I’m not much of an editor in real life. In fact, I would argue that in any sort of writing class I’ve been in, I’ve lost more points on silly grammatical errors than any other way to lose points. I think I started to attack this article from the wrong direction thinking of it as the editing and development article. While I’m sure some editing happens with developers, that isn’t their primary job. In my opinion, their job is to typically present their vision of a product (with insight from others on their team) to a freelance writer. Almost always, one of the jobs of the developer is to ensure there is a consistency of ‘voice’. Especially in products with multiple authors this is important. In an adventure path or organized played adventure the developer ensures that a single installment furthers the overarching narrative that is being told. Developers are also the ones that are the first enforcers of word count.
That is in fact something I plan on tackling in today’s installment. I am going to go back to Quest #1 and cut it down to size! When I wrote it, I did not count the enemy stat blocks into my word count, which ended up bringing the total size to around 3700 words! I had learned from Ron Lundeen’s blog that those stat blocks are included. What does that mean for me? Well, it means that I should probably cut at least 1100-1200 words from the quest!
Counting the Words
To do this, the first thing I’m going to do is analyze each section of the quest to see how many words are in each sections:
- Pre-Summary: 449 words
- This section carries a lot of weight for the setup of the entire quest line, I’m not sure I’ll be able to make any substantial cuts here, unless I might “move” parts of it to other quests.
- Summary: 176 words
- I’m not sure if this can get much shorts, but we’ll see!
- Getting Started: 607 words
- There might be some spots here that I was exceptionally wordy so I will do my best to tighten this section up
- Getting to Thurinag: 132 words
- While I might not be able to get many words out of it, I may be able to shorten the second paragraph here.
- Council Meeting: 898 words
- This has a lot of little subsections that could be worked on, in particular the Development subsection feels wordy to me.
- Quest Conclusion: 79 words
- This is an appropriate length and I might just refine this paragraph some.
- Handouts:263 words
- I’ll be checking this section out to ensure its conveying what I’d like
- Appendix 1: 540 words
- This is the low-tier stat-blocks so this is the first time the abilities are seen, so it will be hard to cut here
- Appendix 2: 536 words
- I’m not sure if organized play does this, but Adventure Paths and Alien Archives routinely refer to the same ability presented in a different stat block on a different page. I may be able to save some word count by doing that, particularly with the abilities of the Raktavarna Rakshasa’s abilities.
As with all steps in this creative process, I’m learning that it takes not just skill, but patience and time to really go through each of these steps. If there is one I know, my appreciation for my gaming material has only increased!
I’m not sure how I’ll be able to present some of the handwritten notes that Ryan particularly appreciates in my series. I’m thinking that I’ll print out the entire quest and give the quest a thorough reading, and marking it up as I go along. From those page’s I’ll probably pull the most marked up page or two and show it to you all.
I’m likely not going to do this for all of the quests, for the simple fact that I want to keep things interesting and I’m not sure reading me develop these quests will be all that interesting. If there is anything you’d like to see me attempt to create, don’t hesitate to reach out to me on our Discord!