Resolutions, Revisions, Realms of Cthulhu, and RunePunk
Lately, it seems I’m talking about what I’m doing more than offering much advice, but I hope you bear with me. It’s just that I’m wrapped up with getting the final pieces of various things done, so it’s more on my mind than the esoteric and philosophic matters of the design process (which I do dig, but the time is to make things real is upon us). To that end, I’m proud to say we’ve unleashed the beast with Mythos Tales #1 today, and it’s gotten a good reception for a Tuesday. I hope you pick it up. It’s written very much in the REH vein, and is perfect for a few evenings of 1890’s Heroic Horror, but trust me when I tell you it can be pretty nasty.
I’m also working on some other things, such as laying out the next Jobber’s Tale (after a long hiatus) for RunePunk, and so I’ll use this as an opportunity to segue into today’s topic–tighten your prose.
I’m not just talking to my guys (who do need to tighten up), but all of you out there. When you’ve written something, go back and tighten it up. You can do it. Cut extraneous words. You know they’re extraneous. We don’t want to hear about what some NPC’s dead wife did five years ago. While it’s perfectly fine for a novel, if it doesn’t serve to drive the story forward in some way (and it may, but you have to make it a big factor), there’s no point in wasting words on to an NPC to such an extent.
And editors. Be brutal. Cut. Eviscerate. Make the page bleed. I’ve said this before and I expect it when I’m the receiving end, and I dish it out when I’m doing the edits myself. Make it better. Don’t worry about the writer’s feelings. It’s far, far better a writer is called out by a crack editorial staff than for it to get to print or pixels in such a fashion. I won’t say I’ll be gleeful to get a bloody manuscript on my desk. Heck, we all want our prose to be perfect the first time out, but the only way you’re going to hit such a lofty goal is to slow your writing down to a crawl. Believe me. I used to be that kind of writer. I wanted each stone mined to be polished to perfection as I went before digging into the dirt for the next one. While I wrote some solid stuff, I also lost the impetus of the work on occasion or a potentially interesting thread. I shan’t bore with the esoterica I fed myself (but it has something to do with the artistic filters, etc.), but let it be known, if I’ve got something to say, I write it down and come back later and tighten it up.
Getting the words down is good, but I don’t want to see a first draft cross my desk which doesn’t show the writer has made an editorial pass before turning it in. I think what I saw today was a ghost from the past before we hardened up and I got the guys to follow my philosophy of less is more. We’ll see.
Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!