November is over, and with it ends NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). If you've been reading this blog over the last month and wondering what the hell that abbreviation meant and why the posts have all been these strange fan-fiction-esque letters, that's the reason!
My total for the month at 55,453 words divided over 26 letters, with the longest letter being - bizarrely - FREAKING HAROLD LANE. I would have never, ever expected this. I definitely started stronger than I finished, as I was running out of suitable authors near the end! After the first week, I had broken 20,000 words, and on the 3rd, 4th and 5th I wrote three letters EACH DAY. Ridiculous.
It was a fun experience though, and a definite writing challenge. I hope everyone else who participated enjoyed it, regardless of whether they hit the 50k mark or not!
Also, much thanks to all those who read the letters and left comments! It was very satisfying and encouraging to know that people were interested in such a personal, creative project. I've never really written fiction before, WoW or not, nor do I play on a roleplaying server (though I do tabletop roleplay in real life) so it was new and exciting, and slightly scary all at once.
Of all the letters, my three favorites are To Embrace Death (Putress) because of how logical yet clearly insane it feels; Fallen Sun (Old Icefin) for how much came out of a lone "pointless" quest; and Arachnid Adoration (Anub'arak) / Missed Connection (Shadowy Apparition/Mirror Image) because both were truly writing self-challenges - "Here's a stupid, absurd idea. Make a letter out of it!"
The only other thing I want to comment on are the benefits of using a website as a fiction medium. It really is a unique opportunity. With WoWWiki / WoWPedia links, I was able to present readers with a wealth of background information and history if they wanted to learn more, without bogging down the actual text with reams of boring history. This is truly a luxury, not having to explain who exactly Dimensius the All-Devouring is, or what Aka'Magosh means.
Another resource that not only helped my research and creative process, but actually played a major role in the letters themselves, were WoWhead's tooltips. By allowing readers to quickly mouse-over and read a link to see what I was talking about, I could tell entire stories without actually going into detail. Often, an NPC or quest's brief description in the tooltip correlated and explained exactly what I was referencing in the letter. It's almost like a new style of fiction writing, being able to tell the reader something that the speaker is not aware of.
In what other format would this be possible? It simply wouldn't work on paper or even verbally. I suppose you could use footnotes, but they're clunky and inconvenient. It's almost like in certain TV shows or movies where you see two perspectives at once, such as a shot of someone about to open a door, and a second view of what is lurking on the other side. You know the whole story, but the character doesn't. It's a fantastic storytelling device.
I've published all 26 letters and an explanation of my (self-imposed) criteria and goals to a separate blog, where they will remain: Letters from Northrend. If you're curious as to what my goals were for this project, or if you'd like to re-read any of the entries in a neatly organized compilation, feel free!
Finally, if you've been skipping all the NaNo talk because fiction isn't really your cup of tea, here's a list of all the characters who were featured in Letters to Northrend. Maybe you'll see a favorite and be inclined to read their story. ;D
Xevozz • The Time-Lost Proto-Drake • Arugal
The Lich King • Grand Apothecary Putress
Ta'zinni • Sartharion • King Ymiron
A priest's Shadowy Apparition & a mage's Mirror Image
Harold Lane • Sylvanas (the General)
Archmage Timear & Minigob Manabonk • Falric
Garrosh Hellscream & Dranosh Saurfang • Engineer Burke
Thel'zan/Father Inigo Montoy • Archmage Vargoth
The Ashbringer • Anub'arak • Brote & Skrotee
Varian Wrynn, Baine Bloodhoof & Moira Bronzebeard
Sylvanas (the Rage)
Next up? Probably some discussion of Sylvanas, Silverpine Forest, Worgen and the Forsaken, because OMG YOU GUYS.
Also my blog anniversary is coming up! On the 7th. The day Cataclysm releases. Interesting...