Monday, October 13, 2008

Ultra! To The Max! Redlines!

Redlines, as it turns out, are what they call the edits a roleplaying game freelancer gets back from the developer after sending in the first draft. The term refers to both the whole edited document and to the individual requests (ie. "I got my redlines back from the developers!" and "I don't really agree with this redline, but what can I do?"). The full process (with White Wolf, the only company I've worked for so far) works something like this:
  1. Freelancers receive an outline put together by the line developers.
  2. Freelancers produce first drafts and send them back to the developer.
  3. Developer responds with redlines.
  4. Freelancers produce final drafts and send them back to the developer.
  5. Freelancers get paid.
  6. Book gets published.
I was expecting to have a hard time handling direct, professional criticism about my work. This is, after all, the first time I have ever sent something out and had it critiqued by a professional. To my surprise, it was very easy. To pat myself on the back, I think my first draft was very good, and none of the redlines were very serious. They mostly consisted of things like "this word is a bit silly, use a different one" or "change the name of this thing, it is accidentally derivative of a popular movie franchise" or "this needs to change, as it contradicts something happening elsewhere in the game," all delivered in a friendly and compassionate tone. I don't feel coddled, but I do feel respected; the redlines were from competent, professional writer who wrote like he was writing to a competent, professional writer.

It's actually really, really awesome. Look at me, I'm a competent, professional writer! Another competent, professional writer thinks so! He implied it right here, in his redlines! It's going to be a long, long time before that gets old.

It's a good thing that I don't mind any of my redlines, because redlines are something you don't argue with. Extremely nice developers (like my boss) will tolerate a brief conversation about why the first draft was the way it was, and maybe change their mind about one of their requested edits. Simply refusing to change something, however, is a good way to not get a second contract.

So, for the next two weeks I am going to seriously relax my writing goal of 1k new words per day, since I will be focusing my time, attention, and creative energy on producing my final draft for White Wolf. My goal is actually to finish early, since I have this persistent fantasy of finishing this contract in time to get contracted to work on Geist. Burning Zeppelin Experience will continue, uninterrupted, however. I know how fickle your internet hearts are, and I don't dare risk losing the audience I already have.

I have no idea if working Geist is a realistic hope, but a guy can dream. For all I know, all the parts have been handed out already, or only more experienced freelancers get to work on corebooks. Actually, I'm pretty sure the latter isn't true, but the point is there's more I don't know than that I do know.

And you can count on a post to let you know how it turns out.

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