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Story Mode.jpg
Story Mode

Against the backdrop of a hyper-competitive AAA industry and the perception that it is a world reserved for top programmers and hard-core 'gamers', Story Mode offers an accessible entry-point for all into writing and designing complex and emotionally affecting narrative video games. The first textbook to combine game design with creative writing techniques, this much-needed resource makes the skills necessary to consume and create digital and multi-modal stories attainable and fun. Appealing to the growing calls for greater inclusivity and access to this important contemporary apparatus of expression, this book offers low-cost, accessible tools and instruction that bridge the knowledge gap for creative writers, showing them how they can merge their skill-set with the fundamentals of game creation and empowering them to produce their own games which push stories beyond the page and the written word.

Broken down into 4 sections to best orientate writers from any technological background to the strategies of game production, this book offers:

- Contextual and introductory chapters exploring the history and variety of various game genres.

- Discussions of how traditional creative writing approaches to character, plot, world-building and dialogue can be utilised in game writing.

- An in-depth overview of game studies concepts such as game construction, interactivity, audience engagement, empathy, real-world change and representation that orientate writers to approach games from the perspective of a designer.

- A whole section on the practical elements of work-shopping, tools, collaborative writing as well as extended exercises guiding readers through long-term, collaborative, game-centred projects using suites and tools like Twine, Audacity, Bitsy, and GameMaker.

Featuring detailed craft lessons, hands-on exercises and case studies, this is the ultimate guide for creative writers wanting to diversify into writing for interactive, digital and contemporary modes of storytelling. Designed not to lay out a roadmap to a successful career in the games industry but to empower writers to experiment in a medium previously regarded as exclusive, this book demystifies the process behind creating video games, orienting readers to a wide range of new possible forms and inspiring them to challenge mainstream notions of what video games can be and become.

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French Dive

"The motto of the French who call themselves les décroissants 'spend less, live better, ' permeates this story of faith, dedication, life goals realized on a shoestring budget, and where there's a will there's a way. In these pages you will fall in love with Nice, spearfishing, and the family Freeze. You'll ponder how to make what's right for you and what's right for the world coincide."

—Pam Houston, author of Deep Creek and Contents May Have Shifted


"French Dive is one of the best travel memoirs I've ever read. It's as intellectually enlightening as Adam Gopnik's Paris to the Moon, and it has all the emotional impact of a novel. This is a moving meditation on contemporary life and a testament to the importance of exploration and discovery."

—Michael Dahlie, author of The Best of Youth


"At the warm heart of this enchanting book are answers to one of the most fundamental questions of life: how to live well. Eric Freeze and his family moved from the US into a tiny apartment in Nice-and into new lives centered around family, food, discovery, and living boldly. As the French say: depenser moins, vivre mieux, spend less, live better."

—Anne Giardini, author of The Sad Truth About Happiness 


"Eric Freeze makes for an extraordinary travel companion and French Dive is the kind of read that spirits you from one location to another but leaves you ready for your next adventure. What Freeze is capable of doing, with his keen eye and even more impressive ability to examine people and cultures, is nothing thing short of incredible."

—Jared Yates Sexton, author of The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters on Your Shore: A Story of American Rage

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Invisible Men

"From the chilling thought experiment called 'Duplex,' which opens this powerful collection, to the strange and beautiful elegy to a lost life called 'Ice Woman' that closes it, Eric Freeze investigates with not a little humor and plenty of sorrow, the chasms and chaos several men (and a few women) leave behind when they disappear."

—Pam Houston, author of Deep Creek and Contents May Have Shifted

"Ovid’s got nothing on these brand new metamorphic fictions found in Eric Freeze’s transformative Invisible Men. Osmotic in content and flexible in form, these stories turn themselves inside out, unhinge and pivot, a collection of epiphianic epiphanies. Reading these, we wake, newly genetically engineered Gregor Samsas, to these transcendent dreams evolving into these monstrously sublime visions."

