© 2017-19 Sybil Collas.

   Back

RESOURCES - REFERENCES LIBRARY

 

The following books and websites are references for students and professionals in creative media. They cover the fields of writing, narrative design, game design, narrative structure, storyboarding, and armored dinosaurs. This list is subject to change as I go through cool recommendations - check out their reviews on my blog.

Tools to design, write and publish your own narrative games and interactive stories can be found in Storytelling Tools.

 

      are personal reviews of the material.

> indicates a reference I love.

© Random House

CREATIVE BIBLES

 

  • > Creativity Inc, by Ed Catmull (just read it)

  • The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield (learn about your Resistance)

 

WRITING & SCREENWRITING

 

  • > 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing, by Gary Provost (a must-have so old it gives tips about typewriting)

  • Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter, by Tom Bissell (a writer's pov on video games)

  • > On writing, by Stephen King (half biography, half toolbox, 100% mindblowing writing power)

  • Adelaide Screenwriting, blog (Henry Sheppard's blog on screenwriting)

  • > Archive, website (giganormous archive of free books: fiction, non fiction, essays, web pages, etc)

  • > Bartleby, website (same, minus web pages)

  • Awesome Film, website (read and download scripts)

  • Go Into the Story, blog (Scott Myers' blog on screenwriting)

  • Industrial Scripts, website (articles about screenwriting, huge cinema reference)

  • John August, blog (John August's blog and podcasts on screenwriting)

  • Lessons From the Screenplay, Youtube channel (Michael Tucker's channel on screenwriting)

  • Logline It!, website (Karel Segers' community for posting and reviewing loglines)

  • Neil Gaiman's Journal, blog (Neil Gaiman's blog about writing)

  • Reddit Screenwriting, website (Reddit's section on screenwriting)

  • Screencraft, website (Cameron Cubbison and John Rhodes' website and blog on screenwriting)

  • Script Magazine, website (screenwriting online magazine)

  • Script Reader Pro, blog (screenwriting blog)

  • Simply Script, website (read and download scripts)

  • Terrible Minds, blog (Chuck Wendig's blog on writing)

  • The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith, podcast (Jeff Goldsmith's podcast on screenwriting)

  • The Script Lab, website (screenwriting website and blog)

  • The Story Department, blog (Karel Segers' blog on screenwriting)

  • > TVtropes, website (almighty website on possibly all tropes of all narrative media)

  • Write to Done, website (general website about writing, habits, and exercises to improve your craft)

 

  • Recommendations I have yet to read:

    • 20 Master Plots, by Ronald B. Tobias

    • Hitchcock, by Francois Truffaut

    • How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy, by Orson Scott Card

    • Invisible Ink, by Brian McDonald

    • The Art of Dramatic Writing, by Lajos Egri

    • The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr., online free copy

    • The Golden Theme, by Brian McDonald

 

NARRATIVE DESIGN

  • Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames, by various authors
  • Awkward Pegasus, blog (David Kuelz's blog on narrative design)
  • Edwin McRae, blog (Edwin McRae's blog on narrative design)

  • > Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling, blog (long read, must read)

  • Fabulator Ludus, by Stephen E. Dinehart IV (a somewhat esoterical approach to narrative design)

  • > Frictional Games, blog (Frictional Games' blog on narrative games development)

  • IFDB, website (Interactive Fiction DataBase)

  • IGDA Game Writing SIG, website, website (articles by and for professional game writers)

  • IF forums, forums (Interactive Fiction forums)

  • Pixelles, website (Canadian NGO for female writers and narrative designers)

  • Planet IF, blog (Christopher Armstrong's blog on interactive fiction)

  • Story Games forums, forums (players and makers discuss narrative games)

  • Weather Factory, blog (Alexis Kennedy's blog on, well, anything he's doing atm)

 

  • Recommendations I have yet to read:

    • Playing with Feelings, by Aubrey Anable

    • Story Structure and Development [...], by Craig Caldwell

    • The Game Narrative Toolbox, by various authors

 

GAME & LEVEL DESIGN (and a bit of philosophy)

 

  • 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School, by Matthew Frederick (short lessons, easily applied to level design)

  • A Game Design Vocabulary, by Anna Anthropy & Naomi Clark (game design lesson for students and indies)

  • A Theory of Fun for Game Design, by Raph Koster (a must read for all game designers)

  • Game Feel, by Steve Swink (same, with feels)

  • Homo Ludens, by Johan Huizinga (same, with anthropology)

  • Map of video game development books, yasiv format (most popular books)

  • The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, by Jesse Schell (considered by most as the book on game design)

  • The Art of Game Design: A Deck of Lenses, by Jesse Schell (a deck of design cards derived from the previous)

  • The Design of Everyday Things, by Don Norman (about usability and UX, easily applied to video games)

  • Book of Hook, website (Brian Hook's old website on game design)

  • Cliffski, blog (Positech Games' blog on game development)

  • Design Notes, blog (Soren Johnson's blog on game design)

  • > Extra credits, Youtube channel (videos about everything in video game development)

