Friday, April 16, 2010

((Yet Another OOC Update))

I wanted to let everyone know about some recent thoughts I've been having on the travelogue, as well as some (positive) developments in my own life that will affect it.

A few of you may already know that I've just been accepted into the Chapman University's graduate school. This is, in a word, awesome. It will also take up a lot of my time. Writing is a vital part of my life, so I won't be stopping. However, I may not have as much time to do so.

Also, conversation and some self-examination are forcing me to reconsider writing about Cataclysm. I do want to, but I think the travelogue is starting to reach a critical mass (in fact, it may have already reached it). Put simply, this thing is so damn long that I can't imagine I'll get too many more readers. While I've tried to make most zones standalone, I'm not sure how well I've succeeded. For instance, if someone else had written the travelogue, and it was shown to me, I'd be really put off by the length. I can hardly blame other people for being reluctant to start. And, as I've mentioned before, I do need to work on other things (and in case you're wondering, I've already started on another story for Scratched Nerve).

What I'm thinking now is that, once I've finished Northrend, I'll take an indefinite break from the travelogue that will last at least four months. It's entirely possible that I will never return to it. Even if I do, I'm going to have to make it shorter, just covering the most interesting aspects of the new zones.

It's also difficult for me to gauge the actual level of interest for the travelogue. If anyone has any suggestions on how to do this (I already use StatCounter), I'd appreciate hearing it. Still, I'm pretty sure the popularity level has plateaued.

Anyway, I still intend to hold the Q and A session on Tuesday at 5:00 PST (roll a Horde character on Feathermoon and /join travelogue to participate). I just wanted to let everyone know what's on my mind.


  1. Good luck with grad school and thanks for the travelogue.

  2. Honestly, I can completely see where you're coming from. It -is- intimidatingly long. Expecting new readers would...

    ... well I won't bother continuing. Everything I say would just be restating my first sentence: I completely agree with what you're saying. That's probably for the best.

  3. Internet celebrity is a fickle, fleeting thing. Be proud of what you've written so far, but I think you should concentrate on RL stuff, especially if things are going well for you now.

    I hope you'll one day find the time (and inspiration) to write about Cataclysm, but in the meantime, I wish you luck on all your enterprises and I thank you for the hours of entertainment you've already provided.

  4. What about turning it into a trilogy? That's how Tolkien's publishers made his work widely circulated in the first place...

  5. How do you mean make it a trilogy? Splitting it into three blogs?

    I'm not sure if that would really increase readership all that much, and it still wouldn't solve the problem of me spending too much time on fandom efforts. Still, I appreciate the suggestion.

  6. I don't know what the Trilogy comment means exactly, but it made me think of something else:

    I first got hooked on your Travelogue when it was still in PDF format, and it resembled an actual printed book. Something about that felt really nice (even though I know that downloadable PDFs are much less accessible than a blog at first glance).

    But something about how it was split up into sections like "Travels through Lordaeron" and "Travels through Northern Kalimdor" made it pretty easy to digest. I also loved the way the maps and pictures worked with the layout. And it really gave an extra level of immersion when, at the end of the old Azeroth sections, Destron wrote about sending his manuscripts back to Orgrimmar from the front lines in Silithus.

    I wouldn't expect you to change the blog format. I just wanted to reminisce about the olden days of the PDF travelogue. I can't believe that was over 2 years ago now. Almost 3 years, actually. Wow.

  7. Hello you

    First of all, congratulations on making Chapman.

    That you have to discontinue the travelogue is, of course, a pity. Personally, the volume of the work delighted me from the beginning. It is true that, although I recommended it to quite a few, only a couple of chaps I knew read any significant portion of it. Sure, I read it as someone with a bent for anthropology and who always seeks to contextualize even an experience like WoW; still, it is a well tied together piece of literature, more than capable of satisfying fiction fans – at least, by comparing it with what they usually seem to be satisfied. The problem lies with the audience though, not with the work itself.
    There’s also the issue of giving it a chance all together. I ended up here by following a link on the official forums, curious to see what the “crazies” (rpers; yes, I recognize the limits of my open mind) are up to these days. At first I read the first 5 paragraphs of the Tirisfal Glades entry, I was intrigued by the coherence, and then left the blog thinking that the idea was good and that I should’ve been the one writing this if I had the vocabulary, because surely the author won’t be able to treat the regions from all the vantage points I was interested in, demographical, societal, political & religious, administrative, economical etc. And then I came back two weeks later, having been reminded of it by chance and, being in the mood for a short story, I thought this would do quality wise; only to find short but insightful references to everything I was expecting to be beyond the scope of the entry or the author. By the end of the Silverpine Forest entry I was hooked, I read up to Orgrimmar I think in 1 week or so.

    Sorry for the length and perhaps boring description of my own experience, but I think it helps to see the odd ways in which readers approach your work sometimes.
    Now, as to assessing the level of interest, StatCounter is a very complete tool, what do you feel is missing exactly from everything it shows?

