Redwing’s Gambit Design Essay Round-Up and Reviews

Redwing’s Gambit has been out now for a little while. I just finished the design essay series about this story based on the Bulldogs! RPG, am knee-deep in revisions for the Kickstarter short story, and am reading a portion of the tale at Balticon this weekend. Since I covered quite a bit of the process on my blog, I thought I’d grab those links for you and a few quotes from the reviews.

One reviewer pointed out what so many other fans have told me, that Fang was their favorite character: First of all, it has an ass kicking teddy bear. How do you go wrong with that? I haven’t enjoyed reading about a teddy bear this much since The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse by Robert Rankin. The story is basically a ragtag bunch of space couriers, whose job is to deliver a “package”, which pretty much sums up the Bulldogs game….well, minus all the hijinks that can ensue.

This reviewer figured out what my goal was for the novella and then went on to talk about the characters. “Redwing’s Gambit is a pleasant mix of science fiction action and suspense. Valentinelli deftly weaves her narrative through the corridors of the Haldis. Traditional sci-fi tropes such as the mysterious ship saboteur and disappearing crew members fit well for the story that Valentinelli is telling. As someone who had no previous exposure to Galileo Games Bulldogs setting, the use of these traditional tropes helped to keep me in the story as I built my understanding of the universe.

You can read both of those reviews beneath the>Redwing’s Gambit on listing.

I dove deep into the design essays so you could get a feel for the process. Here’s a list of articles with excerpts for you to check out if you haven’t already:

  • Constructing Redwing’s Gambit: Revisions and Cut Text – Part 4 of 5 – I have about 7 to 10,000 words of cut text that I removed from Redwing’s Gambit during the revisions process. Once I erased Dan Daget’s character, I restructured the flow of the different perspectives and ensured that they read correctly. The biggest reason for the revisions, however, was to reduce any extraneous worldbuilding or plot hooks to keep the pace strong. With this being a novella, that meant minimizing certain aspects and also changing the strength of the relationship between Violet and the security chief to one of hidden, but mutual, feelings for one another. This first bit was altered because the spying robots was less important than Xax or Edna’s kidnapping.
  • Constructing Redwing’s Gambit: Structure and Plot – Part 3 of 5 – After I had an approved story and treatment, I went to work writing the first and second draft. My inclination was not to offer one perspective, but to offer several. A mystery just did not work from an observer’s point-of-view because I had a lot of characters and they’re all not physically located in the same place on the ship. The logistics of having Dan sneak around like a ninja were not only boring — but creepy and Clueish. So, I added in other perspectives straight off the bat. I knew multiple viewpoints (there are three) was outside of how I normally write, but I felt it was necessary for a good story.
  • Constructing Redwing’s Gambit: Characters and Treatment – Part 2 of 5 – The treatment evolved from the original concept for a number of reasons. At the time, I thought the story required one perspective, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. One mystery in a closed environment was “okay,” but it wasn’t enough for the readers to get a feel of what makes Bulldogs! a cool science fiction setting. Initially, my thinking was that an observant character could really dig into and tell a tale, highlighting the different aspects of the alien races and the worlds. Boy, was that ever wrong! While that technique sounds good, it didn’t work when I started writing it because I bored myself going on and on and on…
  • Constructing Redwing’s Gambit: Research and Background Part 1 of 5
  • – The first question I asked myself was not about what story I wanted to write, but how I wanted to present the tale in such a way that felt more like Fate than d20. I had played Spirit of the Century and I also participated in a game run by Ryan Macklin, too. In my mind, Fate really emphasizes and focuses on relationships or the ties that connect and bind the characters to one another.

Monica Valentinelli is an author, artist, and narrative designer who writes about magic, mystery, and mayhem. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore near you.

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