SFWA Membership

I’m now an official member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

Interestingly, I was admitted based on my work on World of Warcraft, not my writing for RPG books. This does not set precendent for other game designers to get into the SFWA, according to a board ruling, but we’re having a fascinating dicussion about it on the SFWA boards.

Should game writers and designers be considered “professional writers”? If so, what kind of criteria would qualify us?

The SFWA normally requires three published short stories with a certain total word count and payment scale or one qualifying novel for active membership. How would that translate into games where there are no self-contained short stories? Should dialogue and similar writing count toward admittance?

Personally, I’m currently leaning toward suggesting the following criteria:

-A verifiable word count above (x), similar to short stories

-(Y) number of shipped game products

We’ve also discussed some interesting alternatives, such as the amount of time spent at the company. I’d love to know what other game designers and writers think on this subject.

2 thoughts on “SFWA Membership

  1. On the one hand, I don’t think game designers, especially those who deal with the scripts, should be treated as any less than a writer of novels or short stories. Having played many games with good stories, and having done a few in python or perl, I think the writing of game scripts, and the story background behind it is just as valid as more traditional writing.

    That said, I’m not sure I see the point of people who are specifically game designers joining the SFWA. It’s a professional organization for writers, which work in a completely separate world than game designers. At least in terms of the industry, if not the art.

    Unfortunately, I am not a member of the SFWA, so I can’t join the conversation there.

    Anyway, congratulations on your admission.

  2. You have a good point, and it’s something that’s been discussed on the SFWA forums as well. Sadly, there is no equivalent organization for game writers.

    I should be clear that I’m not talking about general game design work here; I’m specifically talking about writing story for game products. I could see some categories of game design having more overlap with writing than others (quest design vs. encounter design, for example).

    My own primary reason for joining the SFWA is networking and trading ideas. Even as someone who primarily works in video games, I can benefit from other discussions about the genres I work on. And, like many other game writers, I have an interest in eventually expanding into writing novels as well. Being a member of the SFWA might provide me with a bit of a head start on that. I’m sure there are other game writers and designers who would share my interest in that.

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