My creative process

Written mostly because Ty asked. 

First: write down weird ideas all the time. Try to read books, get distracted, listen to podcasts about history, get distracted, look at the 70s Scifi Art Tumblr

Land on a general idea or location. Write a sentence or a fragment of one that’s the mood for the area. Make a google doc and write a micro fiction. Can your adventure be summarized in a limerick? Try and remember you are not a gifted poet.

Having a concept and location, take out some library books related to it. They will take a week to arrive from another branch. Play with a book you have to generate some ideas like the cairn starter packages or Into the Wyrd and Wild. 

Read the books (Skim the books) writing down phrases that interest you. Decide on a literary mode or tone for the writing. Read some stuff in that tone e.g. Castle Orantro for Gothic. Write down phrases you like from that too. Make a bunch of tables from these. You have made your sparks. 

Stop and draw a bunch of maps unrelated completely to this project. Avoid writing the rooms or getting started for real. Play video games or talk on discord. 

Force yourself to write an outline using adventures you like that are well organized. 

Make the closest settlement first, sketching it together. Roll some random npcs using the many generators you have. By the time they are done they will be totally unrecognizable from this initial sketch. 

Start writing the intro sections. Draft those. Draft a map, actually for this project. Look at your sparks and name the rooms. Enter these rooms into the document. Read a bunch of blog entries about rooms and dungeon creation again. Worry.

Revise, then revise your revision. Show an early draft to someone and cringe. Put it down for a bit. Play video games and learn more from listening and reading. Add in new ideas that are unexpected from your leftist podcasts plus your sparks into strange ideas. Playtest it at least once with your friends. Smile that you can still GM and you get a lot of ideas from improv. Add all of those ideas and revise and finish it.

Lastly: write stat blocks because you hate doing it. 

Get it edited. Get someone to help you finish the other parts. Hope people like it.


  1. This feels like one of the most real "process" posts out there! Sometimes when I forget the "consume lots of other things" part all of the stuff I'm making just gets worse and stagnant. Thanks for sharing!!


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