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Subject: Looking to start doing some technical writing rss

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Alen Thacks

Lawrence
Kansas
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Hello all, I've been playing games and reading rule-sets for several years and I see that the presentation of rules in games makes a large difference in whether a game can be understood on the first play and whether a group will enjoy a game when learning it from the rules. After experience with many different rules presentations, I can say that some are definitely better than others, and that the mark of a well-understood rule-set is good writing. A good rules presentation can make a group understand the game and some nuance of play, while poor writing leads to confusion, frustration, and bad impressions.

To this end, I am interested in doing for-contract technical writing of rule-sets. What I would do is to take the rules as created by the designer(s), developer(s), publishers and edit and re-draft them into a comprehensive and cohesive rule set.

But, my stumbling block here is that I've not done this before. To be sure, I have a Juris Doctor and a Masters of Library Science, so I have some good foundations in rules drafting and information organization. Does anyone else do this type of work? Are designers, developers, and publishers interested in having their rule-sets looked over by an experienced person with knowledge of how information should be presented? Are non-English publishers interested in having someone edit and re-draft the English rule-sets to be understandable by English speakers?

Let me know; this is a trial balloon on something I have thought about doing for a very long time, but I am interested in hearing feedback.
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Mike L.
United States
West Virginia
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The biggest problem with this kind of work from a designer's stand point is that we don't need it until we have finalized all of a game's mechanics. Otherwise we would be paying you to rewrite the rulebook every time we make a change before finalization. Then the game designer has to coordinate extremely well with you such that you can understand all of the rules and you are not accidentally changing any of the rules with your rewrite. And sadly this is often not worth our time.

Which means you would most likely be there to edit grammar and maybe to suggest organizational changes, which the designer would then have to double check and make sure your writing doesn't interfere with any of the rules. It's tricky, but I would say if you want to do this you need to be close to the game designer, be a playtester and understand the game you are writing for very well so you can do a decent a job.
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Todd Walden
United States
Minneapolis
MN
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This just came up in another thread in this forum a couple of days ago.

I do quite a bit of this work, and there's plenty of it to do, but no money in it. If you want to do it for fun, keep your eye on this forum. There's another thread right now asking for proofreading help.

However, if you want to do it for money, prepare to be disappointed.
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