The Devil is in the Details
Still crushed beneath the tyrant heel of the time change, I am particularly tired. I’ve sorted out a goodly number of details for releases for the upcoming year, so I’ll be facing the challenge of getting everyone on the same page, and meeting these goals.
I’m not feeling particular energetic at the moment, and I’m hoping to write this before I catch this week’s Boardwalk Empires, so let’s get to it.
Over the past few days, we have been talking about “the process” in varying levels of detail. Now, we’re going to begin exploring a topic raised by Eh Guy, on our Facebook page. He wants to know: “How to keep on chugging through the end of a project after all the “fun” creative stuff is done and it’s just the mopping up of details left. ”
Different projects present different challenges. While writing can be a solitary business and rules require a lot of back and forth, I am lucky to have a strong team which shares the responsibilities of editing, proofing, and playtesting. We keep each other honest, and filling in the details is both exciting and exacting as we know this is our last chance to give the project a close examination before it goes out the door. I thoroughly enjoy cooking so let’s look at this particular stage of the process as making sure nothing is boiling over and tweaking the seasoning just right, as you get ready to plate your meal. It’s too late at this point to take away a mechanic–such as a marinade– that your work has been soaking in. It’s baked in. You can only hope to make little adjustments to the flavors, and keep your fingers crossed that you have balanced all the ingredients properly. I make it a point to get a lot of eyes on it towards the end- different members focus on different elements- just like you get in a kitchen. We don’t want anyone to be unhappy with their meals, and we strive to improve each and every day.
In the words of Michelangelo–you know that artsy guy who did a lot stuff a long time ago? “Trifles make perfection, but perfection is no trifle.”
Remember these words. Tattoo them backwards on your forehead so you can read them every time you look at yourself in a mirror. Or if you’re not so much for ink, put it on a Post-It (which is probably a better idea as it’s far less permanent and cheaper). While it’s wonderful to have good mechanics, and a clever plot is just that, it’s really important to have all the little details just so, as the cumulative effect of a lot of things spot on is the entire project is elevated as a result. Was it necessary to find common first names for the 20s or regional surnames of folks around Charleston? Nope. Is it a detail some folks will appreciate in Echo of Dead Leaves? Absolutely. Those are the kind of things I appreciate. Will most folks be aware the cover of Realms of Cthulhu went through over thirty iterations before it was spot on? Not if they don’t read this. We have developed a reputation for attention to detail, because we don’t rush things. We let them age like bourbon in wooden casks, not releasing them until they are smooth and potent.
With the topic neatly (and succinctly) addressed , I bid you adieu!
Note: I am certain this topic warrants continued exploration in the future, and I invite you all to visit our FACEBOOK page and hit me with any questions regarding gaming and/or writing, and you may see me answering your questions some day.