Why don’t you come with me, little girl, on a magic
I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
With a few exceptions, I’m not entirely focused on World of Warcraft when I’m playing it.
The aforementioned exception is the dungeons & raids. I stay focused in there. Mostly because I don’t want to suck at playing whichever role I happen to be playing at the time. If I’m DPS, I want to top the damage charts. If I’m tanking, I don’t want anybody else getting smacked in the face. And nobody dies on my watch when I’m healing, otherwise you have every right to call me a tosser.
There are exceptions to the exceptions, too, since some of the dungeons I’ve seen and finished on my main character about a hundred times. If the run’s routine, and populated with random folk I’ve never met who are all sporting gear as good as or better than mine, I can slip into the place where I spend the bulk of my Warcraft time. Half in the actual game, half in other places.
You see, being in the fantasy world of Azeroth is to my brain what being in the gym is to other people’s bodies.
I don’t go to a gym. I can’t afford it, and while I might benefit from extended physical activity on a regular basis, I see walking to and from the train stations in Lansdale & Doylestown as an adequate amount of physical exercise, more than most in my sedentary line of work get as they sit in traffic cursing at some jerk in a BMW who cut them off while yammering on their Bluetooth and sipping their latte. Suckers.
Back on topic. Wandering around the huge game world of Blizzard’s MMO, I find inspiration almost everywhere I turn. The towering spires of Dalaran, that whole floating city in fact, reminds me a great deal of the similar cities I’ve conceptualized in Citizen in the Wilds. The lush, overgrown landscape of Sholazar Basin invokes those selfsame Wilds. Northrend, in general, is a big reason why I got off my ass and was able to finish the first draft of Citizen, and is a constant reminder that I have more editing to do before it’s ready to present to agents and professional editors.
I’m also using the background and ongoing stories for Warcraft characters as exercises in writing. I’m looking out for passive voice. I’m keeping things simple and brief. I’m killing darlings. Even if only a half-dozen people read the stuff that emerges from those exercises, I’m keeping my writing knives and scalpels sharp. But those exercises wouldn’t come to be at all if I weren’t playing the game.
I know that playing the game as much as I do doesn’t make me as productive as I could be. However, if I try to get something creative out of the experience, be it inspiration for an original work or motivation to write even a small snippet from a character’s point of view, then some minor productivity manages to emerge overall.
I’m approaching Warcraft the way I do movies these days. I keep my brain on.