That's all done, now. I'm juggling projects for Paizo, Hasbro, and the New Company.
With four projects underway, I need to have two done by the New Year and hope to generate considerable momentum for the other two. The deadlines are January, January, January, and March-ish. Guess which one gets the most love?
Since I need to make time, I turn up my favorite tunes louder than I should and crank through text. So far, it's 8,000 words this week. I'll need at least that much again by Friday.
As part of the process, I've been revisiting bits of the D&D multiverse from the Planescape days, bits from 1E Fiend Folio, bits from the Book of Roguish Luck, various books from Vile Darkness to character guides. It's all coming together, and the crunchy stat-heavy monster blocks, prestige classes (just 3), and urban campaign mechanics are a quick way to generate a foundation for the harder bits to come. The more complex area descriptions and plot points will have to wait a bit.
But it's odd: Hasbro is asking for something very different than the New Company. Hasbro gave me a concept: "We're thinking about Villain A and Villain B. Maybe a plot like this. What can you do with that?" Well, my first reaction was, "That's been done." And my second reaction was, "I can top that!" I've been drawn into the writing time after time, adding creative flourishes, double-checking stats and references, upgrading prior material, working in fun bits for the fans who have seen prior versions of these bad guys. I'm going all out, and I keep getting drawn back into the project, excited to hit the next chunk of work and make it shine.
By contrast, the NC handed me a 27-page outline (for a project that's not even 30K long!). The entire job is to color between the lines; attempts to inject color or personality are discouraged. Writing this thing is agonizing work, I hate it, and I want it over and done. I will work hard to make it good, but the outline means I can't pursue any interesting tangents. It feels like sprinting in a straightjacket.
The Paizo stuff is somewhere in the middle. I'm working on one query for my own material, and one article that's working in someone else's sandbox. Pleasant breaks from the outline from Hell.
As diversions from all this, I've been reading The Green Man and The Faery Reel (Amazon) anthologies, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. These are terrific collections.