Since I do my editing from multiple computers, I keep my Degrees of Horror files stored on the cloud so that I can access them from wherever I happen to be. I’ve developed my own versioning system so that if I delete a line or paragraph that I later want to restore I have the option of going back to an earlier file. With 25 gigs of online storage, keeping multiple versions of a MS Word document isn’t really a big deal. The plot points are in chapter 10 (for now, anyway), so the naming convention is Chapter 10 – Edit ppXy, where “X” is the plot point number and “y” is a version. For instance, for plot point 5 I have three files– Chapter 10 – Edit pp5a, Chapter 10 Edit pp5b, and Chapter 10 Edit pp5c. There’s no hard and fast rule for when I add an increment, but usually it’s after I’ve made noteable progress. Most of the plot points have gotten as far as C or D before I finish it and move on to the next one.

I explain all of this so that you understand what I mean when I say plot point 9 got up to version “i”.

This one was deceptively hard to write. In fact, I began version A exactly one month ago.┬áIt was a completely new plot point, but I started with the benefit of a pretty decent outline. The problem was two-fold. First, I was afraid that it would be too linear, or easy. The second was that this plot point is a mini-mystery, and it’s really hard to create a mystery and seed all the clues in 1,500 words. In fact, I didn’t even come close to keeping it under my word count. Here are the numbers:

Plot Points Completed: 9 of 12
Pages: 39 of 46
PP word count: 2,480 of 24,678

You’ll see it’s just a hair under 2,500 words. I have a whole new level of respect for writers of mystery short fiction. Nothing is harder than brevity…as you can often tell from the length of my Class Notes.

Anyhow, this adventure went through a LOT of iterations. At one point I had a false trail that ended in a boobytrap (which in retrospect was too deadly), and for a long time the antagonist had a crippling disease that required frequent medication. In the end I had to rethink the path of the adventure and simplify the antagonist for the sake of space, and it still ran long!

All of that being said, I think the final version is pretty cool. One of the great things about writing about Pinebox for so long is that we’ve really created a depth to the setting. On the flipside, as a reader I love being rewarded for being a fan of a series by seeing how a later book ties in to plots seeded way earlier in the series. I think fans of Pinebox will enjoy seeing old characters, places, or plots referenced throughout the plot points. You won’t be at a disadvantage if you’ve never played a Pinebox adventure before, but hopefully if you have then you’ll enjoy some “Oh, wow!” moments as you make the connections. They say writing is a process of discovery, and I had my own “Oh, wow” moment when I discovered some of those connections myself.

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