Sunday, January 30, 2011

Editing Gaming Products, Part 2


Let's pick up where we left off by repeating the magic number of first draft - 10% = second draft.  My disclaimer from the first part still stands.

With the math out of the way and most of the typos extracted.  Although those things are like ants and just when you think you get them all one gets in.  Another crucial part of the editing process is for the editor to find the core of the story.  The core of the adventure or encounter.  If an editor is connected with his writer's vision this should be easy.  Most of the time the writer has it there, but it gets cluttered or it is not polished or enhanced enough.  It is the editor's job to excavate this gem and polish it and his fingerprints should never be seen. 

I will use a few examples from when I edited Points of Light 2 by Rob Conley. 

1114      Misha’s Hovel

In a clearing in this small jungle lies the hut of the Night Hag Misha (15 HD). She collects various herbs and plants from the jungles for Azartec use in his experiments.

Here is where the gamer in me gets excited.  I don't think I'd ever come across a Night Hag.  I grabbed my trusty Monster Manual off the shelf and found absolute gold, "...always in search of very evil persons to slay and bring to Hades to form another larvae - a valuable commodity to both demons and devils alike."  The gamer in me was, How fricking cool is that!  The editor in me said, "That needs to be in there."  What showed up in the final copy was...

1114      Misha’s Hovel

In this clearing lies the hut of the night hag, Misha (15 HD).  She collects herbs and plants from the jungles for Azartec to use in his experiments.  Around her hut are several man-sized larvas.  They are victims of her powerful sleep spell and used as currency when dealing with Azartec.  Inside her hut are various plants that an alchemist would find useful. 

A little more flavor.  Yes, words were added, but where there was just an outline, now there is a full picture.  Still, as I look at it today I would have tossed the last sentence.  It is already inferred in the second sentence that she would have such things in her cabin and if you can, always end with something strong, "They are victims of her powerful sleep spell and used as currency when dealing with Azartec."  That is a much better place to end it.

Another example,

0513      The Fire Giant Battle

Two Fire Giant Brothers (15 HD), Surigon and Darash, are fighting a horde of 20 Fire Mephits (2 HD). The Fire Mephits know that they have little chance of winning but delight in tormenting the giants. If the Mephits are killed or driven off, the brothers will invite the party to their home further up the slope (Hex 0810).

Nothing wrong with that entry what so ever.  You have action going on and an action result afterwards.  Still I thought something was missing to give it a bit more color and life.  The addition was simple.  Here's how it ended up print.

0513      The Fire Giant Battle

Two fire giant brothers (15 HD), Surigon and Darash, are fighting a horde of 20 fire mephits (2 HD).  The Fire Mephits know that they have little chance of winning but delight in tormenting the giants.  If the mephits are killed or driven off, the brothers will invite the party to their home further up the slope (Hex 0810).  The giants are drunk and talkative.


A simple addition, but I think it fills out the encounter.  The point of these alterations was to demonstrate that an editor needs to find the gems, polish them and let them be. 

I will say Part 3 will be out tomorrow, but I doubt it.  This week for sure.  Part 3 will be about going through the edits with writer.