Some Hunters Hunted 2 Redlines
Good evening, my darlings. I’m hard at work on Hunters Hunted 2 for Vampire: The Masquerade and I wanted to pull back the curtain a bit and show you a draft in development.
This is Black Hat Matt’s Tools and Tactics chapter. It’s a first draft, meaning that Matt has written to a close approximation of his word count, and covered the topics I’ve requested in the outline as well as exploring material that, during his writing, he’s thought critically about and decided is worth discussion. There’s a little extra room for Matt to round out his word count in the final draft, but this says almost everything he anticipates saying.
You’ll notice my markup in the margins, making some grammatical changes and asking a few leading questions that can help fulfill the full 15K word count that has been allocated to the chapter. I may ask for more of some material or I may ask that he pare back on a concept that doesn’t quite fit as well as I’d like.
Some of my changes are minor but significant. Things like word choice go a long way toward making Vampire evoke the gothic-punk flavor you expect, and maintain a consistent feel throughout the line. For example, I change almost every use of the word “day” to “night,” unless the writer is actually talking about the sunlit hours. Vampires don’t “live to see another day,” for example — they’re undead and rise when the sun sets, so that’s the sort of thing I’d change to “survive for another night.” Similarly, unless the word “friend” is literally the best choice, I usually change those, as well. When you’re a deathless corpse returned from the grave to steal the warm blood of the still-living, do you really have any “friends”? Maybe you have allies or contacts or acquaintances or people you know, but “friends” don’t really figure into the Kindred condition.
Other changes are more significant. Sometimes I excise an entire paragraph or subsection if it deviates from the theme, mood, and purpose of the book. Sometimes I ask a writer to take a greater look at an idea to retool it or rewrite it entirely. Sometimes I really like a single reference the writer has made and ask him to spend some of his word count expanding that solitary idea into a more substantial discussion.
It’s also worth noting that this draft is particularly clean. It’s solid conceptually, it’s well written, and it evidences Matt’s many years of experience in not only writing for Vampire but writing for me in particular. You may think, “Wow, that’s a lot of markup,” but you should also note that it’s mostly positive feedback. And, well, it’s actually not a lot of markup. First-time writers for me usually see a lot more red, but that’s to help us both. They improve their craft a bit and I get the draft I want. It’s worth spending the time to build the relationship because, over time, the writer knows what I want, how to format it, and how best to communicate it in a consistent Vampire way. I’m rarely driven to drink more than a fifth or bourbon or gin by the time I’ve worked with a writer three or four times.
Take a peek through the draft here and note not only what Matt says in his manuscript, but what I ask him to polish, remove, or expand. You’ll be able to see firsthand how I do my work.