And that's a fact.
You set out to tell your story to your audience, your users, your people. You know it's going to be hard. REALLY hard. There will be days when you'll feel like you're climbing a mountain. In the winter time. In your underwear.
But you do it. You do it because you know it's worth the effort. You know that a project that is built with heart and soul will be successful - but more importantly, it'll be a project you and your team can be proud of for years to come.
And that's why you put in the time - because you want to make something great.
I'm here to help. Let's make this happen - together.
For over ten years, I've been creating storylines, characters and scripts for video games. Guess what? Players are a really tough audience! But there ARE ways to make an emotional connection with online audiences. There IS a way to connect on a human level, even in a digital world. And when you make that human connection, your message suddenly resonates, and your reach expands. You are able to build your audience, your brand, your body of work. Your work suddenly carries more meaning - for your peeps, and for you. You sleep better at night, because your work is on point.
Want to know more? Contact me and let's talk.
Stats & Figures
We let the results speak for themselves.
$ 500 million
What They're Saying
Game Designer, Telltale Games & LucasArts
Susan is an amazing writer who's able to challenge the tired cliches of video game narrative while still accommodating the demands of gameplay. Her style is sharp and creative. She's got great instincts for genre and character motivation. Working with her was a great privilege.
Lead Narrative Designer, Crystal Dynamics
Susan is a strong narrative firefighter who can identify problems and provide both broad and detailed solutions. Her thoughtful approach is rooted in structure and process - she can quickly get to the heart of what a story is really about, and bring that throughline front and center.
Susan is a great collaborator who thrives under pressure. Her great sense of humor and easy manner makes her a pleasure to work with. In tough situations, she's the picture of grace under pressure.
Senior Director, Game Development
I had the pleasure of working with Susan as a contract writer/creative consultant with LucasArts for several years while in preproduction on the StarWars 1313 game project, a compendium game to the proposed LucasFilm television series.
First and foremost Susan is an excellent interactive writer – that’s her bread and butter – she knows games, how games get done, how to best weave story in with gameplay, and the inherent challenges in doing so. As a producer, it’s tough to find a good writer who can also work within the parameters of modern game development. I was pleased to also discover her talent as a skilled listener, group leader, and presenter amongst larger studio teams and executives, as well as her ability to work with other writers – as we had a cadre of television series writer’s work to overlap with as well.
In the end, Susan put together a great script, but most importantly a framework and way of thinking, working, and tone with our creative team that left a strong impression that remained with the team long after her consulting gig was up that only a seasoned pro could do. I highly recommend and look forward to working with her again on future creative projects with either direct involvement on a team or in a workshop setting.
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It's time to talk turkey, people.
TEDx talk on the power of stories on our inner lives
Superheroes, Antarctica, journalists and you
Clips from the highlight reel
Nominee, Outstanding Achievement in Story, Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
Nominee, Best Narrative, Game Developers Conference
Over 8 million copies sold worldwide
Star Wars 1313
31 award nominations,
10 wins at E3
Far Cry 2
Nominee, Best Writing, GDC
Nominee, Game of the Year, AIAS
Winner, Game of the Year, AIAS
Winner, Best Writing, GDC
Over 4 million units sold
Launched a franchise
The short verison:
I tell stories for a living.
I help studios reach more people.
When I'm not at work, I'm planning my next surf trip.
Want to work together? I'd love to hear from you.
Slightly longer version of bio follows.
I still remember the first time seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark -- Marion Ravenwood was EVERYTHING to me. She ran a bar in Nepal. She could drink any guy under the table. And she took pot shots at Nazis.
This, I thought, is my kind of dame.
After college, all I knew was that I wanted to be a writer. I had no idea how to turn my love for writing into a paid gig. Then I found Human Code. It was a small studio in Austin that made CD-ROM games for kids. They were about to start pre-production on Girl Talk - “the slumber-party game for girls!” Of all the writers who applied for the job, I was the only one who had ever BEEN to a slumber party -- so I was a subject-matter expert. I got the job.
Human Code was magic. It was the Muppet Show, minus the chickens. None of us really knew what we were doing -- games were a new thing, for all of us -- but we meant well, tried hard, and did our best. My best friends are all from Human Code. Many coworkers went on to marry each other and raise families. It was that kind of place.
Later, Human Code was acquired in a foolish dot-com merger, and months later we were all laid off. This was terrible news. But the $30,000 severance package made me feel like a GOD - a wealthy, emancipated god. I decided to start working for myself.
It was a good time to be a game writer. Consoles were coming into their own. The XBox was right around the corner. I started working on over-the-top action titles. (Adios, Girl Talk!) Suddenly, I WAS taking (virtual) potshots at the bad guys - just like Marion.
It was an adventure, and a revelation. This was a new medium. There were no rules of the road. The learning curve was a line, and it went straight up. I had to learn how to combine narrrative with gameplay. I had to learn how to work with designers and engineers, as well as actors and animators. I had to grasp the big picture, sense the emotional implications of the game design, and translate those feelings into characters, desire lines, and plot points.
Above all, it was my job to know how the player felt, so that our story would connect. It was my job to be emotionally open and empathic - to see the world through his eyes.
I loved being able to break all the rules: the rules of storytelling, the rules of engagement, even the rules of gravity.
Games made the impossible feel possible.
A lot happened over the course of a few short years. I contributed to a Microsoft title that became a franchise that has gone on to sell nearly 20 million copies. I collaborated on a project for 2K that sold 4 million units, earned critical acclaim and spawned a franchise. And I worked on a title for Square Enix that sold 8 million copies. Our projects won writing awards -- Best Narrative, Best Writing, Best Character. I was named one of the top writers working in the industry.
As time went on, the industry changed. And I changed. I realized how much I cared about what was happening in the world around me. We don’t need to fight virtual monsters on a computer screen; there are plenty of monsters in real life. We need courage to face those monsters -- not the courage that comes from strapping armor on, but that comes from taking that armor OFF, to show up in the world in a real and genuine way.
I watched comedians like Louis CK and Tig Notaro talk about life in a way that was so real, and honest, and most of all vulnerable. It reminded me that THAT is what I have always loved about stories -- the way they give us permission to be ourselves. To be imperfect. To be flawed. And to still be worthwhile, despite all that. I saw people like Meryl Streep and Amy Poehler change the narrative about what women can do, and be, and say in the world. I marveled at the way The Daily Show told the truth about the world, in the most brutal and funny way, night after night.
And I said "Yes. That is what I want to do. I want to help make sense of things." Because that is what stories have always done for me.
So now I’m taking what I’ve learned about how to connect with audiences --
And I’m working with teams from all walks of professional life -- entrepreneurs, content strategists, theater companies, adventure-travel documentary filmmakers, financial companies, women’s rights activists --
- to tell stories that matter.
Mary Oliver said it best. “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
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