An Inky Orwell Industries Update
There are few things more pleasureable then putting together a nice little presentation on execution and then having your computer eat it and send the pixels scattering to the four winds. So, while you may be reading this for the first time, this is a rewrite for me. Hopefully, it’ll be interesting, entertaining, and more engaging than the first iteration, who knows? I do know the intro is a lot stronger! Ahem. Apologies for my delays in a regular update to this section of the site. I regularly post a lot about what’s happening in the dirt, the mad lab, and the razorwise report, but sometimes I grow derelict on these other sections. The main reason? I can either work on my writing or write on my working. It’s that whole paradox of time issue, so we’ll put that to the side and face forward.
Orwell Industries is nearing completion of its component parts. When we last left off, I was talking about conception and we covered that as thoroughly as we needed and we learned ideas are just an ingredient in the whole project, surprisingly not the end all and be all we creative types like to think it is. That’s when the left brain takes over and says, now we need to form these ideas into some kind of cohesive whole. This is the execution part of the project and the one that presents a stumbling block for many individuals. While anyone can come up with an idea (good, bad, or indifferent), what sets the idea apart from others is their execution. For example, the classic King Kong flick stood head and shoulders above other flicks for its execution. If you think about the story line, it’s not the end all and be all of literary achievement. So, back to execution. You’ve got this idea and then you proceed to get it written. That’s the first part of execution and after that gels a bit, you ship the art off to be drawn. Ahem. As I’ve said before, attention to detail on your art direction is essential and cannot be stressed enough. You want good art, or at least art you personally like, you’ve got to give good direction and find good artists.
Woooah. Let’s back up a minute. Execution begins with bringing your team together. If it’s just you and you’re a multi-talented so-and-so who can write, draw, and come up with amazingly creative work, you’ve already got your team assembled. Good for you. I can draw a mean stick figure, but I don’t think you’d want to pay to see it. So, you have to scour the web and your other resources for people to work with you. That is, if you’re going solo. You can also pitch companies directly. All of our websites have guidelines. Reality Blurs included. Let’s proceed from the standpoint of “I’m going solo and I can make this work.” Remember that last part- work. This is work and getting a good team together can be an arduous process. Just getting a team together is another matter, something akin to garage bands. You want talent and it’s worth taking your time to find good people. The thing is, they’re not going to necessarily trust you, because who are you, what have you done, and I’ve never heard of you. This is especially true if you’re a newer company or if this is your first project. Like in everything else in life, you’ve gotta earn street cred. So, you may well expect to do the writing on your own while you fumble about for an inside track. After you’ve got this stuff down, you’re going to need editing. If you’re on a limited budget, send it around to friends who are professionals of some sort, not necessarily gamers. They are most likely to be your closest, readily available contact with the writing world and they’ll often do it for free. Now, your gamer buddies are going to know games and you’ll have to have some of them read it for clarity and content and to punch holes in your perfect plotline. The type especially useful are the ones who look to short circuit any and all adventures they are exposed to. For once, they are useful to you!
After you’ve gotten it read with suggested changes, make said changes and send it back around for another cycle. Here’s the specific rundown of how things went with Orwell Industries:
1. I came up with the high concept of Orwell Industries. I wanted an evil megacorporation that could be easily integrated into anyone’s superhero campaign. I jotted down some notes and discussed this with the writer I tapped for the project, Butch Curry.
2. Butch expanded upon the basic concept and fleshed it out. This is the pitch on how he’d handle the project.
3. I reviewed this, paying particular attention to how it was fleshed out and what directions he took parts of it. Overall, I was very pleased with everything and gave him a green light for the full treatment.
4. Butch prepares a full draft and sends it to me. I read through it fully, jazzed about the characters and flavours of OI and start to line edit it when the cavalry comes, an outside editor. I’ve heard of such things in rumour and myth, but they actually exist and Jodi Black is brought on board.
5. I happily hand off the manuscript to Jodi and she edits it and returns it back to me. I scan it briefly, paying particular attention to her notes, and deliberate over what to do next.
6. Butch suggests he go through her edits and ship back a corrected draft to me with his insights, edits, and suggestions. This is the one I get and closely read over.
A brief aside: Parallel to this, I’m dealing with selecting an artist, art directions, and so on, plus working on Agents of Oblivion edits for True20 and hammering away on RunePunk and Iron Dynasty.
7. Reading over this twice edited copy, I begin to tweak, twist, and modify things so they fit into the company vision. Not trying to sound particularly corporate here or even, extensibly, literary, but I believe product lines should have a particular voice unique to each of them or, if not to each of them, at least polished, professional, and complimentary to the company as a whole. This is theoretical, mind you, we’ll see how it works out in practice. ;)
8. After I make my edits, I ship it back to Jodi for her perusal which is where it stands at the particular moment.
A second brief aside: While all this writing and editing is going on, work proceeds apace as final decisions are being made for fonts, layout, and incoming art is reviewed for consistency with the given direction and the feel of the work. So, execution is truly a two part phase. You’ve got the preparation of the disparate parts: the writing and the artwork and then you’ve got the presentation: fonts, layout, and so on.
As Orwell Industries is rapidly reaching the second phase, we may well address those particular issues post-mortem.
In any case, I’d like to show you a bit more of the art as it moves into its final form.
George Thomas Orwell in inky glory!
The finished Orwell illustration.
I hope you enjoyed this week inside Orwell Industries and look forward to the PDF coming soon!
P.S. Come back next time for a sneak peak at the darker side of Orwell Industries!