I’ve been writing tutorials for 3DWorld this year. Vladimir and I are responsible for the Earth segment of that issue. It’s a gig that I’ve lamented about distracting from the work of writing fiction, but I have to admit that I do enjoy doing every part of it.
First we have to design the image, which is a lot of fun. While we’re doing this, we have to take into account what it is possible for us to describe in the space we’ve been given. Working with an editor is cool too. Like directors for a choir or for a play or film, a good editor can get more out of an artist than they’d originally conceived.
Once that is finished (or we’re just working on minor details), I begin writing. It’s a little like writing sonnets, in that I have a there is a set structure that I must follow. I have stages with a certain number of steps in them. Each step has an upper and lower limit of words, and I need to consider how those stages layout on the page. Clarity is very important, plus I have some stylistic concerns I need to stick with. It’s a satisfying challenge.
When I have a decent draft finished, I redo the entire project to capture screen shots of the steps. During this process, I often refine my writing.
After I’m satisfied with everything, I gather up my text, the screen shots, the main image, and any files necessary to the project and send them out. Putting the package together often makes me a little nervous, similar to the feeling I get when we go on a trip. I wonder if there is anything I’ve forgotten, or if I could have done a little better in this or that place. Okay, maybe I don’t enjoy that part of it so much. But too much worrying like that and I wouldn’t make my deadline. So off it goes.