I’m going to work with British Goblins in much the same way I would if I were writing a brief piece for an Ars book, or for the Sub Rosa fanzine. I’m not saying all of the authors work this way: I know that most of the ones I’ve collaborated with have different techniques.
The first step is to mine the text for useful material. While mining, I just make a brief note of each proper noun or concept which suits what I’m trying to do, and a page reference number so that if I forget what a note means, I can check it.
I then cluster the notes by type. Usually I just mark on the page if they are a creature/person, a location, a story or story element, or a piece of colour. Colour items are those that I want to put in because they make the text more lively, but that don’t directly relate to the text’s role as a game manual. Don’t underestimate the importance of colour: it can be upgraded to a story hook by later data, and it is a big parto f what makes the game world different from our world.
A newer technique I’ve used for one book is to then put all of the sites and other geographically classifiable materials onto a Google Map. There are two points to this: the first is that it makes mapping easier for an artist. The second is it allows you to notice that the Dragon Faerie Sorceress Queen happens to live in the next valley to the Rampaging Host of Crusaders, which lets you bang the rocks together.
After I finish mining one book, the usual task is to then mine other books until I have sufficient material to meet the length and element balance that suits what I’m doing. By element balance, I mean that some books have more creatures, some have more minigames, some have more background material, and so on. In this case I’m unlikely to do that – it’s a one book deal.
Now that I’m using graphics, I’ll also likely intergrate local folklore, and Hermetic sites mentioned as being nearby in Heirs to Merlin.
For timescale on this project, it’s about sixth on my list of priorities
- Real life
- Paid writing
- Librivoxing the bio of Lord Cochrane
- Librivoxing some Egyptological material
- Librivoxing the Jerildere Letter by the end of the month
So, it may not be a post a week. Still, we’ll see how it goes.