Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog! This is my journey, my first steps into the world of fictional writing. This blog is an online journal of sorts, where I share the progress of my work as well as what I have learned along the way. I hope you enjoy your time with me and that my experience may be of some use to you.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

100 for 100

"100 for 100"

Greetings all!
 
        As I continue on my journey to becoming a writer, one of the bigger obstacles I have had to face was getting my name out there. Reaching people is not as easy as it sounds, even in this day of social media, where everyone is fighting for attention.
 
        Recently, I surpassed the 2000 views on my blog, my Google+ page has surpassed the 10k views and my Twitter has reached over 600 followers. Though my social media is slowly gaining attention, I have been trying to come up with ideas to attract more traffic to my Facebook Page.
 
        This is when I came up with the "100 for 100" idea! For every 100 likes on my FB page, I will post a 100 word article on my blog regarding content from my book. This can be anything from a short character bio to an actual snippet of the story.

 
        So what are you waiting for? Get to it! Follow this link to my Facebook Page and press the like button. Be sure to share the page, cause for every 100 likes on my FB pages, a new bit of my book gets uploaded to my site.
 
 
        This offer also applies to followers on my blog. For every 100 follower I get, I will post a short 100 word paragraph on my story. The follow button should be on the right side column of my blog.  So get cracking!
 
Cheers!
 
Patrick Osborne

Friday, July 24, 2015

BOOT CAMP LESSON 4: Moderation


Greetings Everyone!

Welcome to the fourth installment of BOOTCAMP! Lesson 4 will be about Moderation! Also known as: Pertinent Baggage! This lesson is something I had to focus on while working with Missing Worlds Media.

When writing for an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online game), it is important to know the difference between “a good character” and “a good NPC” (Non Player Character). One can be great subject matter for their own novel or comic book, but the other is more suitable to be a guest star in someone else’s story. That is the perspective we need to keep in mind when writing content for an MMO: the spotlight will be on the player, not the NPC’s.


Giving background characters links to the setting is important (see lesson 2), but when is enough, enough? How much information should we include when creating NPCs without it being considered as “going overboard”? This type of information is what we may call significant, pertinent and superfluous.


Let’s create a fictional character for a MMO setting and name him SuperFighterGuy, to use as an example:
  • Does the player need to know that he is an expert martial artists and that he has the brains to be a world class detective? Yes, because this explains the purpose/capabilities of the NPC to the player and is therefore significant information that may be necessary to progress in the game.
  • Does the player need to know that his powers are based on superspeed? Yes, because this explains the purpose/capabilities of the NPC to the player and is therefore significant information that may be necessary to progress in the game.
  • Does the player need to know that his parents died during a mugging when he was a child? Not really, because this information is not needed for the player to proceed in the game. However, it does explain why the NPC speaks/acts the way he does, and would affect the NPC’s interaction with the player. Therefore could be considered pertinent information that could be included or hinted at during gameplay.
  • Does the player need to know he has a gambling problem? Not really, because this information is not needed for the player to proceed in the game. However, it does explain why the NPC speaks/acts the way he does, and would affect the NPC’s interaction with the player. Therefore could be considered pertinent information that could be included or hinted at during gameplay.
  • Does the player need to know that he once defeated a great white shark while stranded in the Pacific Ocean? No, this information is not needed for the player to proceed in the game and even tho it may be interesting, it is not considered relevant to the storyline, it is therefore considered superfluous information.
  • Does the player need to know that SuperFighterGuy likes to have bacon and a cheese bagel every morning for breakfast? No, this information is not needed for the player to proceed in the game, nor is it considered relevant to the storyline, it is therefore considered superfluous information… unless you plan on killing SuperFighterGuy with bad cholesterol.


So the point of this exercise is to be able to tell the difference between what information  is important to the player and what is unnecessary. Not to focus on the quantity on information you submit, but on the quality of the information.


So, here are the guidelines to today’s exercise!

***Rules***
  1. Below are 5 generic characters to choose from. Select ONE of the 5 characters to work with.
  2. Once you selected a character, write 4 different statements for each of the following categories: Significant, Pertinent and Superfluous.
  3. In the Significant category, write 4 statements about the NPC which would be essential for the player to know during gameplay.
  4. In the Pertinent category, write 4 statements about the NPC which are not necessary for the player to know during gameplay, but would help define the NPC to the player.
  5. In the Superfluous category, write 4 statements about the NPC which are useless to the player to know during gameplay and irrelevant to storytelling.

***Characters:***
  1. Sherlock Holmes
  2. Robin Hood
  3. Frankenstein's Monster
  4. Captain Hook
  5. Cleopatra
   
    For those wondering how this applies to writing in other mediums, keep in mind that controlling the flow of information given to the reader is one of the most important aspects of being a writer. For more about this, please see my previous posts about Word Economy and Show and Tell.

Now go! Create! And most importantly, have fun!


Until next time,


Cheers!

Patrick Osborne

Monday, July 20, 2015

Inspiration Part 3 - Port Elmsley


Hello Again!


    Welcome to my latest blog post about inspirational sources. Today, we shall take a look at pictures I had taken during one of Linda’s vendor events in the quiet little town of Port Elmsley, Ontario. This community that is part of the Township of Drummond/North Elmsley, and is just celebrating their 200 year anniversary.


