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World of WarCrafts: The Helvetica Venture

Anne Stickney

World of WarCrafts spotlights art and creativity by WoW players, including fan art, cooking, comics, cosplay, music, fan fiction and more. Sample the whole spectrum on our Arts and Crafts in WoW page.

Recipes, action figures, art -- the fans of Warcraft are a creative bunch, and Kyt Dotson is no exception. Rather than artwork or crafts, however, Kyt creates vivid worlds with the written word. Kyt's latest work, The Helvetica Venture, can be found on Vox Ex Machina. The story involves a starting blood elf character named Helvetica and her adventures in Azeroth, but it takes a humorous twist to the usual form of narrative storytelling.

On the table nearby, taking up the only clear space in the entire room, is a green box. Imagine a box, an ordinary 5¼"x 7½" video game box sporting fold-out inserts for the cover and a preternatural lightness to its heft that belies the contents stored within. Emblazoned over the surface-above the oh-so-handsome staring face of a blonde elf with vorpal eyebrows and nuclear green eyes-display the words: World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.

"You haven't played one of these games before, have you?" asked the screen that comes up after she installs the game.
Take a look after the break for more information about Helvetica and her creator.

First things first: Why the name Helvetica? "One: I really like the font," Kyt answers. "Two: It's just a cool name. Three: The Swiss Guard -- aka the Helvetica Corps -- have a sort of mystique as being the best bodyguards in the world. I expect to extend that mystique (while making fun of their amazingly garish uniforms) in one of my upcoming novels." Speaking of novels, when asked if this was simply a hobby or if writing was a full time job, Kyt replies, "I am a semi-professional fiction author. Right now I'm making a little bit of money (but not a living) from being part of the webfiction community. I do make some grocery money from short stories, but really I'm a novelist. I got into the craft when I wrote and published my first novel in 2003, The Specter in the Spectacles."

Helvetica is definitely a fun, humorous read, but what struck me as entertaining was the use of the game itself as a snappy sort of protagonist that spoke as if it were real. I asked Kyt about the choice in writing perspective and the decision to use the game as an actual character in the story and what prompted that decision. "Nelson Williams, the owner of the blog I wrote the fan fiction for, asked me to write him something to attract attention," she says. "He writes humor himself and I had never tried my hand at it. So I read a bunch of humor and realized I needed a straight-man to go with the Helvetica character. Since I wanted to present the newbie experience, the game itself provided an adequate foil. Turns out computer games are quite fastidious and persnickity about how they're played!"

So what kind of novels does a novelist read? "Every book I read, I use to inform my craft -- both the good and the bad. I cannot say that I read any one author frequently, but I have a special place for Mercedes Lackey, Tad Williams and David Weber. Also, two years ago I discovered Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series. I read a lot more science fiction than I do fantasy, but I prefer to write contemporary/urban fantasy."

Any words of advice for aspiring authors or fanfiction writers out there? "I don't write much fanfic, but I certainly read a lot. It's the community I'm here for. Fanfiction is both the lifeblood and the seedy underbelly of the community when it comes to fan culture. When you join in with fanfiction, you join a tradition as old as bards. You can write to build the community, to explore the untold stories of characters of lesser renown, to fill the rough edges where canon ends and fanon begins, or just for the hell of it. But if you do write and join in, you'll discover it's a very rewarding experience."

Thanks for your time, Kyt -- and be sure to let us know of any future Warcraft writing!

World of WarCrafts spotlights art and creativity by WoW players, including arts and crafts, fan art, WoW-themed recipes, comics, cosplay, music and fan fiction. Show us how you express yourself by emailing with your not-for-profit, WoW-inspired creations.

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