Talk about exciting stuff! This is my first year taking up the NaNo writing challenge and I’m keen to make sure I start out the right way and not churn out 50,000 words of junk. No doubt some will be sheer dross but hopefully there will be some gems to salvage.
The photo to the left shows my first story ideas I jotted down about a month ago. Usually I have no problem cranking out stories, I thrive on short fiction but I have a problem when it comes to longer pieces. Well, maybe not a problem, more of a stamina issue. I start out well, my brain swimming with ideas, plot twists, characters and so on but I tend to lose interest midway through.
I have 2 cracking novels half complete, really cool plots and characters too, but I hit a wall at 50,000 words. The scale of the plot suddenly felt so large I had trouble keeping up the momentum.
Although, having said that I ploughed through my novel, The Range, without a single wall in sight. Not only that but I recently started on a sequel. I guess the subject matter was more appealing and that spark went off and I knew this was the right story for me.
Short and sweet.
When I heard about NaNo I wanted to make sure that spark didn’t fade away after the initial burst. When writing short fiction I start with one line or take inspiration from a photo, like with Indigo Spider’s Sunday Picture Press. I just start writing and see where it goes. I don’t set myself a target. I know it will be short – a few thousand words, so I’m not thinking too far ahead.
By writing short in short bursts it feels easy to finish a story. Maybe that’s why I enjoy writing Arcane Insane, because each one is a short self-contained piece that I write straight into WordPress instead of MS Word.
I figured I’d apply the same principle to my NaNo story, break it down into bite sized chunks. Chapters that if taken away from the whole would be a story on their own. I scribbled lots of plots in my notepad, mostly junk I admit, but a few had the glimmer of a spark waiting to ignite.
I narrowed the list further, filtering out the crap until I had a short list of story ideas. I was tempted to take one of my short stories and turn it into a bigger piece but it felt like cheating and I wanted to start with something fresh. I also had an idea for a story about killer bunny rabbits. Not my finest moment as a writer.
Every morning on the way to work I’d mull over my list, but something didn’t feel right. I wasn’t unhappy with the list as such, just not excited. One morning I was walking across the misty car park to work, cold, shivering and looking back at my toasty warm car with longing.
My phone beeped when an email landed in my inbox. Outside the entrance I checked my emails. Blizzard had sent me an offer of 7 days free play on World of Warcraft. Ahh, how nice. I haven’t played for about 9 months, they must miss me.
If you’ve ever read any of my very first posts you’ll see that I was once a huge World of Warcraft player. Call me a nerd, I beg you, it makes me feel cool. Geek will do just fine too. I played WoW for 4 years and loved every moment of it. There are many reasons why I quit but I still have a soft spot for the game that gave me so much entertainment and laughter.
I often reminisce with friends about those early days when we started playing, not having a clue what we were doing except that it was amazing fun. It felt like we had discovered this unknown world and I guess that’s kind of true.
That was when the inspiration fairy tapped me on the shoulder and whispered in my ear: “Write what you know, babe. The adventure awaits.” The list was dead and buried. I knew what I was going to write for NaNo. World of Warcraft.
Doesn’t that sound interesting? I’m willing to bet that unless you’re a big fan you’re either looking puzzled or shaking your head. No worries, dear blog reader, just because 12 million people dip into a make-believe online world doesn’t mean you have to.
This won’t be a standard World of Warcraft story. I’ve read a couple of books about the game characters and rich history. Seriously. You may think Tolkien had a good thing with his Elvish and runes and deep history but he’s got nothing on the lore of Azeroth. But my story won’t be about sneaky goblins, dirty orcs, epic tales set in a fantastic land of adventure and all the gold you can eat.
Okay, that’s a lie. There will be magic, heroes, elves (Night Elves to be precise) and mystical beasts roaming the ancient woodlands. But that isn’t what my story is about. My story has a twist. It’s about the game itself. About a player who gets caught up in something that stretches far beyond what he expected when he installed it on his PC.
There are plenty of stories about virtual worlds, Tron springs to mind, but my idea is to approach the concept of virtual worlds from a different angle, and no, not like the Matrix. Or Inception. I don’t want to give too much away but think of worlds only accessible through other worlds, and what if those worlds could leak into one another? What if they could infect one another?
You might think this isn’t a new concept and you’re probably right, there are plenty of stories and movies with similar themes, but not World of Warcraft ones. Not yet anyway. The latest news about that particular movie is, well, nothing. Pre-pre-pre-production. Don’t hold your breath.
Recapturing my blogging passion.
