Portfolio of Writing & Narrative Design
I work across a variety of design disciplines but have a particular interest in narrative design and Writing.
Below is a brief summary of my work in writing and narrative design. You can also skip to the samples.
If engaging with a project that’s already underway, I am typically able to match the style and tone of existing written material. Thanks to over a decade of consultancy work, I am also able to efficiently get to grips with new projects, integrate successfully with new teams, and adapt to clients’ preferred toolsets and working methods.
Writing for Games
I have written for videogames for studio clients, as part of game jams, and for personal projects. This work has encompassed prose, dialogue, and UI text. I’m presently working as Writer & Narrative Designer for Yaldi Games on an in-development title.
I’m also working to expand into writing professionally for tabletop RPGs (with a focus on the Lovecraftian horror genre).
I attend a lot of events on the topic of writing for games, and have run two events on Games & Literature in collaboration with the British Library.
Although I don’t generally aspire to publish my non-interactive work I do regularly write in various formats, often in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and detective fiction. I’ve been an active member of a successful SFF critiquing group for over a decade and have participated in various other groups over the years; I’ve most recently been enjoying a prompt-driven and time-limited flash-fiction writing group.
An interest in design plus an interest in writing inevitably leads to an interest in narrative design. Much of my writing work for games has been accompanied by narrative/quest design. Many of my own projects are intentional experiments in unusual narrative design and prose.
The rest of this page provides a variety of writing and narrative design samples, organised by type. If you would like to see another example of my writing, perhaps in another format or style, please do let me know. I am generally happy to undertake writing tests as part of a commissioning process.
Click to enlarge any images on this page.
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Writing for Videogames
Example – character dialogue
A portfolio piece rather than an actual project, these are snippets of quest/world-building dialogue from six characters occupying the a fictional UK island. The tone is meant to be light-hearted, encouraging, and occasionally educate players about the natural world.
Odds & Ends – prose
Available as prototype, Odds & Ends is the offspring of a point-and-click game and a Twine game. Odds & Ends is designed around complex, interweaving narratives. Players click on objects to access stories, but the stories associated with them change depending on which other stories they’ve read so far.
Morning Is Broken & Brituals – prose & UI
These two surrealist game jam games required extensive writing with a hint of narrative design. Unfortunately neither game is now playable but a comprehensive review of Morning Is Broken, including design notes and dialogue, can be found here.
Writing for Tabletop RPGs
Mind The Gap – a modern Lovecraftian horror RPG scenario
Currently being revised for potential publication, this modern horror scenario is set in the twisting tunnels below Tottenham Court Road and based on extensive real-world research. It is inspired by the investigative Lovecraftian RPG Delta Green, which I often play.
Novel – Servants of Hephaestus (gaslight urban fantasy)
An extract from Servants of Hephaestus, a work-in-progress novel. SoH is a gaslight urban mystery-thriller with a mythological twist.
Short Stories – Smith & Wisdom (fantasy detective fiction)
Smith & Wisdom are detectives with a temporal twist and the protagonists of a series of short stories.
Flash Fiction – various
Through 2020–2021 I was part of a weekly flash fiction writing group. Responding to random short prompts generated with dice, I wrote over 30 pieces of short fiction. This image shows extracts from some of these.
Essays – British Council Film Archive Collection
Example – narrative-driven quest development
A portfolio piece rather than an actual project, this example is an imagined game’s first few in-game days, encompassing skills learnt, key items acquired, and itemising narrative-led quests. These quests are intended to introduce characters, impart critical mechanical elements, and lay the foundations for the longer-term quests later in the game. This particular model does not include fail states or branches.
Agatha – WIP replayable murder-mystery
Agatha, a personal project in early development, will be a murder mystery game that requires a different solution on every playthrough. Inspired by the writing techniques and style of Agatha Christie’s detective fiction, the current vision for the game is to provide an experience akin to playing through a Poirot novel, with the player as detective. This is being designed through a complex ontology of variables (which provide the changing plot and clues) and storylets.