Alexander Meyer

Creative Writing in Video Games

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I first started experimenting with creative writing by inviting a few friends over for a creative writing  session.  The results of our writings led me to believe our method of writing can be capitalized on by video games. Furthermore, the video game medium has many more creative writing applications that encourage writing and may make the writing process more fun for those not particularly driven to write.

What my friends and I did was to have someone come up with a writing prompt. Then, we all took about 10 minutes to write on whatever the person’s idea was. Finally, we arranged everyone’s work together and read our disparate writings as one continuous story. We would come up with transition phrases between our individual pieces to make things flow, or we started with an idea that allowed the pieces to maintain relative cohesion with one another.

Hilarity ensued as our works coincided in the worst ways possible. Video games can cultivate and allow for similar group creative writing processes. The game, Storium, entails a narrator creating an overarching story and guiding players through the scenes. However, players also contribute to the writing and direction of the story.

The tutorial of Storium showcases how the narrator writes out a scene, and the players are then forced to respond. Each player’s character has specific traits and abilities that guide the writing. For example, in the tutorial you are ambushed by wolves. The other players all perform badly due to their character flaws, but your character finds a solution to the situation due to their quick thinking and survival experience. Since you caused a good outcome to occur, you get to write what happens next while also getting to include a positive benefit for your team. Furthermore, each other player’s responses were entirely written out by the players themselves as the situation progressed. The narrator then responds to the player’s decision making and continues to guide the story along.

Storium is an excellent example of how video games can operate as a platform for creative writing that brings people together in a fun and collaborative writing experience. Once the story is done, you and your friends have a complete story made from scratch.

The video game, NieR: AutomataTM developed by Square Enix, PlatinumGames Inc., also provides an example of how games can encourage and provide a space for creative writing. In NieR: AutomataTM you play as an android, and whenever you die your identity can live on by placing you into a different body; however, your dead body is still on the Earth. Upon death, the game allows you to leave a message on your corpse by stringing together a few catalogued words and phrases into an intelligible message.

If you are playing while connected to the internet, then other players online can find and utilize your corpse for loot; furthermore, they also get to read your message which can be quite poetic. For example, one possible death message is: “A vengeful girl was distracted by a flower on a tower smiled upon by angels.” Sometimes, the meanings have absolutely no context, but nonetheless encourage creative thought and poetic writing.

NieR: AutomataTM’s death messages exemplify how video games can operate as a forum, platform, or medium through which players can publish their creative writing online. Furthermore, the creative writing experience of Storium and NieR: AutomataTM always entails a community participating in the creation of your writing or interacting with it in a fun and unique way.

Perhaps the most fun writing experiences I had in video games were through MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games); in particular, World of Warcraft developed by Blizzard Entertainment and Mabinogi developed by NEXON Korea Corps. My experiences in World of Warcraft can hardly be considered writing, but the fun of playing on a role-playing server with a guild full of people resulted in some of the most fantastic and fun to play through stories I have participated in. Games like World of Warcraft that allow players a lot of creative freedom can cultivate a lot of interesting creative writing stories that are fun to play through. 

Mabinogi affords players the experience of being able to compose and play music through the video game. I didn’t understand how to utilize this feature to create my own works, but I could copy-paste other people’s compositions from other websites into my in-game scroll and then play music on whatever instrument my character could get their hands on. Oftentimes, I would end up having a group of fellow players with all our various instruments showing off anime soundtracks we had recreated in the video game. I was always impressed when someone had created their own music.

Experiences like the ones offered in Mabinogi allow players to literally play through the creative writing process, and then share their creations with other people in group sessions where everyone’s avatar gathers, reads, and recites. Oftentimes, MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) games can function as forums for the avatars to meet in and discuss their writing among themselves.

My first experience with creative writing in a video game was not from within a game that allowed me to share my work with other players though. I remember playing my Pokémon Sapphire Version – developed by Game Freak – on my Game Boy Advance SP and being prompted to write a short statement by a news crew. After giving them a statement, I could then interact with a T.V. in game where a reporter would regurgitate my lines back at me like I was a celebrity. The ability to modify a game through creative writing was amazing.

