Turning Over Familiar Leaves

Canandaigua Lake, September 1 2018

Winds whipping the leaves of a tree on the shores of Canandaigua Lake, New York

As I imagine most parents know, summer break from school tends to create some notable schedule changes. I am fortunate that I work from home as a transcriber for Rev.com because I get to spend time with my girls when they’re home. I do however still have to work and it can be challenging finding a balance between family and work during the summer when they’re home all day. Even so, I love my girls and I do my best to work just enough without having them think that all I do is work. Not easy, but I try.

Nonetheless, summer break doesn’t last forever. I’ve enjoyed every extra moment I’ve had with my girls, but school starts up for them again this coming Tuesday and it will then be back to the usual school year routine. I do my transcribing work while they’re at school Monday and Tuesday and then focus on them when they get home. For the remaining days of the week they go to their father’s house and I focus fully on transcription and college work. While I always miss my girls when I don’t have them, I know that my days without them serve and important purpose.

Along with school starting soon, my favorite season of autumn will also be starting soon. We’ve already had a couple of days of pre-fall weather here in Upstate New York and I enjoyed the cooler temperatures and ability to turn the air conditioning off and leave the windows open. Summer weather has currently returned to my area, but I know fall will settle in eventually and I look forward to it with enthusiasm.

As the familiar predictable school schedule returns and the leaves begin to turn, it’s time for me to turn over some familiar leaves. By this I mean it’s time for me to get back into blogging more regularly. With all the things I have going on in my life, writing tends to get lost in the chaos and I can’t continue to let that happen. Writing is a big part of who I am and most of the writing I’ve done over the summer has been for college courses.

College writing is very important of course and it’s earned me some wonderful grades, but I know that writing for pleasure is also essential for my creativity. My creativity is what gives me the ability to take subjects I struggle with (or even dislike) and mesh them with subjects I’m passionate about to write some pretty astounding papers. I say astounding because I am usually astounded with what I come up with.

Fortunately, I’ve already got a jump-start on flexing my writing for pleasure muscles thanks to being given the opportunity to play World of Warcraft’s latest expansion, Battle for Azeroth, when it was in beta testing. I’ve never played a beta version of World of Warcraft before so I was very excited to receive such an immersive first look at a game world that I already love. Playing Battle for Azeroth Bet was an amazing experience for me and I loved having even a small impact in the final release of the game that was released on August 13th of this year.

What does World of Warcraft have to do with my writing? you ask. Well, playing in that new world with its beautiful settings and interesting new story lines inspired me to start writing about new characters in my Warcraft based books. I base my characters off the “toons” I play in the game because to me, they all already have unique personalities and stories to tell. That comes from being a writer perhaps.

I’ve already written several chapters in what will eventually be a complete book that follows a handful of rather diverse characters as they journey through Azeroth. I don’t really know what will happen with the book or what can happen with the book, but that’s not going to stop me from writing. It took me so many years to get my muse back after my father died that I’m not about to let her slip away again!

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When the Muse Strikes…

Nagrand in Outland screenshot by JulieAnn Corbin

This is where my new stories begin…

Many moons ago I was prolific fantasy novel writer. I’d spend hours writing away to create my fantasy characters, world and stories. Then life threw me one curveball after another and as I’ve never been good at sports, I threw in the towel and my muse went poof!

I’ve tried several times over the past few years to start writing again and I’ve had minimal success. It just didn’t come easy anymore and I became frustrated. Well I’m happy to report that the muse has finally struck again and she’s struck hard! The source of my muse surprised me somewhat and might not be the traditional inspiration method, but I’m not going to question it.

The inspiration for my latest bout of writing is the online game called World of Warcraft. I’ve been playing Warcraft on and off since The Burning Crusade expansion and the first time I played it, I was hooked. What hooked me were the beautiful settings, interesting quest stories, character appearances and of course, the ability to kick butt as a hunter, paladin, warrior, warlock, mage, druid, rogue, etc. I never played dungeons and dragons so this type of game playing was new to me and in many ways I’m still a “newb” but playing WoW is a great escape from reality at the end of a long workday.

A few months ago, I started wondering more about the characters I created and thinking up backstories for them in my head. I thought what if my blood elf paladin, warlock or hunter did this? What if they met up with this different race? What if this happened to them? Before I knew it, I had thought up several chapters’ worth of stories and I began writing the outline so I didn’t forget the details. My first story revolves around my paladin, my second around my warlock and my third around my hunter and as they’re all sisters, they’ll eventually all meet up and combine into a single storyline.

Warcraft hunter with moose pet by JulieAnn Corbin

My hunter and her moose pet.

 

Paladin warcraft by JulieAnn Corbin

My paladin looking fierce.

 

warlock with demon by JulieAnn corbin

My warlock, her demon and her floating skull “weapon.” You know there’s a story here!

Although some writers may see writing fanfiction about an online game “cheating” because all of the settings and history already exist, I don’t see it that way. I still plan on describing my scenes for those who don’t know Warcraft and giving background information on races. I want this to feel like a truly flushed out story with relatable characters so that even those who don’t play the game will understand. I’ve been playing these female characters in the game for years and as soon as I thought of the stories that involved male characters, I made some male characters for the first time ever. I must admit that playing a male character in the game is somewhat empowering as only I and very few others know that I’m a woman.

Warcraft hunters by JulieAnn Corbin

Some of my characters chatting it up.

 

Dk and and Pally by JulieAnn Corbin

A pair of my characters.

As with all my stories, these Warcraft based stories are filled with action, adventure, drama and romance. Best of all, whenever I need a bit more inspiration, I can hop on the game for a bit and have a new adventure the fuels future stories. The ability to actually step into the world of a book character is truly unique and apparently, exactly what I needed to get my muse back. Only Warcraft players will get this but…for Azeroth! 😉