When I was in high school, my favorite English teacher was kind enough to read some of my fantasy writing. He gave me great feedback but the thing that stuck with me the most was when he told me that I wrote great dialogue but that my scene description was lacking. That’s when I realized that while I could see everything vividly in my mind as I wrote, I wasn’t doing a good job describing it so my readers could see it too.
After that, I started sketching layouts for houses, castles, and scenes in my books, but I’m not a good enough artist to create anything three-dimensional. Then in my late teens I came across a home design program called Punch and it changed my writing world forever. With that home design program I could finally breathe life into what I saw in my mind and make it visible to everyone else. Creating the scenes from my stories in the program helped me describe them in better detail and keep those details consistent.
That program has changed names through the years but I’ve been using essentially the same interface for over 20 years now. The program is now called TurboFloorPlan Home and Landscape and while it’s improved a lot, there are some things they changed that I don’t like. Even so, it’s been a huge asset with my writing and I can spend hours creating on my computer the images I see in my mind.
One of the reasons I love writing Warcraft fanfiction is that I can literally go into the world and look around. However, when I’m dealing with areas I’ve created in my mind that could believably exist in Azeroth (or Outland or Draenor, etc) but don’t, that’s a luxury I don’t have. That’s when I turn to my reliable home design program and start working my magic.
My most recent fanfiction involves longtime void elf friends who have built a home for themselves north of Lakeshire in Redridge Mountains. While I could go in game and look around some of the houses that exist in that area, they don’t fit what these characters would do for a home. Thus, I created their homestead in my program and continue to tweak it. The more I add, the bigger the file gets, and the slower it is to render, which has always been a problem of mine. My imagination is so big it just doesn’t compute sometimes.
Regardless, as a large portion of the story takes place on the homestead, I wanted to create it vividly enough to write about. Plus, I just have a ton of fun playing in the program, using existing objects as they are and modifying other objects to suit my needs. My latest challenging little piece was creating trays of cookies and loaves of bread to adorn the kitchen because the food items are rather lacking in Turbo.
In the hopes of increasing my 3D object abilities, I recently took two online college courses dealing with 3ds Max, Maya, and Mudbox. What I learned is that creating 3D objects from scratch is very complicated and time-consuming and not really a strength of mine. I do have much greater respect for anyone who can create 3D objects with ease, but for now I’ll just stick with what I can manipulate in my home program. Below you’ll find an image of my less than stellar attempt at creating a worgen-themed lantern.
Having the void elf homestead rendered in a 3D program makes it much easier to write about the scenes my characters are having great dialogue in.
Eventually some of my characters will be moving to a place in Northrend that already exists, but doesn’t quite meet my needs. I’ve been working on that structure for a while and it’s been difficult because I’m trying to recreate the existing building but also add the modifications I need. I might eventually just create the new structure I need if it becomes too complicated.
If you’re interested in reading my latest fanfiction with my home-building void elves, you can find Of Void and Light here on my Ryter Lynx Wattpad account. Eventually there will be some draenei in the mix as well and I look forward to writing about that once I get all the stuff leading up to that out of my over-filled head.