Sheffield Hallam Student Sharpens Game Writing at CMU
This semester, Andrej Panic, a junior majoring in creative writing at Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom is honing his creative writing as an exchange student at Carnegie Mellon University through the English department’s study abroad program.
As the lead writer for The Noxcrew, an online community of about 40 designers, coders, gamers and writers, Panic was attracted to English department classes, such as ‘Role Playing Game Writing Workshop.’ He’s contributed to the organization’s “The Noxcrew Game Show,” a virtual game show with competing teams based in the world of the popular video game, Minecraft.
We recently caught up with Panic to discuss his experience at CMU.
What classes are you taking at CMU?
I am taking ‘Survey of Forms: Screenwriting’ with Sharon Dilworth, ‘Role Playing Game Writing Workshop’ with Chris Klug, ‘Rhetorical Grammar’ with Mary Glavan and ‘Advanced Fiction Workshop’ with Kevin González.
What do you enjoy about the exchange program?
It’s demanding, but not in a bad way. At Sheffield Hallam, I have a lot of spare time to pursue my own projects. I don’t have assignments every week like at CMU. Here, it’s more rigorously structured, but it’s nice to have a focus on writing fiction and role playing game writing.
What have you learned so far in your English classes at CMU?
Discipline. You can’t wake up in the morning and say, “I don’t want to do this assignment today.” There’s no time for that here—in ‘Advanced Fiction’ we read a book every week.
In ‘Role Playing Game Writing Workshop,’ we are working on building a portfolio of work that we can show to potential employers. We are learning about best practices for storytelling and how to create campaign adventure stories for a system, which will allow us to show off our talent within our portfolio.
What is challenging about studying in CMU’s Department of English?
In ‘Advanced Fiction Workshop,’ when your work is critiqued, you get varying opinions and different expectations of your work from classmates. It feels like a personal attack sometimes, but it’s not—you have to remember that it’s constructive criticism.
Within ‘Role Playing Game Writing Workshop,’ you get to experience “kill your darlings” first hand—it’s when you have writing that you really like and someone tells you that it’s not working and that you should get rid of it. It’s helped me become a stronger writer.
We heard it’s your first time in America. What have you been up to outside of class?
On spring break, I visited a friend in Kokomo, Indiana and I have plans to hike the Appalachian Trail with a friend. I tried fast food for the first time—I like Wendy’s!
What advice do you have for students who want to study abroad at CMU?
Don’t be afraid to say hello to people. If you like someone else’s work, have a conversation with them. People are welcoming and friendly at Carnegie Mellon.
By Amanda King