I believe that video games that incorporate creative writing in interesting ways can inspire, cultivate, and allow players to even publish their creative works online. Furthermore, video games are a prime medium through which community writing can be experienced. I have not seen many video games that incorporate creative writing by the player’s in-game, but when I do, they’re a blast!  There’s nothing like looting an android corpse and being rewarded with a hilarious quote written by a fellow player.

OMG, E-Poetry Is Awesome

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E-Poetry is the wackiest thing ever that I wish I had known about before now. A poem that moves in real-time with the ocean; that’s a thing. I want to share some of the poems I learned about through researching for this article with you so that more people can be aware of this burgeoning, intriguing, dynamic means of expression.

Before I – someone who I recently learned is woefully unqualified to talk about this subject – provide a definition of what e-poetry is, here’s a video of that ocean poem I mentioned just a moment ago: Channel of the North . According to an author statement on, “Channel of the North grows and shrinks as a function of the tide in the Westerschelde river on the Dutch/Belgian border.” That’s so cool. and is just one of many ways that digital spaces give poets different ways to play with language and form.

What is e-poetry though? According to this webpage,

digital poetry is not text poetry simply distributed on the web or put into electronic form: it uses the properties of the digital medium in a meaningfully distinct manner. Norbert Bachleitner offers a somewhat spare definition of digital poetry, as ‘innovative works with specific qualities that cannot be displayed on paper’ (303); a better basic definition might be a literary work which depends integrally for its form on the operation of digital processes on an electronic device, and which has poetic qualities of semantic richness and meaningful form.

So, I suppose e-poetry is simply whatever one can loosely define as something we can call poetry that utilizes the very digital environment to express and do things in ways print simply can’t do.

Now, let’s get back to looking at cool ways that people have played with the digital environment and poetry. But, before we do though, please note that a lot of these poems require extensions such as Flash Player. Consequently, some of the poems may be impossible to view depending on the device you are using. I struggled to find viewable poems, so I will try to post videos that show the poem being viewed, as well as the link where you can play with the poem yourself.

My favorite poem I found is called Faith, by Robert Kendall. You can watch/interact with it by clicking here: Faith. If you’re as confused and baffled as I was, here’s an author description on that describes the poem as:

a kinetic poem that reveals itself in five successive states. Each new state is overlaid onto the previous one, incorporating the old text into the new. Each new state absorbs the previous one while at the same time engaging in an argument with it. The gradual textual unfolding is choreographed to music.

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the jargon being used to describe the poems, but basically kinetic poetry is where the words move and bump around. Furthermore, the poem itself unfolds through time and is read and/or watched as the poems move and reveal meaning and more words. For example, the words logic dropping from the top of the screen and bumping into the word faith in the poem, Faith.

 If you’re still here, check out this video of the poem by David Knoebel: ThoughtsGo. The poem plays by clicking on the yellow dot and holding down the mouse button; if you stop holding the button down then the sounds and visuals stop. Here’s a link where you can play with ThoughtsGo. What’s super cool about this poem is explained in the author statement, “This press and hold action is the physical manifestation of a held thought, which stands in contrast to the fleeting thoughts described in the work.” So. Freaking. Cool.

If you want to play with something really weird, check out this thing: Carving in Possibilities , by Deena Larsen. I don’t even know what’s going on here, but I like it. Thankfully, (praise be unto, has our back covered with an author description of Carving in Possibilities: “Carving in Possibilities is a short Flash piece. By moving the mouse, the user carves the face of Michelangelo’s David out of speculations about David, the crowd watching David and Goliath, the sculptor, and the crowds viewing the sculpture.” Where in the world did these authors come up with this stuff!?

