16 Bit Minds: How Video Games Influenced My Writing

SNES Controller

Despite being a writer, I’ve never been much of a reader.

I know my credibility (or ethos; remember that for a later post) just crashed through roof, but allow me to defend myself. While I wasn’t much of a reader, I did read big. I skipped right past teen fiction and went straight for Stephen King (The Green Mile), John Irving (A Prayer for Owen Meany), Yan Martel (Life of Pi), and Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes)—most of those before I was even in high school.

I wasn’t much of a reader because I was a gamer. In fact, most of my life I preferred a controller in my hands than a book. And yet, at the heart of it, it was through video games that I became a storyteller. Continue reading “16 Bit Minds: How Video Games Influenced My Writing”

About Aboutness


One of my instructors in Professional Writing, Sophie Lees, taught me and the rest of her class the difference between what a story is “about” and what it’s “aboutness” is. Though the two terms may seem interchangeable, they are, in fact, completely different.

You can tell what a story is about by the blurb on the back cover, the synopsis preceding it, the one or two sentence description. In other words, the about is the what of the story: what happens when protagonist meets antagonist and everyone fights and he saves the kingdom and everyone lives happily ever after The End. But the aboutness is a different beast altogether: it’s the why of the story. Not just the hero’s motivation or the villain’s overly complicated plot to overthrow the world. Rather, it’s the whole reason the story exists. It’s the purpose. Why is this story here in the first place? Continue reading “About Aboutness”