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Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Last Editor

This is Steven Petrick posting.

SVC is moving towards the completion of the Federation Command tactics manual. Part of this involves having me run a more or less final proofread of the book as each chapter is finished.

As with any discussion of tactics, sometimes reading other people's concepts will trigger a thought and take you to something that is new, at least to you. I might soon be posting a Command Note of my own provided I do not find the idea has already been published. I cannot recall ever seeing it before, but I also regard it as quite obvious.

Also, sometimes you find a rules interpretation that is buried in someone's tactics that does not seem right. So reading the tactics manual draft has led me to perusing the rules for Federation Commander to confirm things. In at least one case to the issuing of a rules clarification in the near future.

As the various articles making up the tactics manual have been read and reread and edited multiple times, it should come as no surprise that I do not find a lot as I read them. It should also not come as a surprise that being the last and freshest set of eyes to read them I have found a few items (in at least one case I caught a sentence worded such that it completely contradicted the point being made). Editing your own prose is always difficult because you tend to see the words you "know" should be there, even when they are not. It is always easier for someone else to hit the places where, for example, a given word is used twice (an example, a case where "the the" was in a sentence). Sometimes a word is used twice in a sentence, but not side by side, it would be correct in either place (better in one than the other) but should not appear twice.

But if you have read the document over and over again, sometimes the error you just caught keeps you from noticing the next error, which might even be in the same sentence. And editing for content can often get you so focused on the content that you actually miss the content (sort of failing to see the forest for the trees). Sort of a like a reference to all ships of a given empire having phaser-1s, when it is not true (some smaller ships of that empire have no phaser-1s). Thus while the empire does use phaser-1s, it would be factually incorrect to say all ships of that empire use them.

The project is nearing completion. I have a few more chapters to read and will do my best as the final editing backstop. The result over all I will hope will be a noble accomplishment for the players of Federation Commander.