Being a Writer!

So You Want To Write for Arcanacon XXXIII?

Now is the time. We require your blurb. From the blurb comes the commitment to writing. From the full commitment to writing comes madness. And the madness will make you stronger, oh yes.

Blurbs can be submitted now. We need all the blurbs by 30th of September, just before UniCon.

So if you're ready to tell us what you want to run, you can login or signup, and submit your blurb. If you'd like to know a little more first, then read on....

Blurbs

Every event needs a short blurb to let people know what it is all about. Your blurb should include an event name and your name, and, if appropriate, the game system you'll be using. It should have something like a couple of paragraphs about the game, or some other way of conveying what your event is. It should also cover the basic ratings that we like to put in - Adult Content, Characterisation, Genre/Rules Knowledge and Seriousness.

Your blurb has to be able to catch people's attention pretty quickly - some people scan the events for people they know, or systems they want to play, but some people actually read the blurbs to see what the game is about before they decide if they want to play.

Blurbs will be presented on this website from about three months before the convention itself. You are welcome to supplement your blurb with additional material. Just contact us and tell us about your ideas.

If you've not written for a Con before, it's also worth skimming through some of the old Arcanacons and taking a squiz at what other people have done - blurbs done as news articles, poems, images or letters convey a lot about an event quickly.

If you want to write, we need your blurb before the start of October - we need time to get our advertising material together, and you need time to actually write the game.

Writing the Game

Writing a game for a convention often requires some pretty solid prep. It's one thing to be able to run a good game once, and quite another to be able to ready to run the same good game the same way a half dozen times or more, especially if you don't run every one of those sessions yourself. Some top writers actually write down very little, but you can bet they've spent a lot of time figuring out what they are going to do even if they haven't actually written it down.

Writing always takes more time than you think. You might get writer's block, you might just find that you keep having ideas and want to get them all down.

Try to not be still writing the day before the Convention - while you might be able to pull it off and have people enjoy themselves, equally you might botch it and everyone will point and laugh.

Playtesting your game, if possible, is strongly encouraged. If you're running a 40 player freeform, it's a bit tricky, but for your standard four player tabletop, a session run a couple of weeks before the Con can spot those subtle plot holes before you run your game around in public.

Running the Event

Seems simple - show up, get players, go about your business. And hopefully that's what it will be like.

However, there is a little more to running an event than just being a GM. You are also responsible for the organisation of that event. When players who aren't pre-registered want to play your game, they will come looking for you. When players who are pre-registered find they can't make the session and have to cancel, they'll come looking for you too. You will have to tell us when your schedule changes, so we can make sure you have a room in which to play, and you will have to make sure you know which room that is when the session comes around. Other administrivial issues might arise, and they might seem minor to you, but to the players they affect they won't be minor. Dealing with them well will make you seem like a polished professional, and if you can do that and run a good game too, players will come back to you year after year.

If you run into problems, the Writer Wrangler and the other orgs are there to help, but we aren't psychic. Nobody ever knows as much about an event as that event's organiser, so you may have to take the initiative and tell us about your difficulties.

Showing up for pre-registration is a good idea; there are a lot of people who show up on the day and want to get into your game, and it's easiest if you can be there when they are. Getting back to your desk regularly over the course of the con is also wise. You don't have to be there all the time, but it helps a lot of you at least check to see whether anybody has left a note for you there.

If the worst happens, and you can't offer your game, please don't just not show up - there is no blacklist, but the Organisers have a long memory. The earlier you can let us know, the happier we'll be obviously, but sometimes Life intrudes and events are not able to be run.

Running the Game

Ask three different GMs the best way to run a game and you'll get five different answers. We aren't going to try to tell you which answer is best, beyond saying that we expect you to strive towards having all players enjoy the game as much as possible. You know what you are attempting to achieve with your game, so you are in the best position to find the best approach.

We will tell you that you will need at least one GM for every group scheduled to play your game. That can be you or a somebody else, but you will have to ensure that somebody is ready to run the game when the session starts.

With our current online registration, you can see how many players are pre-registering for your event, and when. You can see if you'll need extra GMs - you may need at least one more person to cover a majority of the Con with you, and it's always nice to have more backup.

Not scared off? Cool! Any questions about blurbs or writing? Send them along to orgs@arcanacon.org.