    While I was walking around town, I saw a quite a few older buildings; some that were restored and a few that were left to fend for themselves against the elements. You could really feel the history emanating from these structures. The pictures that follow vary from town homes, community centers and ruins. The area was also rich with farm fields and swamp lands.


All of the following locations can be visited by simply walking down the town's main road.




The buildings that are still in use, though they appear to have been renovated many times over the years, still retain much of their rustic charm. These houses, which date back to the towns inauguration in the mid 1800’s, serve as good reference for authors working on a period piece of literature.The buildings that are still in use, though they appear to have been renovated many times over the years, still retain much of their rustic charm. Another thing that stands out are the many fences, which still stand today regardless of having been erected several decades ago.





Here we can also find the remains of an old stone structure by the side of a river. Not entirely clear on what the purpose of this building was since there is only one wall still standing, but its proximity to water leads me to believe it was some sort of working station. Ruins like these always come in handy to describe items such as destroyed buildings or post apocalyptic ruins.
 


    And finally we have the presence of nature itself. Areas within this community are still untouched, leaving the elements in their natural state. I came to this town in the early spring, so the weather was bleak, giving the scenery a greyish, slightly ominous tone to it. Places like forests, riversides and marshlands could be visited, and (in this case) serve as good inspiration for eerie type stories.


    Hope you enjoyed today’s exploration. I have been getting a lot of older structures lately, so I will be trying to get something different for future posts. Until then, get out there and get inspired!


Cheers!

Patrick Osborne

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

By the Book: Kaz the Minotaur

Welcome to this months book review!
Continuing to raid my old book stash, i came across this novel I had read back in highschool. In this installment of By the Book, I will be reviewing “Kaz the Minotaur”, written by Bestselling Fantasy Author, Richard A. Knaak.
Like many of the other books in my collection, this novel was purchased when it came out in the early 90’s. Back then, the large majority of the books I purchased were Fantasy Fiction. Stories of Knights, Wizards and Dragons was the norm for me. So when I came across “Kaz the Minotaur”, I was intrigued. In my mind, Minotaur’s were more commonly seen as villains (I blame this on growing up watching old “Sinbad the Sailor” movies), so seeing one playing the role of a hero was a new concept for me. The approach worked well, as the character had a strong barbarian/warrior feel to him.
Obviously enough, this book follows the story of a Minotaur named Kaz and his faithful companion, a kendre named Delbin. The story takes place after the battle between the Dark Queen and Huma Dragonbane. This battle does not happen in this book, but is heavily referred to throughout, as the events that transpired in that book affect the storyline in this novel. We find Kaz wandering the land of Ansalon, on the run from a group of Minotaurs tasked to arrest him for murder. The protagonist is accused of killing his former superior officer, which, though it may be true, the conditions under which the event happened were falsified. Furthermore, for reasons at first unknown, the warrior is proclaimed as a traitor by former comrade, the leader of the Knights of Solamnia, Lord Oswald. The story follows Kaz's adventure as he tries to uncover why are the honorable Knights of Solamnia acting so strangely, the mystery behind Vingaard Keep, the appearance of a stone dragon, all while trying to avoid capture.



Book Cover
Audio Book Cover
Back of the Book:
 
"But, the beast-man, scorned and hunted, knows,
Without honor there is nothing, not even death.
So, driven by the only ghosts that matter, Huma and himself, Kaz alone faces the scourge.
After the death of the legendary knight Huma, Kaz, a renegade minotaur, wanders the land of Ansalon, hunted by his own kin for escaping the servitude of the Dark Queen and by the Knights of Solamnia, his former comrades, who have declared him an outlaw."
What I learned from this Book:
  • Linking Story Elements: The author did a good job of giving a life to the setting by having it reflect off the characters. Knaak accomplished this by having his characters often refer to their beliefs, past events or lineage in a way which nicely links both together, giving both a richness and depth.
  • Playing opposites: I loved how the author used contrasting characters in this story. This is especially apparent between the big, hard headed, warrior Kaz and the little, mischievous explorer Delbin. Their different personalities played well off of each other.
  • New way of revealing information: Something that popped out at me was one passage where Ky finding a clue, not be revealing information, but by having the protagonist making an assumption. This may not seem big, but the play of words was effective in giving the reader information on events that transpired outside the readers scope of vision, as well as give an important piece of character development: that Kaz, though he was a brutish minotaur, was a smart enough guy to piece together information.
  • Different form of madness: In my past book reviews, I had discussed how the author had described madness among their characters. In Kaz the Minotaur, we see a different way the characters perceive insanity. I found it interesting to compare both, and see how they were differently interpreted.
Richard A. Knaak is a New York Times bestselling author, having written nearly four dozen novels. Among his works, Knaak has written novels for Dragonlance, Dragonrealm and Blizzard Entertainment (which were based off Diablo series, and ten works in the Warcraft universe). His novels and short stories have been published worldwide, if you wish to learn more, you can visit the following websites:
For those interested, here is the cover art of the original publication of the book, without the writing. It was created by the artist Jeff Easly.
I'm glad for having had the opportunity to read this book again, since I had completely forgotten about it from when I read it back in the 90's. Will be looking forward to reading more of Mr Knaak's work in the future.
 
Until next time!
 
Cheers,
 
Patrick Osborne