Another cool way people are experimenting with digital poetry is through how programs can generate poetry. Automation, by Andrew Campana, is a “generative poem” where “Every 8 seconds, a script generates a new line by randomly selecting the platform number, subject, verb, and exhortation from a preset list.” If the link above to Automation doesn’t work, here’s a video you can watch that shows how comical the poem can be: Automation Video (start at 0:59 to skip to where it begins presenting lines of verse).

Campana’s, Automation, isn’t the only type of automated verse creator though. For example, “Poem.exe is a micropoetry bot, assembling haiku-like poems throughout the day and publishing them on Twitter and Tumblr,” according to the author statement on The little guy just keeps spittin’ out poems to this day. You can find Liam Cooke’s micropoetry bot churning out poetry on Twitter, here.

Something I never saw coming, and the final bit I want to show you, is how poets are playing with augmented reality.  Check out this video:  Digital pop-up book: Between Page And Screen. I personally was not able to experience this since I don’t have access to a webcam right now. However, you can download and print a sample to try it out with at

There is honestly no telling what poets are going to come up with next, and I’m excited to keep up with what people are inventing in the world of literature. If you’re interested, go to and check out their collections found under the projects tab. Did you know that Margaret invented a kimchi poetry machine? there’s so much to explore and look at. I hope y’all have fun!

Digital Publishing in the Classroom

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Enabling students to harness their voice and to understand the value of their ideas can be cultivated through digital publishing in the English classroom. Through tutoring, I have found that students struggle with expressing their ideas and frequently underestimate the value of their original thoughts. Usually the first step to helping brainstorm ideas is to aid them in understanding that not only does their voice matter, but also to write everything from an angle that interests them. Students sometimes have difficulty understanding why the essays they are writing matter, and how to express their voice.

By guiding students to experiment with and publish e-books in the K-12 classroom, we can cultivate a generation empowered with the ability to communicate effectively and with confidence. An English Teacher, Stacy Cler, writes that “through assignments that incorporate digital media, my students not only connect to the texts we read in class on deeper levels but also illustrate their knowledge and interests in technology, history and culture that reach outside of the classroom.”

To ensure that e-book creation aligns with learning standards we will use the following standards from Perhaps you have your students write poetry to “demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. [L.9-10.5].” Or you may have them collaboratively “write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences. [W.9-10.3].”

The Premise is That…

As a student myself, I was never nurtured to value my voice until late in my college career where professors coaxed it out of me. Furthermore, it wasn’t until the very class that I am writing this article for that I understood how to project my voice outside of a complicated and competitive academic publishing environment.

Now I know that publishing online is achievable at any level of education, and it should be utilized. Sources such as the Teacher Off Duty and Cult of Pedagogy detail ideas for how to incorporate digital publishing into the classroom. However, what if a student wants to go further and publish an e-book themselves?

Self-publishing an e-book is easier and cheaper than ever with websites like LuLu, and can be as simple as downloading a Google Doc in the .ePub file format. Students may even convert PowerPoint and Google Slides documents into PDF files that may be read as e-books.

Resources for E-book Creation

Google Classroom utilized through a school’s G-Suite are seemingly the most convenient method to publishing the student’s work in e-book format if the classroom has access to digital devices – such as Chrome Books. Not only does Google Classroom allow the educator to easily manage the student’s writing, but since the students will be writing in Google Docs or Google Slides this allows the students an easy route to converting their work into .ePub format.

Greg Kulowiec explains that to create an e-book through Google Docs “the process…consists of creating content within a Google Doc and then exporting it: File –> Download As –> ePub Publication (.epub).” After converting their in-class work to the .ePub file format, the student can then “upload their digital book back to Google Drive and make the .ePub file accessible to anyone via a link.”

Furthermore, Kulowiec writes that creating an e-book through Google Slides is as simple as designing each slide as a single page of the e-book, converting the file into a PDF document, and then uploading it to Issuu.comIssuu has many subscription plans, but for the purposes of a classroom the educator may utilize a free subscription plan and allow the students to upload their e-books.

