Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In Which The Warlock Ruminates Revision...

One of the things that any writer learns swiftly is that first drafts are usually a pile of crap. Put out quickly, in a fit of creative frenzy, first drafts almost always have massive flaws which only get fixed during the arduous, painful process of revision.

While working on WEGS products with El Willy, revision is the sum totality of my job. Not just for grammatical errors, mind you, but rather for content and context, to say nothing of the actual game mechanics themselves! I have something of a running joke with El Willy regarding the Dungeoneer from the "Ultimate Dungeon Party" due to the many versions of Hew and Jab we ran through.

When working with the other freelancers on "The Mythos Dossiers" for Cubicle 7, however, revision was a group effort. After completing a draft, we'd upload the document to a series of Google docs, which were then available for mark-up and changes as needed. Ideas and commentary ran freely, and I still have a whole series of e-mails, detailing commentary on ideas between writers.

And now, two sessions out from the end of my alpha testing for Cold Steel Wardens, I'm finding myself wondering how to go about revising this mess.  While I have quite a few notes of my own, I'm finding the lack of conversation a little frustrating.  While my players have been good about providing feedback, and I seem to be asking important questions, my time with them is limited and the "Q&A" portion of our sessions often comes at 10:30 at night, as we're heading out the door.   That doesn't exactly make for great discussion, particularly if I've been up (as usual) since 6:30 for teaching.

I've thought about contacting a freelance editor--I have a few names that I'd go to, primarily contacts I've made through running games or talking with industry people--though I can't say that I have the cash to pay someone in that position.  So, I'm figuring that my revisions will be a solo effort...

...which is fine.  Really.  Most of the drafting for CSW was done in July, meaning I'll be coming back at it with a fresh head, ready to tear it apart.  In fact, that's just what's happening with my other ongoing writing project:  The Pendulum Method.  Yup!  Pendulum!  Remember that one?  Yeah, I've been taking a look at that once again, with my eyes on expansion. 

And, at the top of the list for that?  A defense of "adverserial game-mastery"...

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