Oval Alum: Samantha Steven

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I’m living in downtown LA, where I work as a copywriter for a gaming start-up called Plaor.  Plaor created the online game app Hollywood Poker, expanded to the online Mega Fame Casino, and is now developing an interactive personal question game called Hyve. (Like a bee hive).  For Hollywood Poker,  I covered the 2013 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas and also live Hollywood Poker tournaments.  For Hyve, I write dynamic, irreverent, strange, and funny questions myself and also, I edit every question and manage the other question writers, much like I did on The Oval.

What makes a good game is exactly what makes good writing. Each level is building obstacles, raising the stakes, and figuring out how much to reveal and conceal, how to build anticipation, and keep the player engaged (ultimately addicted!) and clicking forward. Moreover, the workshop experience from college is integral to my job because I constantly have to articulate my insights, questions, and feedback whenever employers ask me what’s it’s like to play the game. Learning how to identify what works and what does not, and moreover, communicating that clearly and tactfully is of enormous value in the real world. Furthermore, being able to take criticism and accept that perfection is not possible or expected in a first draft is key to being realistic and positive about your own work. It’s strange to me when people patronize the English major, as it’s a broad major with a vast and valuable skill set. English majors offer creative, imaginative thinking, eloquent communication skills, and an understanding of storytelling that helps companies sell or entertain–and what business does NOT need to do that? Take as many workshops as possible; they are valuable in improving your writing AND yourself.

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