  • Envato Tuts Game Development section, website (free tutorials and ebooks about everything)

  • > Gamasutra, website (insight on everything video games from everyone video games)

  • Game Design Aspect, blog (Sande Chen's blog on game design)

  • Game Maker's Toolkit, Youtube channel (videos about game design)

  • > GDC, website, Youtube channel (conferences about everything, everywhere, at any time)

  • How Not to Suck at Game Design, blog (Anjin Anhut's blog about game development)

  • IADT Game Design section, blog (the International Academy of Design & Technology's section on game design)

  • IGDA Game Access SIG, website (study articles about accessibility in video games)

  • IGDA Game Design SIG, website (International Game Developers Association section on game design)

  • Indie Games, blog (about indie development)

  • IThrive Games, website (prosocial game design guides)

  • Less Talk More Rock, webpage (Superbrothers discuss making games)

  • Magic the Gathering, blog (official articles from MTG designers and players, about gameplay, design, balance)

  • Make Games, blog (Derek Yu's blog on game design)

  • Most Dangerous Game Design, blog (articles about the design of board games and game design in general)

  • Pixel Prospector, website (indie website about game development)

  • Raph Koster, website (the website of the guy who wrote the book)

  • Reddit Gamedev, website (Reddit's section on game development)

  • Rock Paper Shotgun, website (usually an indie news site, sometimes sprouts great game design articles)

  • SEGAN, website (network focused on the design and challenges of serious games)

  • Sirlin on Game Design, blog (David Sirlin's blog on game design)

  • Switch Gaming, blog (Barrie Ellis' blog on game accessibility for disabled players)

  • > TED Talks, website (conferences to learn and learn to learn)

  • The Big List, website (Pixel Prospector's list of books and websites and articles and video and-)

  • > The Gamer's Brain, by Celia Hodent (a must-read collection of neurology tools applied to video games)

  • The No Twinkies Database, website (list of all the things that you should avoid in game design)

  • The Psychology of Video Games, blog (Jamie Madigan's blog on psychology in video games)

  • TIG Forums, forums (independent gaming forums)

  • VG Maps, website (tons of maps from tons of video games)

  • What Games Are Glossary, blog (learn to speak like a game designer!)

 

  • Recommendations I have yet to read, watch or listen to:

    • A Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander

    • Art as Experience, by John Dewey

    • Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

    • Game Design: Secret of the Sages, by Marc Saltzman

    • La Poétique de l'Espace, by Gaston Bachelard

    • Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design, by Scott Rogers

    • Man, Play and Games, by Roger Caillois

    • Parables for the Virtual, by Brian Massumi

    • Persuasive Games, by Ian Bogost

    • Punished by Rewards, by Alfie Kohn

    • The Aesthetic of Play, by Brian Upton

    • The Affect Theory Reader, by various authors

    • What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy, by James Paul Gee

    • Declan Dineen, podcast

    • Dev Game Club, podcast

    • Errant Signal, Youtube channel

    • Idle Thumbs, podcast (Designer Notes podcast)

    • Infinite Ammo, podcast

    • Keith Burgun, website

    • Lost Garden, website

    • Radiator Design Blog, blog

    • Words on Play, blog

 

NARRATIVE STRUCTURE

 

  • Morphology of the Folktale, by Vladimir Propp (very formal dissection of narrative structure)

  • > Save the Cat!, by Blake Snyder (exposes narrative archetypes and structure, with exercises)

  • > Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies, by Blake Snyder (clarifies the previous book, with examples)

  • Save the Cat! Strikes Back, by Blake Snyder (it's really all about movies now, with discipline)

  • Story, by Robert McKee (a bit dense, a bit tense, super rich content)

  • The Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell (old, still gold)

  • Lights Film School, blog (indie filmaking blog)

 

  • Recommendations I have yet to read:

    • The Seven Basic Plots, by Christopher Booker

    • The Writers Journey, by Christopher Vogler

 

STORYBOARDING

  • Directing the Story, by Francis Glebas (collection of storyboarding tips and rules)

  • > Dream Worlds, by Hans Bacher (staging and composition God)

  • > Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud (beloved bible on comics and visual storytelling)

  • > Every Frame a Painting, youtube channel (staging and composition analysis)

  • > Flooby Nooby, blog (insanely wide range of resources and analysis)

  • Iamag, website (everything digital art, with a ton of free storyboarding tutorials and articles)

 

  • Recommendations I have yet to read:

    • Comics and Sequential Art, by Will Eisner

    • Film Directing: Shot by Shot, by Stephen Katz

    • Film Editing, by Karel Reisz

    • In the Blink of an Eye, by Walter Murch

    • On Directing Film, by David Mamet 

    • The Five C's of Cinematography, by Joseph Mascelli

    • The Visual Story, by Bruce Block

 

ARMORED DINOSAURS

  • > Armored Dinosaur Pictures and Profiles, website (tell me your favorite, we'll debate)

 

 

Feel free to share any cool resource you believe should be added to the list!

If you wish to hire me for a course in writing, narrative design or narrative structure, you can contact me now.