When I started my blog I wrote about things that interested me, what irked me, my hobbies, family, friends etc. As I got back into writing I loved posting my stories and writing tips and stopped writing articles about all the other fun stuff around me. That’s not actually a bad thing because I love writing. But there are plenty of blogs around about writing, too many in my opinion.
In December 2010 I created a World of Warcraft Monopoly board and posted it on my blog, I enjoyed the design process so much I created Deed Cards, Chance and Community Chest cards and even Warcraft money. Those posts still rank in my top 5 most searched for categories. If you search Google for World of Warcraft Monopoly you’ll find my board number 1 in the images results and 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the web results.
In fact that design and post has even been shared on WoWWikki – a very large World of Warcraft Wikipedia site!
I read amazing blogs every day, people who write about their lives and their passions. Take Redneck Princess for example. Awesome blog. I can’t stress enough how you need to pay her a visit. She has an amazing wit and sharp mind when it comes to observing her world. Or Piglet in Portugal as another example of someone who blogs with enthusiasm about her life in Portugal.
And Merry Farmer who writes about historical romance and women’s sci-fi, her articles are always interesting. I recently learnt why the 14th century sucked. Entertaining and informative to say the least. Check her out, you won’t regret it.
I want my own Viking long-boat.
Kristen Lamb, social media guru, wrote that folk come to your blog to read what you have to say, because they like your style and your voice. If you happen to be a writer it doesn’t mean you only have to write about writing. Write about the awesome strawberry tart you’ve cooked or how you built your own Viking long-boat if that’s what you do in your spare time or work.
How cool would that job be?
Hi, I build Viking long boats for a living, what do you do?
I’m an accountant.
[Long awkward silence.]
So, can I see your long-boat?
Type WoW or World of Warcraft into a search engine. Endless results right? So me blogging about WoW isn’t exactly new.
But it’s what I know.
And I used to love it.
So I want to share that passion with you, dear blog reader, because I know I can make it entertaining. I don’t care for all the nerdy junk, quest forums, nerdy statistics, how many days people have played without leaving their armchair, what someone’s new epic armour is enchanted with. That’s dull, dull, dull.
Just like the good old days!
Last night I logged in to my WoW account, got my 7 free days of game time, downloaded all the updates and fired it up. The loading screen appeared and the music started…oh the epic full symphony orchestral music was heaven to my ears. You ever watched Lord of the Rings? Ever paid much attention to the music? Me neither, well, sometimes, but when the music is good you shouldn’t notice it.
WoW backing music is like that. It lends itself so perfectly to the game. But last night the music alone brought all those good times back to me. The adventures I had with friends, the hours I spent laughing until tears ran down my face because of the amazingly funny chats I’ve had with people. Online gaming isn’t just played by pale, spotty overweight, socially inept idiots. Okay, some are like that but there are also some very normal folk who prefer to socialize with online elves and orcs than watch TV for hours.
Check these people out and then tell me you’d expect them to be World of Warcraft nerdlings.
- Swedish tug boat captain. Lives in the wilderness in a wooden lodge. Goes hunting.
- An actor who earns a living with bit parts on TV.
- A professional base ball player in the US. Highly paid. Successful.
- A graphic designer who travels the world.
- A mother of 2. Loves football. Works hard.
I could go on. These are some of the people I’ve met playing WoW. Not one of them slots into that sweaty geek-in-the-dark box. Now I admit I have a geeky side, or I used to. I don’t let it out much these days. I’m good with PC’s and software. I play video games too when I have time. But I’m a normal person. Honest. I have a job, play with my dogs, watch X-Factor and laugh a lot.
You’re going to love World of Warcraft!
While I write my NaNoWriMo novel I’m going to show you that WoW isn’t just for sad, lonely people with no life, it can be a fun place to hang out, a game that makes you think, and has stories that are extremely well thought out and every bit as absorbing as a book or movie.
I won’t try to convert you into an online gaming and Red Bull addict. I just want to share my experiences with you, the fun times, the bad times, the adventures, drama, excitement and friendships formed in this amazing world. Take a look at the image above. I took this last night. It’s called Vashj’ir, an undersea world of wonder and adventure. It’s a place of amazing beauty, vivid colours and breathtaking scenery.
So I’ll start with the title of my NaNoWriMo novel, Shadowrealm Stalkers.
I’ll tell you why I chose that next time and why it’s so apt for the story I’m going to tell.
I’ll leave you with a Night Elf greeting.
Ishnu-dal-dieb. – Good fortune to your family.
How nerdy do I look now?