PowerPoint is as simple as using Google Slides. Convert the PowerPoint file into a PDF and immediately share with family and friends. To find more information on this medium, I recommend reading this article on students making e-books from the Cult of Pedagogy. Theoretically, the same may be done with a Word Document; however, just like Google Slides, PowerPoint allows for the manipulation of images, text, and design, allowing students to create vibrant e-books.

Realizing Students can have an Impact

Students can do more than just create a PDF file, or write something in .ePub. Your students can profit from their e-book. Students can distribute their e-books from the iBooks, and even

Of course, these methods will be rather nuanced and require more exploration and effort than simply distributing the e-book as a PDF and/or through Google Drive in .ePub format. Furthermore, the buyers will likely be limited to family and friends. However, cash is a great attention-grabber and motivator in the classroom.

Another valuable outcome of this process can be teaching students how to market their work, and the value of money. They can be led through the process of selling these e-books around the students’ local community; specifically, students might sell their e-book at their school’s book fair.

Encourage the students to take ownership of their voice by writing together and publishing a collaborative collection of all their work and selling it at the book fair. Advertise the event to parents. If you want to spice things up, negotiate royalties with the class – perhaps you return 70% of the book funds to a class-wide fund that they may vote on how to utilize for something like a pizza party to celebrate their publication. Figure out as a class where that remaining 30% should go to, like a charity, or maybe you invest in making a physical copy of the book to put on display.

At the end of the learning segment, students will have learned the writing curriculum, how to create and publish an e-book, and how to project their voice and be recognized for their achievements.

Publishing Engaging Facebook Content

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Content creators must know how to publish effective content on Facebook in order to engage an audience. According to “News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2018” by Elisa Shearer and Katerina Eva Matsa, “Facebook is still far and away the site Americans most commonly use for news, with little change since 2017. About four-in-ten Americans (43%) get news on Facebook.”

How you write your content, what you include in your message, and when you post are critical in ensuring your Facebook audience likes, shares, and reads your posts.

How You Write

Your posts should be roughly 111 characters, according to CoScheduleCoSchedule’s Social Message Optimizer is a free tool you can utilize to gauge whether your content is designed well for social media.

Write a positive message to maximize potential audience engagement. According to Scott Ayers, “The items that get the most shares on Facebook tend to be those things that are positive, inspirational and/or funny. People might agree with your negative sentiments—but they will hold back the Likes, Comments and Shares because they don’t want to be perceived as negative.”

Use an emoji  🙂 in your content. After I typed in a test post in CoSchedule’s Social Message Optimizer it explained that using one emoji would have made my post stronger. Ayer’s conducted an experiment on emoji use and found that posts had increased “engagement 23.78% higher with emojis” and also had “clicks 28.87% higher with emojis.”

What to Include

A call to action is a sign of a strong post. Ayer’s writes that “my experience is that if you give people a little push and some clear direction, you will see results.” For example, if you want people to sign your petition you shared on Facebook, tell them to click the link and what to do from there.

Include a link to engage more people on Facebook. CoSchedule’s Social Message Optimizer states that a link “is the best-performing message type for Facebook.”

When You Post

According to CoSchedule, posting on Saturday and Sunday typically increases a post’s engagement by 32%; furthermore, Thursday and Friday can increase a post’s engagement by 18%.

“More upbeat content does best on Friday” according to data explained in Mark Schenker’s “7 Facebook Engagement Strategies to Get You More Customers.”

9:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 3:00 PM are the best times to publish your content on Facebook. These times are both explicitly stated in Schenker’s article and on CoSchedule.

According to Schenker: “1 pm posts receive the most shares,” “3 pm posts get the most clicks,” and “the most engagement occurs later in the week and on weekends from 1 to 4 pm.

To publish powerful and engaging content on Facebook:

  • Keep your post around 111 characters.
  • Write something positive, and/or write positively.
  • Use an emoji, but keep them under control.
  • Tell your audience what to do, give them direction, and encourage participation.
  • Include a link.
  • Post around 9:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 3:00 PM.
  • Post later in the week.

