For those of you wondering why an outline for a story is such a big deal requires an explanation about how I write. An outline is a brief summary about the story itself. More than bullet points, but not quite writing the story out either. This is where I decide the story arc and the flow of the book. Every descriptive action has to have the basics spelled out. Since a portion of this story will be on the ocean, I had to come up with what the Elves boats looked like. What the orcs boats looked like. I also needed to have a solid description of the various crafts used for trading and for war. On top of that I needed a crew for the main ship the characters are riding and wanted to work in something special to make the trip more interesting. Come to find out, the trip becomes super interesting as the group is hit with a wandering instance so to speak.
I also had to work in a few cultures and a storyline that worked as a wandering instance that worked into the storyline of the overall world. It just happened to work out that it sets up the story at the end perfectly for book five. No, I haven’t worked out the whole book series to the complete end. Not that such a thing is really possible since the story is about a game that is basically an advance MMORPG. I haven’t made a decision of the entire crew will move in directly to Mike’s Nightmare start or not, but I think that won’t be possible because by the time the crew finishes helping Domenic out with his Nightmare start, The Syndicate will have to be dealt with once again, so hopefully by then we’ll be getting into some major guild vs. guild PVP by book six.
I hate just skipping around a story and having large gaps as the main characters travel from place-to-place. It seems like writers miss out on adding so much more into their stories when they do that. Why have the story blip from one coast to another when I could throw in pirates, mutinies, monsters and/or a special dungeon in the mix? I was so disappointed with how World of Warcraft did their ships. The boats looked so cool. Yes I know they were part of the transportation system, but why not throw in a random dungeon or some type of adventure or encounter while people are using the ships? You know, like a Dungeon & Dragons monster encounter. It was one of the things I thought WoW missed that could have been cool and yet annoying all at the same time, depending if you were caught taking a bathroom break when the encounter happened.
A fan and now friend of mine named Richard was giving me a hard time about having the books still basically in the newbie area even after book three. He said wouldn’t they be out of the newbie area by now? My response was that I didn’t want to rush the story. It’s the same complaint I have about the way MMORPGs have moved. Everything is now about the end game. Why would you want to spend the time exploring the world and finding adventure when you have to struggle as a low level character when you could just power level and slaughter everything you run into later on? Seriously, where is the fun in that?
Personally, I think this is where the modern day MMORPGs have gone wrong. They went away from that type of Vanilla World of Warcraft experience and the game went to shit. Now-a-day, people rush through the main content to power level their characters, play some crappy end-game dungeons that aren’t even really hard and then are bored as hell so they move onto another MMORPG looking for something that’s actually fun, but since every MMORPG has taken that same simple design, it’s all the same exact thing.
What made Vanilla World of Warcraft so much fun was how difficult it was. You had to learn to play your character’s class to the hilt to successfully complete the 5man dungeons of Scholomance and Stratholme. These dungeons could be run by groups of fifteen players, but even then wipes were common because the dungeons were so hard. The only way you could complete the actual storyline quest was if you did it with five players. Also, you couldn’t have the quests shared with you by a random stranger, you actually had to follow the quest line and do a lot of leg work to get to the point where you could actually do the quest. Similar to the difficulty of even entering into Lower Black Rock Spiral. If you didn’t have someone in the team who’d actually completed the quest to get the key in a 5man dungeon run, you couldn’t enter the dungeon.
Following through the lower level storylines and having to travel through dangerous areas to complete the quests made Vanilla WoW so much fun. This is the same idea I’m bringing to The World storyline. The things that happen in-between the massive world dungeons. The building up of your own lands for player vs. player. The forethought put in of building your character and completing quests that change the nature of the game’s world. Hence why book 4 starts with the main character just hitting level 30 and the rest of his friends still in the 20s.
The reason why the main character is traveling to the human lands this time isn’t even quest related. It’s to help his friend Domenic take on the religious crusade of the Forces of Light that has risen up against his religious warrior house and accused him of being a Dark Paladin. Similar to the main character’s nightmare start, but instead of Goblin Raiders and an invasion, the challenge is a religious crusade who want to slaughter him and his House of Aequitas that resides in the Ironheart Stronghold. While the main character will gain levels as he moves through the game world towards his destination, the fact that he’s not traveling to the human lands with a quest line will slow down his leveling even further. Thankfully the developers of The World threw in a bunch of … aka wandering dungeons, monsters and events for players who are focused on exploring or moving long distances from point A to B within the world.
Initially I’d planned to have undead pirates to deal with and had some interesting ideas to follow that up, when I suddenly realized how passé that currently was. I mean seriously there are undead monsters in so many LitRPG storylines, movies and TV shows everywhere. Besides, how could I have undead pirates without having someone complain that I copied their idea somehow? So instead I came up with something new and believe it or not without pirates.
I’d almost finished outlining ending of book four last night, but I couldn’t get it quite right and the morphine tables I was given for pain kept making me fall asleep off and on throughout the day. After dreaming about the storyline last night, I woke up with a solid idea of what I wanted and spent the day sketching the book out until the end. I’m now excited to sit down and get writing the actual story.
I had several fans ask about bringing more of the main character’s real life into the story, which worked into the story. One of the fun ideas that came to me yesterday was having the main character accused by The Syndicate and their groups many fans online of cheating. Due to The Syndicate’s long relationship with Twitch Online, the main character’s Twitch Stream initially gets a temporary ban due to the accusations. Of course, our hero is proven blameless and his channel gets turned back on, but even so the group of online fans led by Dave continues to blast the main character on his own channel that he’s a cheater as he tries to drive the main character’s viewers away … of course unsuccessfully. I figured this was a perfect example of real life mirroring fiction. I’m sure Dave will be glad to know he motivated an interesting part of my new book as that of an online bully.
When I plan out an outline, I decide at what point where I want the story to end. I don’t really know the word count ahead of time, so sometimes the story ends up being a lot longer then I might have originally planned to write, but the point is where I want the story to end. However much it is, I write the story out to that point. I have to say the storyline really looks fun. Probably similar to the amount of action and story of Book three.
I’d also like to give a shout out to Sam, a fan of the story who recently contacted me to help me with some of my grammar issues. He gave me a comprehensive list of issues that I need to go through all three books to correct. I’m super thankful for the help. I know where I’m weak at and will be going through the story to clean it up where I can. Hopefully that will be tonight or tomorrow. I couldn’t do it yesterday because my body was still too weak for me to focus too closely on something like grammar correction.
Lastly, I wanted to give a quick update on my surgery and cancer. The cancer was removed in one shot. From what I understand, the doctor flayed my ear open and cut out large portions of my ear and then sewed everything back together. The laboratory results said that there was nothing left. I still will need to get regular check-ups to make sure the cancer didn’t spread unknowingly, but it’s looking really good. Once the pain gets better I should start sleeping a better. So far mornings are a little rough, but it’s getting better. Thanks again for all of the well wishes. It means a lot to me.