Gamification: Levelling Up My Writing!

Ever since I saw this video about gamification, I have been thinking about ways to apply it to my writing. But for some reason I thought that there was no way that anyone would have figured out a method for that to be put into the realm of novel-writing, so I just pined for it until I rather forgot about it.

Then it started bugging me again.

This morning I did a search while trying to go back to sleep, and came upon an article wherein someone tried to gamify his writing. It linked to an app called Level Me Up. I could be terribly boring in explaining this app, so I’ll just say that it allows you to input a name and icon for the skill you want to level up, and that you gain levels by spending time practising/using those skills.

In the free version, I think you can only have three skills, but I only need to track that many. Novelist, Reader, and Critiquer. Although I’m certainly not on level 1 in any of these skills, I thought it would be best and almost like good sportsmanship to start myself at the bottom and work my way up. Put all of that progress ahead of me.

I spent about an hour going through and critiquing a short story this morning, and am now a Level 2 n00b Critiquer. That’s so fun to say. But that and Reader are both pretty easy skills to codify, or rather, it’s not difficult to say which activities are related to these skills. Novelling is a bit more complicated.

Does brainstorming count? Is writing the only thing that counts? In that case, do I have to finish anything I start or do I have to strike that time from the record?

I’ve also been thinking about things other than just time spent and what counts towards that. Gamification seems to have more than one element to it. What else would make my writing into a game for me? Achievements don’t feel linear enough. Too much like cherry-picking and not getting anything done, like what happens when I run around ignoring the main memory sequence in Assassins Creed 2 in favour of collecting feathers or doing side missions.

While talking to Dither about all this, I think I mentioned quests. But that sounds too much like inserting stale things like writing prompts or exercises. They have value, I’m sure, but I don’t really enjoy them. I feel shackled to doing something I don’t want to or that seems too small for what I want to accomplish.

It’s like being confined to the choices in games like Jade Empire or Mass Effect, with their crazy black and white system of morals. As long as I’m keeping up this game talk.

Granted, I haven’t done a lot of reading on the subject. Just enough to take away something that I had already felt I wanted but didn’t have the language to request.


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