So, I really have to stop agonizing over my work and just *do* it. A lot of good advice has been given by a lot of writers who say that writers write. They don't think about writing, they don't talk about writing. They write. That's what makes them writers.
This could definitely apply to module writing as well. I was so nervous about doing my first adventure in 4e that I agonized over it. I spent more time worrying over the module than I actually spent writing it. This, my friends, is not intelligent behavior.
So now that I have a draft in to my editor, I have some thoughts about writing for 4e:
1) Building encounters is easy. Seriously. I used some pre-built encounter groups that seemed appropriate, but substituting one creature for another is not hard. There are nifty charts in the back to help you out, and the DMG has pretty easy recommendations for putting things together.
2) Putting together an encounter requires three books. Or, at least, it did for me. I wanted to add conditions to some things, or talk about surprise rounds--the rules for which are in the PHB. Monsters are, of course, in the Monsters Manual. The DMG puts it all together. Add having a tab open in my browser for the updates, and that's four resources to keep track of, along with my outline. Once I have more of this stuff memorized, I'm sure that won't be an issue. I knew a lot of stuff for 3.5 that I didn't have to look up, and I'm still learning how to do the same in 4e.
3) Less is more. That seems to be the 4e philosophy, which in some ways I really like. In other ways, it meant that I had to change my entire way of thinking about module writing. I'm used to providing tons of details, trying to anticipate every player reaction. This, of course, is impossible. So 4e really frees you up to *not* do that kind of thing. On the other hand, it means being verbose no longer works. Strunk and White might be pleased, but I found it a challenge. When it comes back from my editor, we'll see if I still over-wrote.
4) Skill challenges are harder to write than they are to design, or to run. If the point is player creativity, there isn't much that I, as a writer, feel like I can bring to the DM except for talking points to get them through guiding their players. My editor may have some brilliant suggestions on how to improve that--and there are a couple of ways to handle skill challenges that I didn't explore. So we'll see.
5) Making new stuff is easy, assuming I did it right. Since templates are consistent throughout, if you want a new poison or trap or item (not saying what I made, since that would be a spoiler), you can just do it. It's not labor intensive.
6) Leveling up creatures is also not labor intensive. Nor is downgrading them. I was nervous about doing this and put it off. It took me all of two minutes to change the stats on one creature. Gone are the days of that 3.5 nightmare level of work!
So, all in all, I think it went pretty well. (I mean, I can say that now that I've wrapped it up, and since I turned it in to my editor technically on the day of the deadline. I've got to send a shout out to the folks at Margaret Weis Productions on this one--because they're in Central Time Zone, which gave me a whole extra *hour* on my deadline day to get my Serenity
adventure turned in. This is not a particularly good habit of mine, either.)
I'm looking forward to running a playtest, and I'm very much looking forward to getting my editor's comments back. In the meantime, though, I should have an assignment rolling in, and I've got jonowrimo
starting today, so there will be more fiction to do. I also, to my delight, had a proposal accepted by Hog River Journal,
(thanks to Mish for her help on the abstract!) so I'll be working on an article for them as well. It's my first nonfiction history article, and I'm really excited to get started on it.
But now it's late, and while writers need to write... sleeping also comes highly recommended.
My Swordhand Is Singing, by Marcus Sedgewick
Barnes and Noble
| ||Writing "Head above Water," and adventure for LFR, Cormyr (by page count, roughly)