Eric Smith on How Video Games Can Make You a Better Author

January 27, 2015 Author Feature, Discussion, Giveaway, Guest Post 8

by Eric Smith

Welcome to one of the stops on the INKED by Eric Smith blog tour. This is his YA debut but he’s also the author of THE GEEK’S GUIDE TO DATING. Today he’s going to tell us about how video games can make you a better author!


Tabitha’s review of INKED

Now lets hear from the author and be sure to enter the GIVEAWAY for a video game and copy of the e-book below!


One of my favorite questions, and I’m sure it’s one every single author gets about their respective books, is the “how did you come up with the idea?” question. Novel ideas surface in many ways. Dreams, real-life experiences, stories from history, etc. When it came to INKED, I had two answers.

One: A friend of mine, who also gave me my quotation mark wrist tattoos (I have the punctuation marks on both my wrists, one open, the other closed), made a comment about his ink. He’s covered, up his neck, across his hands. He said something along the lines of how he’ll always be a tattoo artist, a career he absolutely adores. And I wondered about that idea. What if tattoos kept you in a place you didn’t want to be?

Two: Video games.

I grew up playing RPGs. I referenced old school Super Nintendo-era Final Fantasy games, Secret of Mana, Earthbound, and my favorite game of all time Chrono Trigger, pretty heavily in my first published book, The Geek’s Guide to Dating. These fantasy adventure games that threw you into a world of monsters, magic, time travel, etc… they constantly had my mind spinning and daydreaming.

And if there’s one theme you constantly see in those RPGs that involve magic… it’s the government doing really messed up things with it. And this was a theme I was eager to explore in a YA novel.

RPGs, whether they are the classic kind (that you can get on your phone these days) or the modern sort, like MMORPGs or Bioware’s epics, transport you into these fantastic, beautifully imagined worlds. They encourage you to explore them, the same way a great fantasy (or sci-fi, think Mass Effect) would.

No time to visit the wilderness, and you have an important scene that takes place in one? Good news, you can jump into a game of Skyrim and wander for hours. Need to research weaponry? Spend a little time playing Dragon Age, and learn all about swords, shields, armor. As much as video games might feel like they take away from your time writing, they can serve as an awesome jump-off point for research and world building.

So for those of you about to start a fantasy or sci-fi novel… well, read a lot of books, but also feel free to go visit your local GameStop, download some classics on your iPhone, or sign up for Steam. And do so guilt free. After-all, its research.

And hey, fun fact… there’s a Skyrim reference in INKED. Let me know if you find it.


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See the rest of the blog tour!

1/20: The Book Smugglers
The Premiere of the Theme Song to INKED by (Surprise!)

1/21: Cuddlebuggery
On Editing, Revising, & Learning to Leave Things Out

1/22: Snuggly Oranges
What To Do When You Just Can’t: Researching Outside the Box

1/23: The Perpetual Page Turner
A Roundup (And Giveaway) of YA Novels That Inspired INKED

1/26: Good Books & Good Wine
Music & Inked: The Soundtrack to a Young Adult Novel

1/27: Not Yet Read
How Video Games Can Make You a Better Author

1/28: My Bookish Ways
The Best Pieces of Advice I’ve Ever Gotten From Other Writers


Eric Smith

Eric Smith is the author of The Geek’s Guide to Dating (December 2013) and the Young Adult novel, Inked, out now with Bloomsbury’s digital imprint,Bloomsbury Spark. He can be found blogging for BookRiot, The Huffington Post, and when he isn’t busy writing, he can be found tweeting and marketing at Quirk Books. Visit Eric’s website to learn more, and follow him on Twitter (@ericsmithrocks).


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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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8 Responses to “Eric Smith on How Video Games Can Make You a Better Author”

  1. Litha Nelle

    That Skyrim reference better not be “I used to be an adventurer like you, but then I took a tattoo gun to the knee.” 😛

  1. INKED Exists: Some Thanks | Eric Smith

    […] An epic thank you to The Book Smuggles, Cuddlebuggery, The Perpetual Page Turner, Snuggly Oranges, Not Yet Read, Good Books & Good Wine, and My Bookish Ways for being on my team, and pushing the book out […]