The first and most important hook for me when writing a game is to have a good idea. That can take different forms, depending what exactly it is I’m doing. It can be a property I want to take on, a game I want to remake, a style or genre, even a system. Whatever the reason it needs to be a good one.
Then I brainstorm, scribbling down and pondering as many different aspects as I can. Relationships between system, theme, mood and goals. This usually ends up with a rather chaotic .txt document or pieces of scratch-paper with virtually indecipherable writing and doodles all over it.
Then I try to make order out of chaos. I ‘layout’ the book as intend to write it by chapter, section and subsection. EG:
Apres Vie – The Afterlife Game
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Character Creation
And so on…
If I have a solid idea of what I want, I may also commission art at this stage, to save time later on.
Then I start to write, in order, section by section, though occasionally pausing to rewrite previous sections, or jumping ahead to add notes or write sections that interrelate to the one I’m currently on.
Most of the actual writing is done on the laptop, switching to the desktop for editing (using various ‘cheats’ if I can’t afford an editor) and – eventually – layout.
I do the layout myself, exporting to PDF and tweaking for the various types of output I need, whether for print or download.