Creative Writing

“I hate writing, I love having written.”
– Dorothy Parker

Ms. Parker nailed it; writing is hard. All writing is an act of creation, of bringing something new and hopefully beautiful into the world. It demands effort and sacrifice, and an eye for the visual poetry of language. It requires an ear for the musicality of the words, and so, so much patience.

Finding the perfect words can feel like a Sisyphean task. Contending with dead-ends and multiple revisions is agonizing, but when the words work, when I know that I’ve nailed it, there’s no better feeling.

So yeah, writing is hard, but I love it. Despite the challenges, it’s a joyful act. Below is some of my favorite creative work; I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Creative & Packaging Copy

In an industry with low margins and fierce competition, hobby-game publishers must do everything possible to capture consumer interest. Box art and illustrations are important, as they’re the first things that a potential buyer sees, but the copy on the back of the box is even more important.

Box copy is what sets a game apart; it tells a story, reveals themes, and gives a game its personality. My clients, particularly those overseas, rely on my writing to provide those elements; I have often adapted my copy for use on publishers’ sales sheets, websites, and promotional materials.

Scripts & Screenplays


When writing for print, I’ve got to trust in readers’ imaginations to fill in small details. The reader, in doing so, actively invests my work with their own biases and experiences.

As passive formats, audio and video fill those details in more concretely. By writing with sight and sound in mind, I’m able to guide users through my own vision and imagination.

My attention to detail, along with my regard for clarity and continuity, are solid assets in ensuring that my vision survives any editorial or directorial decisions that follow.

For samples of my work, click the arrows below:

I had a lot of fun writing this spec script, which blended ancient traditions with the “new normal” realities of the post-COVID world. This is an edited-down version; please forgive the non-standard screenplay format: PDF link

I wrote this story, narrated by professional voice actor Eric Summerer, to establish the world of “The Known Lands.” For more details on my worldbuilding efforts, please see that section below. YouTube link.

I wrote and directed this video to welcome people back to the Dwares JCC for its reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic; it received praise from members and staff alike: YouTube link

Storytelling & Worldbuilding

Storytelling is one of humanity’s oldest and most important forms of entertainment. We relate to each other through stories, and we rely on them to help us to make sense of the world and the people around us. Stories have the power to teach, inspire, and comfort, but they can also entertain. Almost everything I write is meant to tell a story – it could be ad copy, a letter to a friend, a press release…the trick is to make it interesting and evocative. The examples below speak to my ability to do just that. At least, I hope they do. Judge for yourself:
For samples of my work, click the arrows below:

Phase Shift Games hired me to build the fictional setting for their series of interconnected games. I created “The Known Lands” from the ground up, establishing this new world’s cultures, religions, histories, mythologies, and even geography; my art direction served as the basis for Phase Shift’s style guides, which ensure consistency and continuity across multiple products and styles of art, as seen here.

In addition to these frameworks I wrote stories for promotional videos (seriously, check out that link), and as a developer my work has included solving issues of game balance and developing some of the games’ interactive fiction. While my fiction writing connects these games in a shared narrative, my technical writing ensures that each game’s manual is clear and accessible. For my contributions, I was identified as an essential and invested member of the team.”

An assortment of characters based on my descriptions

The first edition of Chivalry & Sorcery was printed in 1977, as a response to the lack of realism in Dungeons & Dragons. C&S’ real-world focus quickly set it apart from the other games on the market, and earned it a loyal following in the decades to follow.

In 2019, Britannia Game Designs announced an upcoming fifth edition of C&S; that announcement came with a promise to increase religious and cultural representation, in part by expanding the game’s “core faiths” to Islam and Judaism.

I was hired to write the chapter on medieval Judaism, and came through with an exhaustively researched, 10,000-word, non-fiction overview of Jewish communities in Europe during the period of 1000-1500AD. This included information on Jewish religious and cultural customs, daily life, and relations with non-Jews. In September of 2020, I contracted with the publisher to produce a 25,000-word supplemental book on the Mongol Empire.

