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Collaborative World Building

Creative Writing Innovative Pedagogies Conference

Trent Hergenrader

on 8 November 2018

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Transcript of Collaborative World Building

Collaborative World Building
Bridging Critical Thinking and Creative Practice with Digital Tools
Trent Hergenrader, Assistant Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology
Creative writing studies
Digital pedagogy
Game-based learning

Chapter Five
"Game Spaces: Videogames as Story-Generating Systems for Creative Writers"
(Partial) Argument
CW as a discipline has much to gain by entertaining broader definitions of "writing" and "texts"
CW has the opportunity to encompass more than attention to language, craft, and form
Digital technology allows for new kinds of creative writing practice
Role-playing games (RPGs) provide players with catalogs of people, places, and things
RPG catalog entries contain combination of quantitative (numeric) and qualitative (narrative) information
Provides framework for both variety and consistency in a vast fictional world
Allows for quick integration into a fast-paced, unpredictable narrative
Foreground questions of social relations and character strengths, weaknesses, motivations
"Umber Hulk"
"Fan Wiki"
"D&D 5th Edition Character Sheet"
Students collaboratively create a fictional world using a wiki and Google map
Foreground critical questions about how societies operate, use this to reflect on our own actual world
Create characters with unique personalities, abilities, back stories, and motivations
Write fiction based on characters' experiences exploring this world
"critical world building"
World Building Survey
Metanarrative of the world = over 8,000 words
or 30 pages of collaborative writing.
Critical World Building Examples
Post-apocalyptic Milwaukee

Steampunk Rochester

Tales from Kings Landing
(Game of Thrones fanfic)
Catalog of People, Places, Things
Plotting on Google Map
Fiction (and artwork?)
Unique Benefits
Deep engagement, tight community
Imagination meets negotiation
Foregrounds political discussions about social forces
Investment in character and setting over plot
Unpredictable stories thanks to dice rolls and chance
Network of paths linking stories to world, characters, other stories
Steampunk Rochester (fall 2014)
Tales from King's Landing (spring 2015)
The Joust
Fanfiction?!? Really?
Reduces imaginative overhead so students can focus on characters in the setting
Characters influenced by societal expectations based on class, gender, etc.
Familiar world provides a sense of ownership, expertise, buy-in
Amazing levels of engagement, cooperation, and attention to detail
Applicability to original fiction writing
Creative Writing in the Digital Age
Not about learning digital tools, rather reconfiguring what we do in the creative writing classroom
Trent Hergenrader
Rochester Institute of Technology
Twitter: @thergenrade
Student-built sites:
Collaborative/networked writing
Multimedia/interactive elements
Expand the discipline beyond craft concerns and print publication
Students working through critical questions with a creative output
@thergenrade #awp15 #s284
@thergenrade #awp15 #s284
Role-Playing Games as Narrative Model
3 characters
+3 locations
+3 items
9 entries
x 25 students =
225 entries
Economic strength
Economic distribution
Gender equality
Racial equality
Government structure
Law and Order
Religious influence
Military influence
Full transcript