—Michael Martone, author of The Moon over Wapakoneta and Michael Martone

"A smart, funny, and moving collection. Freeze creates characters and voices that ring true—you know these people—while at the same time constantly surprising with what they think and do. If other readers are anything like me, they’ll be reflecting on these stories for a good long while after finishing them. There’s some magic in these pages."​

—Ian Stansel, author of The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo and Everybody's Irish

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Hemingway on a Bike

"Hemingway on a Bike is a wonderful book of essays, wry and wise, in which Eric Freeze considers what it is to be a twenty-first century literary man’s man, in all his house-remodeling, sweet-parenting, foosball-playing glory."

—Jess Walter, author of The Cool Millions and Beautiful Ruins

"Bodybuilding Jesuses, glorious thorough moving explorations of the word bolt, the search for the finest foosball table in the world, beardlessness, wrestling, the many glories of Canada, towns filled with Vulcans, superheroes, house-lust, love, pain—a wry and piercing collection of adventures and misadventures from a terrific essayist. A book both tart and gentle, which I savored from first line to last."

—Brian Doyle, author of Mink River and Grace Notes

"Eric Freeze is the kind of thoughtful writer and parent who will help us save the world."

—Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of Once Upon a River and American Salvage

"This book is so much more than Hemingway on a bike, and thankfully so. In wide-ranging meanders, Eric Freeze takes us around the globe and into experiences both personal and universal, from transporting a foosball table to gutting a fish to growing a patchy beard to witnessing attacks by a barracuda and a British talk-show host. The essays move deftly, pausing to ponder or to play in language; they keep us moving; they move us. What it comes down to is this: the book is wonderful because Freeze’s mind is so unfetteredly interesting."

—Patrick Madden, author of Disparates and Quotidiana

"Intelligent, curious, and self-effacing, Hemingway on a Bike represents a truly singular work of creative nonfiction. Meditating on an improbably diverse range of subjects—including foosball, superheroes, Mormonism, home birthing, beards, fishing, Vulcans, and professional wrestling—Freeze proves himself to be the kind of writer who knows exactly how to plumb the idiosyncrasies of his own experience, and the results are playful and profound."

—Matthew Vollmer, author of Gateway to Paradise

Dominant Traits

"Freeze builds his sentences with the intricate grace of the snowflakes so often falling from the sky in these eleven stories, all of them peculiarly sad and funny and beautiful."  

—Ben Percy, author of Suicide Woods and Refresh, Refresh

"Eric Freeze’s short stories propose that caution should be thrown to the winds. Dominant Traits is a collection that reveals the texture behind the ordinary. Here are laid bare the details of inexorable mortality, with all its desire, pain and joy, written with an exquisitely light touch.

This a slow dance of a collection, filled with wit, work, and the strange imperatives of authenticity, the jobs that give us blisters and epiphanies. These stories illuminate; these stories confess; these stories explore life’s crazily unexpected lessons. These stories expose themselves; these stories reveal the dismaying inadequacies we all keep buried. And yet, they paint a magical world: of beet farming and Mormons and hoodoos and Hutterites. Here is exposure as exotic as a rain forest, but set in a southern Alberta world where writing on stone and dark nights reverberate with compelling precision."

—Aritha van Herk, author of Stampede and the Westness of West


"It was Grace Paley who identified for us the spot where the need to tell stories finds its source, that pain “just to the right of the heart,” and it was Mr. Barry Hannah who identified that same urge as the brain’s want for song.  Eric Freeze understands what they were talking about.  With Dominant Traits, his remarkable collection of stories, he joins the finest of storytellers.  The fiction in Dominant Traits seems grounded in the quirkiness that is the every day, that is where we learn about the human heart and its odd acts of defiance, generosity, courage, ineptitude.  Yet the power here also lies in the art of Freeze’s storytelling.  Dominant Traits is fiction for the 21st Century; that is, we come to know deeply and wholly the characters, the circumstances of their wants, the danger of their desires, but this fiction also draws us up and into its narrativity. Freeze’s fiction is about its people, and it is about its own telling.  The prose here is that astonishingly plain prose that stuns us into recognition and that sings our grief and joy."

—Darrell Spencer, author of Bring Your Legs With You


"Hallucinating DJs and castrating calves, the Sin of Onan and skidoos up a mountain: Dominant Traits maps a startling and strange range of lives and faces; these surprising stories stand bright and sure and mark a rabid curiosity."

—Mark Jarman, author of Knife Party at the Hotel Europa

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