Who are you?
My name is David L. Craddock. I write short stories, novels, and nonfiction books about video games. In 2013, I published Stay Awhile and Listen: Book I – How Two Blizzards Unleashed Diablo and Forged a Video-Game Empire, which tells the story of the early years of Blizzard Entertainment and Blizzard North, and has an obnoxiously long subtitle. Other game-centric books of mine include Dungeon Hacks, One-Week Dungeons, and Making Fun: Stories of Game Development – Volume 1.
I spend the bulk of my time writing as a freelancer for a fluctuating roster of clients. In addition, I am the sole author and publisher of Episodic Content, a serial webzine that tells the stories of how games are made and the people who make them.
You can learn more about me here.
What is Episodic Content?
Episodic Content is a webzine that serializes accounts of videogame development and culture, with an emphasis on the people who make games. Each story is written in a narrative style, like a novel.
New games, classic games, indie games, blockbuster games, mobile games, console games, PC games, games you’ve never heard of — you’ll read about them all, and you’ll meet the people who did the impossible by transforming their pipe dreams into virtual realities.
Where can I read Episodic Content?
How can I help support Episodic Content?
If you like my work, feel free to give me a one-time donation through PayPal, or back me on Patreon. You’ll be billed for each piece of content I post, usually once a week (4-5 times per month). You can put a ceiling on your tips to avoid spending too much during a given month, and adjust your tip amount if you decide you want to pay more or need to pay less.
Writing Episodic Content is a labor of love, but make no mistake: it is a labor. I chase down developers for interviews, conduct the research, assemble outlines from my interviews and research, and write. That takes a great deal of time.
The money I earn from subscribers goes toward paying my editor and cover artists, and my bills. If you like my content, please consider supporting it.
How often do backers pay?
You’ll be billed for each piece of content I post, usually once a week (4-5 times per month). You can put a ceiling on your tips to avoid spending too much during a given month, and adjust your tip amount if you decide you want to pay more or need to pay less.
Alternatively, you can send me donations through PayPal whenever you choose.
For more info, see Patreon’s FAQ.
When do you publish new content?
New content is posted to the blog once per week. Patreon subscribers get content a few hours or days earlier.
What work goes into writing stories and interviews?
While I do reference secondary and tertiary sources, the stories I write are based on direct interviews with key individuals in a game’s development. Every word you read in Episodic Content was either written by me, or came from an interview with a developer conducted by me. (Or my editor suggested a brilliant turn of phrase, as editors are prone to do.)
Interviews take time set up. I have to track down developers, reach out to them, hope they get back to me, agree on a mutually agreeable time to speak, prepare questions, and conduct the interview. Often, I’ll discover hours or weeks after doing an interview that I need more information to plug up holes in my research. When this happens, the interview process starts all over.
Next up: transcribing and research. Transcribing usually takes twice as long as the actual interview. Some developers mumble, some talk in noisy locations like coffee shops, some talk a mile a minute. Any scenario entails lots of rewinding, typing, pausing to give me fingers a chance to catch up. Rinse and repeat When developers opt to answer questions over email, I clean up their answers for grammar, spelling, and readability (something I do for everyone; it’s just part of the job), and poke and prod them for more detail when they feed me a two-word answer because they were in a rush.
Last but never least: the writing. I’ve yet to write a first (or second, or third, or Nth) draft that turned up perfectly. All stories, even shorter ones, go through numerous revisions with my editor. We’re not satisfied until we’ve nailed every word and injected the necessary nuance and subtext necessary to pull you into the story. To make you feel like you were there.
That’s the ultimate goal. Think of my stories as time machines: You weren’t there, working alongside developers, but I want you to walk away from feeling like you were, watching history unfold.
Achieving that goal is not easy, but there’s no better feeling than seeing a story unfold as I write it.
And that, dear reader, is what I want to give to you: my work, my struggles, my passion, neatly packaged in bite-sized chapters that are unlike any form of content you will find in any other magazine or on any other website in this industry.
Can I buy complete books at retail?
Stories will be published in eBook and paperback anthologies several months after they finish their serialized runs in Episodic Content.
How do you choose which stories to write?
It depends. Sometimes I fall in love with a game and decide to stalk the people who made it until they decide that their loved ones I have tied up in my basement are worth exchanging for interviews. Other times I’ll read about a game, think, “Hey, that sounds kinda neat,” and commence stalking.
What motivated you to write Episodic Content?
Many critical outlets focus on the content of games (narrative, graphics, controls, and so on) rather than addressing what I believe to be really important: the what, how, and why of development. Why was this game made? What motivated the designer to choose a particular style? How did they do that?
My goal with Episodic Content is threefold. To focus on the art and craftsmanship of videogame development; to shine a spotlight on the culture that surrounds and emanates from the videogame industry; and, to tell stories about creative people doing creative things.
Do developers pay you to write their stories?
I am not paid by any developers, individuals, or companies to write about them. Every story I write is one I chose to pursue because it interested me, and every dime I make comes from you, the people who support my efforts.
Publishers rarely sanction tell-all stories, and it’s easy to understand why. Most of them are publicly traded companies. They have an image to maintain. I am an independent historian. My stories cover the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is never my intention to give people mud to fling, but I don’t shy away from the bad and the ugly if they had an impact on how a game turned out. I believe the struggles behind the scenes are another element of what makes some games so special, and this history is worth preserving.
That’s what you get from Episodic Content. No PR spins. No whitewashing. With Episodic Content, you get the whole truth and nothing but.
Who else helps out with Episodic Content?
Andrew Magrath, my best friend and a university professor, writing lab instructor, and published author, helps out with editing as he is able. (So blame him if you find a typo. Not me. I’m perfect in every way.)
Milan Jaram, a friend from the Shacknews.com community where I hang my Internet hat, designs and paints pretty much of the artwork you see on the webzine. Follow him on Twitter (@MilanJaram), and check out his work here. Thor Thorvaldson, another artist and contact of mine, designs cover art for anthologies that collect stories published on Episodic Content and elsewhere. You’ll find his work on Deviant Art.
Is Episodic Content open to submissions?
My question wasn’t answered. HALP.
Feel free to contact me with any other questions at EpisodicContent@gmail.com, or reach me through Twitter (@davidlcraddock).