Publishing and Licensing Through Creative Commons

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Publishing through Creative Commons is a quick, free, and easy way to license your online content. This guide will explain how to license your material through Creative Commons and offer a brief explanation of what the different options mean for your work.

Navigating the Website and Finding the Licensing Section

The First step to licensing your material under Creative Commons is to navigate to the ‘Share your work’ page. You may find this link on the home page of the Creative Commons website.

Once you have navigated to the ‘Share your work page,’ the website will present you with two sections. The first section is to choose a license. The second section expresses that you may share your work on a platform that allows Creative Commons licenses.

If you plan on licensing through Creative Commons and sharing your content on a platform, please refer to the desired platform’s help resources to better understand their individual process and stipulations. Platforms that allow their users to publish under a Creative Commons license include, but are not limited to, YouTube and Flickr.

Choosing and Using a License

After navigating to the ‘Share your work’ page, click on the ‘get started’ button under ‘choose a license.’ This page will then prompt you with two questions and an optional ‘help others attribute you’ section. Once you have answered each question, the website will give you a copy-paste link to add to your work.

The first question deals with whether you want your work to be modifiable and to have such adaptations shared. It is important to note that no matter which option you choose, people who use your work must attribute you as the person whose work they have modified.

If you select ‘no,’ then people may use your  work in any manner they want, but they may not distribute their own works based on your content. If you want your original content to be unmodified and ascribed to only you, but don’t mind people distributing, sharing, and performing your work at will, then select ‘no.’

If you select ‘yes, as long as other’s share alike,’ then others may use your work, modify it, and distribute it; however, they must also license their creation under a ‘share alike’ license. If you believe that all content should be shared freely at all times and want any derivatives of your work to be licensed under a similar consideration, then select, ‘yes, as long as other’s share alike.’

If you select ‘yes,’ this is different from the previous option in one significant way. They may take your work, modify it, and distribute it without also licensing under a ‘share alike’ clause. If you believe that all content should be shared and used freely to the extent that others may take your work and not place it under a share alike license, then select ‘yes.’ This does not mean people may use your work, and its derivatives, for commercial uses. The second question concerns commercial use.

The second question deals with whether you want to allow people to use your content, and derivatives of it, for commercial use.

If you select yes, then people may use your work for commercial use. If you select no, then people may share, use,  or distribute your work according to your selection from question 1 but may not use it for commercial use.

After answering these two questions, and before filling out the optional third field, you will now be presented with the license that suits your needs. The website will also present you with a link that will explain, in detail, the license it has given you.

The third section, ‘help others attribute you,’ has 7 fields for you to fill out. This section helps modify the license it presents you with to include machine readable metadata for your content. This will not only help others attribute your work, but also assists others in finding your work.

While you may fill out as many, or as few fields as possible, the ‘license mark’ section is necessary for how you want your work to be published.

For example, if your content is published on a web-page, such as a blog, then you will need to select ‘HTML + RDFa. This option will give you code, presented in the final section, which you will then copy and paste into your web-page’s structure. This will then present the viewer with your license at the bottom of the page as well as include machine-readable metadata in your web-page as well.

However, if your content is meant to be distributed offline then you will want to select ‘offline.’ This presents you with a line of text that states what license the work is under along with the URL to the details about that particular license. This allows the document to be distributed under the license without the use of the internet; for example, a word document you print out or e-mail to a friend. To include this license, just copy and paste the text into your document as-is.

The final option is ‘XMP.’ This option gives you a downloadable version of the license to include in your compatible files.

Once you have included the code, the text, or the xmp in your content, your work is now under your selected Creative Commons license. It is important to note that your work is immediately licensed once you include that text, code, or xmp.

 This means that anyone who obtains that content with that license attached to it now has that content, under that particular license, for as long as it is valid. You may remove the license from your work and distribute the content without the license whenever you want. However, anyone that has obtained your content with that license, still has the rights to it as specified under the license they obtained it under.

If you have any other questions and concerns, the Creative Common’s website has an extensive Frequently Asked Questions web page that will prove helpful.