My routine varies depending on what I’m writing or writing for but it boils down to these two approaches.
Work For Hire
- Read the brief. Read it again. Read it a third time.
- Learn the rules. Character creation and combat at the barest minimum. The best way to do this is roll up a couple of dummy characters and have them fight. It will feel a little like you’re a cruel and capricious God. That isn’t true but there are days when you’ll need to feel that way so you know what? Run with it.
- If it’s an adventure, build the clue tree, which we’ll talk about tomorrow, and then begin drafting it out.
- If it’s a sourcebook, try and watch or read the material in easily digestible chunks, pulling the information you want out as you go. I once had to do this by watching Doctor Who: Voyage of the Damned five times which no one else has to do so, you’re welcome.
- Send a draft in for edits. Act on them all when you get them back.
- Send a second draft in.
Always be talking. Jason and I have built After The War along these lines:
- He contacted me about working with him.
- I sent him three ideas.
- He liked one a lot
- Write the thing. Be brave. Leave nothing out. At all. There’s a line in After The War that almost didn’t go in because I thought I was having too much fun (I know, right?). It went, Jason loved it and I can’t wait to see other people’s take on it.
So, all in all, it comes down to this; always be talking. Always be revising. It will feel like you’re never going to get all the dents out. You are. Trust me. The secret to both of these is compartmentalization and communication. Chop your research up into bite sized pieces. Make the work a series of small victories that become one huge one. Always be talking and always act if the people you’re talking to aren’t. Game design is a team sport. Make communication part of your daily routine and the project will fly. And, I promise, there is no feeling better than holding a book you made in your hands once it’s done.
Keep going. You’ve got this.