    As to a chapter based blog, it was exactly what I had in mind myself when you wrote about new readers being discouraged. And my idea about how to do it seems to be identical to yours; or well, what Smithson wrote that it was. I never knew this was ever a .pdf, but if it was and the chapters were those described, I totally agree with it. Keep the dates at which each entry was posted if you wish, but create these big chapters and make them the main branches of the blog. I would nuance as in, I would have really liked the titles to not be geographically descriptive, but culturally. Not Travels through northern Lordaeron as much as A pilgrimage through the ruins of the northern kingdoms, including all of pre-BC Lordaeron, then Into Khaz Modan, including the Wetlands to Burnning Steppes entries, The southern lion, including the entries from Redridge to Blasted Lands (all those regionds were under Stormwind control really, eventhough the marsh might have been a zone where Stormwind clout was not as apparent), and Stranglethorn being treated separately, much like you’d treat India in a work on Asia. Kalimdor would be separated into the night elven territories, the Tribal Horde lands and the southern desert. The BC section could be titled the Outland campaign and so on and so forth. The reader would be able to set his mental bookmarks, and the work would appear more linear than it seems now at a glance.

  8. What I truly think would raise the profile of your work though is something I had in mind for a long time, yet because I would not be at all a satisfactory volunteer for the work, I shied from suggesting. And that is having it all read into audio entries. The readers would not have to be professional, anything of the quality the ones participating in the movement provide would suffice. The main reason I am bringing it up is because I do a lot of listening while I play WoW. Anything from book presentations on the GoogleAuthors’ youtube channel to dialogues to actual, full, audio books and anything in between. And I’m romanian, audio books are virtually non-existent on our market; I suspect in the west you chaps are a lot more used to doing part of your “reading” this way. And I suspect for the typical WoW player, audio books would be a much better lure. Not to mention walking through a zone, in game and listening to the narration should be rather interesting too. Would be great if amongst the current readers of the blog, there would be a few volunteers with pleasant enough voices. And I’d be glad to contribute myself on doing part of the voices, I am afraid as the narrator I’d be awful though, don’t think I have the voice, nevermind my accent shows.
    I guess I wrote another essay Destron, I’m very sorry, indulge me sigh..

  9. Again, don't worry about the length of your comments, Palestrina.

    I definitely like the idea of an audio log, but that would still require a lot of planning and time to do. Even if I didn't narrate it myself, finding other people would be a pretty elaborate project. Plus, since I'm moving away from the travelogue, it simply wouldn't be a very practical use of my resources.

  10. Hi there,

    I just discovered this travelogue via, and have started reading it from the beginning (I'm up to Westfall right now). It is truly wonderful, and adds a whole new depth to my WoW gameplay. Your writing style is wonderful, and I do hope you can produce some Cataclysm-based installments in the future. I'll be keeping an eye out!

    Best of luck in grad school,


  11. Hey, I had written one more, longer comment, before this last. It's no problem that it doesn't show as long as you tell me you read it though.

    I wish the travelogue was more than training for you. Sure it's Blizzard content, but quality wise the entries should be recognized as more than exercise.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Welcome aboard, Accipeter, and thanks for reading.

    Regarding Palestrina's comment about having more descriptive titles, this was once the case. Back in the PDF days, I divided them into larger sections. I still actually do this, but it doesn't really translate into blog format. They go as follows:

    From Death to Life: Travels through Lordaeron

    The Craft of the Titans: Travels through Khaz Modan

    War without End: Travels through Stormwind

    The Heart of the World: Travels through Northern Kalimdor

    Forging a New World: Travels through Central Kalimdor

    Lands of Memory: Travels through Southern Kalimdor

    Rising from the Fall: Travels through the Azuremyst Archipelago and Quel'thalas

    The Shattered World: Travels through Northern Outland

    Ruin and Rebirth: Travels through Southern Outland

    The Path of the Gods: Travels through Eastern Northrend

    The World as a Tomb: Travels through Western Northrend

    The reason I no longer offer the PDFs is due to the time and effort it would take to keep them updated. I frequently edit the travelogue, usually to correct typos (often pointed out to me by helpful readers such as yourselves).

    This means I have to make the correction on the blog as well as on the original document. If I use PDFs, I'll have to make new versions each time I correct something.

    I'm thinking I might make PDFs available on request. Only a few people have expressed much interest in them. They would come with more screenshots, so that might be a reason to do this.

  14. If you were to make pdfs available, I would like to download them for easier storage and printing out. However, I certainly understand if there isn't enough interest to justify the time and effort involved in producing/maintaining them.

    I'm up to Mulgore now! Every installment makes me want to run a character back through that zone, with a deeper understanding of what I'm seeing. Through Destron's character, I also have gained a bit more sympathy for the Forsaken -- I can even see why somebody might want to play one!

  15. Just too add to a couple of other comments - I'm a new reader too, so I think there will always be people coming across the travelogue and staying, not put off by the length; with writing of this quality, I don't think it should be an issue for anyone able to concentrate for more than a few minutes!!!. Entirely understandable that you need to move on, and good luck - just don't forget Destron and his followers will be missing you!