Uncategorized | February 19, 2004

I’ve been working on a story for a local weekly magazine about an arcade game called Dance Dance Revolution. After writing the story – complete with the high-pitched “You’re a dancing hero!” and other commentary, which booms from the game’s speakers – I realized there was a problem: I’d never actually played the game. All I’d done was observe people flounder around on its platform, exuding sweat as if it were some kind of competitive sport.

Arcade games, especially ones that involve dancing to a cancan beat as fast as possible while trying to conquer pink and blue squares as they light up, weren’t exactly my type of activity. The more I contemplated my dilemma, the more convinced I became that getting over my doubts and attempting the DDR game was vital to writing a better story. Who was I to judge otherwise?

My point is, the extra effort put forth in getting to know the subject matter intimately is worth the outcome. The knowledge and understanding you gain helps you to avoid applying criticism ignorantly to the story. Observation is no substitute for experience when writing, so writers should overcome their reservations, and step up onto the dance floor.