BioWare's Tips For Writing Your Own BioWare Stories

So the latest piece of official BioWare fiction is a little rough around the edges. Let's say you want to write your own Mass Effect story. Need some help? BioWare themselves are here to help.

David Gaider, who's been a writer at BioWare for over 10 years now (and who's worked on games like Knights of the Old Republic and both Dragon Age titles), has written a helpful guide on how best to approach the subject of penning your own take on someone else's universe.

Most are of course useful tips for writing fiction in general. And this one is just useful for writing in general:

Slaughter your word-babies mercilessly, for that pain will put you in the habit of not over-populating your prose to begin with.

It's an interesting read, because alongside the tips there's some interesting stuff on fan fiction in general, a medium that's rightly derided by many but can, on occasion, surprise you.

Storming the Sand-Castle [BioWare Blog]


Comments

    Does the guide include helpful hints on how to start strong and then gradually get worse?

    Funny how developers see writing Fan-Fiction and Fan-Art as harmless but pirating their games or changing code well your crossing the line my brother.

    Sort a reminds me of a real life paradox how it seems you can ask a relative to lie, cheat, give money however if you ask to borrow their new car your crossing the line.

      Stephen,

      Fanfiction and Fanart are viral marketing for the underlying software product. Thus, they generate a benefit for the creators.

      Additionally, Fanfiction and Fanart are not substitute goods for the original product.

      Its simple; piracy results in the developer losing revenue. Fanfiction and Fanart have the opposite effect. Thus, devs discourage piracy and either turn a blind eye to or encourage fan-created noncommercial derivative works.

        Piracy results in the developer not gaining potential revenue.*

          Piracy can be argued to increase revenue and Fan-Art can sometimes be exploited for commercial gain(Advertisement, Commissions.) not necessarily in the developers favour, seems like a double edge blade.

          Why put up with it at all than do it by a case by case scenario.

            Apples and Oranges; fanfiction and fanart costs the companies nothing, and they aren't being sold for a profit. Priacy costs them money in lost sales, no matter what excuses are brought up in it's favour (seriously; look at Project Zomboid; they decided to be okay with people pirating their stuff, then they went and started to use the update feature and ended up increasing server traffic to the point where it started costing them money).

            In the case of piracy; for every one sale they gain they've lost at least ten.

              Okay as I understand developers don't feel properly compensated for piracy, but they view Fan-Art and Fan-Fiction is done in Goodwill(Viral Marketing) or non-detrimental so they mostly let it pass, I guess that's what they call trading in convictions for substance.

              First up, I'm going to be honest. I have pirated heaps of games in my lifetime. BUT the one's I enjoyed playing I purchased. The others, I didn't even finish and deleted. Piracy IS a great way to try before you buy in this age of no demos.

              However regardless of what your stance is on piracy you cannot use the phrase "lost sales" or "lost profit" with a straight face.

              You can't lose what you didn't have. Simple as that.

                This is true. It is a little frustrating to read and hear about piracy "costing sales" or "profit". In truth, digital piracy does neither of these things.

                You see, in the age of physical "YARRRR MATEY!" Pirates. Pirate were inflicting a direct loss of profit and sales by physically stealing items that were intended to be sold, thus preventing those items being sold.

                In the digital medium, when someone pirates a product, they have NOT removed a physical item (with a few exceptions) which then prevents the sale, therefore nothing is lost.
                While the method may still be "Illegal" (such a loose term in a globally accessible system of non-global laws) the simple truth is a company does not lose money on pirated games, to say so is being ignorant of what is actually occurring. We can debate on the ethics of piracy all day long, but the facts remain that in MY experience, "piracy" has been used to test a product before purchasing (particuarly since the rise of DRM and the decline of return policies on PC games) and has, in many cases, determined what products a customer actually pays for.
                While it may be a little more sketchy, the analogy is, "You test drive a car before you buy it".

                Now, there are ALWAYS people that will pirate games, regardless of the countermeasures in place (See: History of thefts in ever market industry and private venture on earth) but these people would not buy these games even if they couldn't pirate them, these are the people that would simply borrow a game from a friend, steal one physically or just not bother, in any case, the company still makes no money and has still not "lost a sale".

                Sadly this is all part of a bigger issue (in my opinion) of the way gaming companies are treating customers (Lies, restrictions, region locking, region pricing ect) in conjunction with the fact that the figures we get from gaming companies seem to assume that every person in their target market is instantly a sale, if the sales are below that, it's a lost sale due to piracy. This sadly ends up turning into a vicious cycle of legitamate customers being turned off from purchasing products because the companies push all the negative effects on them.

                TLDR: Piracy does not incur a loss of profits, no matter how you look at it.

          FINALLY, a statement that realises that it's not stealing but not illegitimate either that actually makes sense.

    One of my favourite phrases about journalism is "Don't be afraid to kill your babies." Well played Bioware

    Pity Bioware can't write for shit anymore.

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahaahahah
    Bioware giving tips on writing
    Hahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahhaahhaahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

      And David Gaider nonetheless, I'm surprised the whole thing isnt just
      1. Steal ideas
      2. Steal more ideas.
      3. Rape said ideas with poor writing and plot holes

        lets see your much more incredibly amazing better written novel

          So you can sing better than Adele, Justin Beiber and Lady Gaga?

          "One does not need to be marksman to know when one misses the target." You best remember that.

            That is very true.

            However, we can also say that you're just plain wrong.

            Pretty much this, ty.
            While honestly, I think i probably could do as well as David Gaider if I got paid to just sit there and write, I don't need to in order to know when something is poorly written, and I sure as hell don't have to have written the Wheel of Time to know Dragon Age plagirises entire threads of its plot.

    How to write a modern BioWare game plot in just 3 steps

    1. Have an ancient evil awaken and threaten all existence
    2. Everyone is bisexual and has an orgy
    3. "I must sacrifice myself to defeat the ancient evil"

      The main reason SWTOR feels lacking is because its missing number 2.

      I see no reason at all to complain about point #2.

    I thought the way EA had a story written by Bioware was to get any company /team/studio they own to write it then change that team's name to Bioware to cash in on the reputation of what was, once, one of the best game studios.

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