Word Murder: Edit Until Your Keyboard Runs Red
When one dusts off a manuscript one hasn’t touched directly for a number of years, there are oddities associated with it. You may approach it with the friendliness of a long-lost love—nice but not to familiar–and with a certain air of anticipation mixed with dread. It’s also entirely different from something you already have out there.
While printed form is inflexible, a manuscript is still a pool of possibility. You owe it to yourself and to your audience to make it the best you can. You may moan and groan at the clumsiness of your writing–an awkward phrase here and there–a dangling participle used for no good effect (and attributable only to gross laziness on your part). This is, in part, while I refer to all the working copies of documents as Rough & Ugly Guides. They are a far cry from being done. The information is there, but it sometimes is a dead lump of clay needed to be given order and life.
Agents of Oblivion got the treatment this week. I excised puny paragraphs until my keyboard ran red with blood. I committed word murder. Passages I had held onto for sentimental reasons–some of them were included in the True20 Setting version–were slain. Those words had been written over five years ago when I was far newer in the profession. I had the opportunity to give voice and proper form to the ideas bouncing around then. I wasn’t daunted. No, indeed. I reveled in the opportunity to get it right. And I did get it right. There is a much stronger introduction. It sparkles like fine crystal with its clarity. Simplification was added as I was able. Sacrifices were made on the altar of playability, but I shall stop before I go too far afield.
This is the last major pass on AoO. This I vow. It’s had many ups and downs over its developmental cycle and there are stories to be associated with the process and I may tell them, once it is out there living in the world. The Beta Version of AoO has been up for quite some time, but I am certain these revisions are only going to make those who love playing in this genre much happier. The rules set is tautly constructed and sings. There are many secrets to be shared in the Director’s Section of the work. You wait because we care. It takes some time to get things right. This is just one of those things.
Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!