.

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