25 July 2006

Of Milestones and Millstones

One thing I didn't know about before I started landing writing gigs was the "milestone." In basic parlance, a milestone is a deadline of sorts, before the actual deadline. It's a chance for the folks you're writing for to review your work, make comments, and suggest changes. It also gives them an idea of how far along you are, and whether or not you're on track.

I've got a milestone due on 8/1. I'm not real worried about it, since the final deadline for the project is over two months out. Still, it's a little bit nervewracking. I want to be sure I have a good start, and I want to impress them with what I've got done so far.

So that's that. I've got quite a bit of work to do between now and then, but I've also got a much better idea of what I'm doing now.

Oh, and then there's Gen Con: the best four days in gaming, which will stretch out into six days of getting next to nothing done. Sure, I could resign myself to staying in my hotel room, putting my nose to the grindstone and generating words while my friends, peers, and colleagues venture out into the Indianapolis nightlife, eating and drinking and hanging out.

But to heck with that. If I'm paying for an airline ticket, you better believe that I'm going to try to enjoy myself between the time my plane lands and the time my return flight takes off. It's only fair.

Given that, I'm trying to decide if I should bother taking my laptop with me. On one hand, it's nice to think that I'll find a nice (free) hotspot somewhere over there, but odds are, I won't. I tried last year, and found nothing. I ended up lugging the computer around like a notebook-shaped cross. It's just another piece of carry-on luggage that I'd just as soon not worry about having with me.

From that, it sounds like I've made up my mind already.

As it is, I'll be lugging around a pile of books: my PH, DMG, and TW Player's Manual, for starters. Not to mention the game folder, which will contain the scenario notes, multiple copies of the PC character sheets, etc. My little battle mat, too, along with a handful of miniatures.

Speaking of the minis, I'd originally wanted to pick up some decent figs and paint them up, at least to represent the PCs. I even went so far as to pick them out, but I never did buy them. I don't really have the time to paint them, anyway, at least not to my normal standards. Given that I'm also out of practice (I don't think I've put paint to pewter in, gods...two years?), it would take that much longer to get a suitable paint job done. As much as it might embellish the game, I'm going to have to stick with a handful of pre-painted plastic D&D minis, like I did at SoCal last year. It's a shame.

I'll also need to keep some room open for the inevitable purchases I will be making. How much will I budget? I have no idea. I guess that depends largely on how many paychecks I get between now and August 8th. With luck, I'll be paid for some of my recent releases, which will allow me to go nuts, relatively speaking. Last year, I don't think I bought a single book. I relied on the generosity of others and begged for comp copies.

I've got no idea what, if anything, I'd like to pick up. Probably some of the Black Industries stuff I've been missing (business expenses, don't you know); new releases for the WFRP line, since it's one of the only games I'm keeping up with these days.

So, yeah. GenCon. Soon. The time has passed so quickly, my head is practically spinning. Ah, the joys of impending air travel!

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