Monday, March 12, 2007

how roleplay writing can make you mad (for a bit)

Sometimes a project can infiltrate your mind in strange and subtle ways. Like a warp beast feasting on your psychic juices, ideas can take hold, and become very difficult to shift.

Take for example our formatting jargon. When you’re making a book like Dark Heresy, you have to use a standardised code to indicate formatting stuff like boxed text, side bars, headers, that sort of thing. We use a sort of HTML type short hand that allows the layout guys to know when we want a big, bold header, or just a little italic by line.

Of course, when you use a code, you have to use it consistently. And naturally, when folks are writing, creative, intricate or exciting stuff, the last thing on their minds is whether they’ve used an EN dash or and EM dash. So, once all the fun writing part is done, some one has to go through and make sure that the right formatting has been used, and the right type of code expressed in the text. And boy, that’s a fun job.

Obviously, we encourage our writers to learn and use the proper format as much as possible- but this can have some odd repercussions. For example, if we’re having a design chat, and something comes up that’s not immediately relevant we found ourselves saying “oh, sidebar that” or “needs more brutal- but that’s a sidebar”

Even worse are the air brackets.

Recently we were spotted by our BL colleagues in Bugman’s Bar ranting about daemon pacts and making duck-bill gestures with our hands. Apparently it was scary viewing. In fact, we’ve been getting carried away with the different stages this section would need- and unconsciously signing the ‘<’ and ‘>’ brackets that surround the header notations.

Sometimes you need normal folk to remind you that “bracket header one bracket capital pact of capital vengeance return start italic quote mark their destruction will be mine exclamation quote mark end italic return” is not a sentence used by sane people.

But, the way we see it, you have to go a little bit bonkers to make something great. After all, more 40k madness can only be a good thing. Even if it is making us into punctuation fanatics (ellipsis)


(end of post)


Anonymous Dan said...

Yeah, tell me about it. I normally set aside a day or two after everything is written, just to go through the formatting.

10:50 am  
Blogger Martindale said...

True story, my friend. The bane of activity.

10:54 pm  

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