Writer application

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Established workflow.png This article covers an established workflow.

Established workflows have been discussed among and agreed upon by the development department(s). They should serve as documentation how these workflows are successfully utilized in the project.

This article describes how writers can get involved in PARPG.

Contents

Initial application proposal

Our initial idea was to let interested writers send in a formal application and let them work on a specific task to get an idea of their writing style and philosophy. After this proposal has been discussed in detail on the development team, we realized that this process isn't really suited for PARPG for multiple reasons:

Communication skills
A sent in work sample doesn't well us anything about your communication skills. This project is a team effort, so it's essential that writers are in touch with the other developers and communicate their ideas.
Established workflows
The work sample wouldn't tell us anything how well a writer can adapt to established project workflows.
Collaboration
While a lead writer will have a major say in the creative direction of the project, other writers will contribute to the project nevertheless. A formal work sample won't tell us anything how well a writer works in a collaborative environment.
Project philosophy
The involved developers have gained their trust among the team by contributing to PARPG over a longer period of time. The developers have proven that they work well in a team environment and that they're willing to respect the established workflows (or are willing to take a lead role in improving/changing them). Appointing a lead writer just based on comparing work samples doesn't suit this philosophy.

New application process

Therefore we agreed upon a different application process for writers.

We are inviting every interested writer who would like to contribute to the project to spend the next four weeks (until mid February) with us. Writers will brainstorm with the other developers. We will also develop a creative vision for the writing department together. You have the chance to contribute with your creativity by fleshing out new writing content (as proposals) or reviewing existing content and revising it with the other developers.

How to get started

The easiest way to get involved it is to visit the IRC channel of the project to meet the other developers. Please make sure to read the channel guidelines. The IRC channel is the place where most discussion and brainstorming takes place. We know that being around on IRC can eat up quite a lot of time, but it's the main communication platform for the developers and it's simply the easiest and fastest way to get to know each other.

If you don't have an IRC client installed right now, you can visit the IRC channel by clicking on this link in your normal web browser: http://irc.parpg.net

Also feel free to sign up at our forums and to introduce yourself there: http://forums.parpg.net/

We don't want to force anyone to read a dozen articles just to get started, we'll be filling you in on IRC if you have any questions about the game and/or the project. In case you want to read some articles in advance before joining the IRC channel, feel free to check out these three:

  • Creative vision of the game: Creative vision
  • How membership works in PARPG (useful if you're new to the open source philosophy and haven't contributed to such projects yet): Membership
  • Update: a first proposed writing workflow is now available here: How to create writing content

Possible change of plans

We hope that the outlined process will work well for everyone who's involved. There are some risks associated with the outlined process though. It will take quite some communication to fill everyone in how the project works. Furthermore we plan to flesh out the workflows of the writing department based on the feedback of the writers. This might or might not work out well in reality. Therefore we might have to change plans and set up an alternative workflow in case the writers have a hard time to contribute or the process doesn't work out well for other reasons.

Finding a lead writer

After the four weeks are over in mid February, the lead developers will offer the lead writer role to one writer who has contributed to the project over the last four weeks. In this regard two different philosophies need careful balancing:

  1. We don't want to exclude writers who are interested in contributing to the project
  2. We want to aim for a certain quality of writing in two regards:
    1. Creative quality: the content should follow an agreed upon writing philosophy; there should be guidelines how to create new writing content; we will need to agree upon certain key themes to explore in the game; writing content should feel somewhat consistent
    2. Formal quality: spelling, grammar

While formal quality is rather easy to agree upon, creative quality depends on the writing style & philosophy. Other writers are encouraged to contribute to the project once we have found a lead writer, but the lead writer will have substantial say in terms of writing workflows and philosophy.

Lead writer criteria

These criteria might play a role in deciding who will be offered to become the lead writer of the project: writing philosophy, communication skills, attitude, available time, timezone, maturity, language skills, willingness to actually work with the wiki by fleshing out content there instead of just throwing around ideas, collaboration skills, interest in fleshing out writing workflows, willingness to set a creative direction.

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