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What do you do once you've brainstormed? Now you have a zillion ideas but still no game. Okay, now it's time to edit. Change gears and put on your critical hats. Whether you're working alone or as a team, we recommend that you schedule your editing sessions on different days than your brainstorming meetings. Even letting a week go by between the two phases is a good idea. What we don't want to do is blur the line between the two because as soon as you start combining editing and brainstorming, you'll wind up with inferior ideas.
When you begin the editing session, make it clear to everyone involved that the brainstorming is over. This is a time to weed through the morass of ideas and pull out what works. Go through each idea systematically and rank it with a number from one to ten. If it's a group, this can be done like a secret ballot. Tabulate the scores and rank the ideas from best to worst.
The top ten ideas should then be discussed, going over the merits of each idea. Try to keep the discussion positive. Don't bash any ideas. Instead talk about the relative strengths of each idea. Ifyou're working alone, do the same thing in your head. Keeping a positive outlook helps prevent self-censorship when you return to brainstorming.
Narrow down the list from ten ideas to three. Then schedule another brainstorming session on those three ideas. Keep repeating the process until you come up with one idea that everyone feels is superior. Once this has been done, present that idea to other people for feedback, and go through the process yet again, taking their advice and structuring brainstorming sessions around this.
Your ideas should be limited to single paragraph descriptions. Only once an idea has made it through the entire process and received outside feedback should you expand it to about a singlepage treatment. The less you write at first, the less attached you'll become to your idea, and the easier it will be to alter your plans if things aren't heading in the right direction.
The goal is to keep the process fluid, so you don't get locked into a single idea too early on or spend too much time perfecting your writing. A better concept may be lurking just around the corner, and until you've gone through several iterations with the first idea, you don't want to lock yourself in.
Exercise 6.8: Describe Your Game
In one or two paragraphs, describe the essence of your game idea. Try to capture what makes it interesting to you, and how the basic gameplay will work.
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