I wrote this back when I was teaching high-school English. I’d been challenged to go toe-to-toe with another teacher in a rap battle; my winning submission is below:

Yo, yo, Mister Bo!
I’ve had it up to here with these constant rap battles.
You’ve got the kids in here, prattlin’ like they’re cattle.
I don’t mean to tattle, but Bo, you’re foggier than Seattle.
And if we’re talkin’ ’bout cattle, you know that’s a bovine.
But I don’t mean your wife, cuz’ man she’s lookin’ fine.
Now, I’ve written fifty lines and I’m done with chapter nine,
The plot lines intertwine, what’s the next thing you’ll assign?
Check my flow, Bo, I’m a teacher in the know.
I know what the facts is, and you can’t stop these waxes,
I’ll school you on the Praxis.
The IRS is sendin’ faxes ’bout your last years’ taxes.
Now, you’re starin’ at the class with your coke-bottle lenses,
But we know our verb tenses, our whats, whys, and whences.
Hence, we’re not so dense from the knowledge you dispense.
But listen up, Bo, and hear my two cents.
I’m on the offense, and on your salary you’ll never drive a Benz.
Now, I’ve got to rhyme with salary, my rhyming burns up calories.
Teach us Thomas Mallory, or O’Connor, Flannery.
You’re shorter than a story, your words need weight like Giles Corey.
Ask my man Coleridge, whose mariner was hoary –
His rime colder than my rhymes, I’m out to win glory.
Teach us something gory, like a tale from Polidori.
Now, though, Mister Bo, I’ll tell you what I know ’bout Edgar Allen Poe,
And the poet Homer, d’oh! Let my rhymes flow, rap ’bout Odysseus and his bow.
You want a quid pro quo, but man your rhymes are slow.
So, you’re crazier than van Gogh. Don’t talk, be like Marcel Marceau; my cup doth overflow.
Bo, let me be clear: the end is drawing near, and this is why I’m here.
I’ll teach the kids about Billy Shakespeare and Chaucer’s cavalier.
I’m done for the day – I finished Miller’s play and made impressions like Monet.
So tell me, Mister B, do I get my A?

I’ve always had a particular fondness for this brief sketch:

Twelve years.  That’s how long it had been since Aaron had been home; twelve long years since he’d felt the warmth of his family’s love, the warmth of a home-cooked meal, any warmth at all.  He didn’t even register the heat of the sirocco moving through the air as the desert surrendered the day’s heat to the evening air.
Night came fast in the desert, something for which Aaron was grateful.  The sun was too hot, too bright, too oppressive, and it obscured details that the light of the moon seemed to highlight.  Even on a moonless night, the galaxy of stars above provided enough light for navigation.  Travelling by night and sleeping by day, Aaron kept mostly to himself.  He’d occasionally cross paths with a caravan, stopping to appreciate their hospitality.  The company was nice sometimes, Aaron thought, but he also knew he was safer on his own.  As much as there was safety in numbers, there were monsters that stalked the caravans.  A single traveler didn’t attract much attention; there were no braying donkeys, no large and smoky fires.
On meeting a caravan the Bedouins would invariably urge him in, offering one cup after another of strong, sweet mint tea, sticky dates, and morsels of the ubiquitous roast goat.  After a show of feigned humility on both sides Aaron would sit down for some tea and conversation, trading gossip about the other tribes in the area and listening intently to stories about the monsters that came in the night, the ones that stole life from the tribesfolk, leaving them sickly and weak.  It was valuable information to Aaron; even as a lone traveler, it was important to stay abreast of the tribes’ troubles.  Being able to share news among the various families and tribes made Aaron a valuable visitor, and he never left hungry.
On this night, though, Aaron once again sat alone.  Atop a dune he stared off into the vast field of stars, remembering that night twelve years ago when he left home to explore the desert and his decision shortly thereafter to never go home again.  He remembered every fright he’d had out in the desert, every death of a friend, every near-miss.  He was roused from his reverie by the faint scent of incense wafting across the air, followed minutes later by the sight of a caravan some two miles distant.  Peering intently across the darkened sands, Aaron hungrily flicked his tongue over his needle-sharp fangs.  Yes, Aaron mused as he began hiking towards the flickering torches, there certainly were monsters in the desert…