A quick follow-up for those that are interested. Last week’s DW session went quite okay. In the end I decided not to use any Mind Control monster moves (but I may still do in the future!), opting instead to introduce a physical mind control object that the players could interact with in a more direct fashion (destroy it, take it out of range, use it for their own purposes, etc.) rather than through NPC interaction. Easier for them, easier for me, and it fit in quite well with the already established fiction of bio-mechanomagical engineering lizard priests. 🙂
Despite that concession to making things less difficult for myself, I’m growing increasingly more comfortable with the improvisational “react to or come up with stuff on the fly” aspects of DW, and hence with the idea of worrying a lot less about (lack of) plot-based prep. I’m also getting a lot better at pacing the session in general, and using GM moves to nudge players a little bit towards gameplay that is more fun for them (“offer an opportunity” is so useful!).
I have also started using two resources that I think are not very well known, but may be useful to others as well:
http://robotacid.com/games/dw-improv/ is a version of the DW reference documentation (and more) that has almost zero look-up time or context switching (i.e. no scrolling or page-turning). Sounds trivial, but that really makes a big difference for me.
The other idea is one I got off a Reddit thread (https://www.reddit.com/r/DungeonWorld/comments/3v25kn/keeping_track_of_monsters_npcs_cities_items/cxkxj8c), offering a similar benefit: I now maintain all my objects/places/things/NPC/monster information on a single Trello board. No more scrolling — just one-click access to crucial information on an editable index card. Joy.