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.

Monday, July 25, 2016

BOOTCAMP LESSON 14: From Fact to Fiction


Welcome back,



    For the past few years, I have been writing various forms of fiction; either working on my own novel, or creating content for Missing Worlds Media. One of the things I have been doing a lot when writing, is doing research into historical people, places and events. Adding a touch of real life to your fiction helps root it into the audience's reality, making it easier for them to grasp the timeline of your story and get emotionally involved.


Here are some examples based on my personal research using historical facts:
  • Researching feudal Japan in order to make Ninja/Oni inspired criminal syndicate.
  • Researching the Italian Mafia to help with a character’s background information.
  • Researching Ancient Egypt for creating a realistic setting in a scene.
  • Researching the sinking of the HMS Eurydic for use as a pivotal event in an origin story.


    So today’s writing prompt will be about taking moments from history, and using them to create fiction. Given that July celebrates both Canada Day (July 1st) and Independence day (July 4th), I decided to focus on those dates for our historical resource options.




BOOTCAMP LESSON 14: From Fact to Fiction


The basics of a story is a plotline which follows the exploits of the main characters as they attempt to resolve a conflict while making their way to their intended goal. When we write a story, it is our job to come up with these elements. However, pulling inspiration from actual events, current or old, can be a great start to building a storyline and helps anchor your story in history.


In the following exercise, you will have to create a two different versions of your short story, using one of the historical events listed below. For the sake of preventing copyright infringement, I only used dates that are over a hundred years old.


So, here are today's guidelines!


  1. Below are six historical dates. Choose at least one you wish to work with
  2. Using the historical date you have selected, write two different short stories using different approaches:
    1. Write a story that is realistic, using themes appropriate to the era.
    2. Write a story that is fictional, can be from any genre (horror, comedy, sci-fi, etc).
     3.   You can add as many elements as you want.
     4.    The core of the story must revolve around the historical reference.

Historical dates:


  • July 1st, 1863: Beginning of the Battle of Gettysburg which was fought by Union and Confederate forces during the American Civil War.
  • July 1st, 1867: Canada Day, a national holiday commemorating the confederation of Upper and Lower Canada and some of the Maritime Provinces into the Dominion of Canada.
  • July 1, 1893: President Grover Cleveland undergoes a secret cancer surgery aboard a yacht in order to remove a cancerous growth in his mouth. The entire left side of his jaw was removed and replaced with a rubber prosthesis.
  • July 4, 1776: The Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, allowing the 13 American colonies to cut their political connections to Great Britain.
  • July 4, 1863: The surrender of Vicksburg to General Grant and the Army of the West. With the Union in control of the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi, the Confederacy was effectively split in two, cut off from its western allies.
  • July 4, 1882:  The "Last Great Buffalo Hunt" began on Indian reservation lands near Hettinger, North Dakota as two thousand Teton Sioux Indians killed about five thousand buffalo.


For those who aren’t afraid to share their entries, feel free to submit them in a private message to me via facebook, and I will post them here. Remember, this is a game, so no posting bad comments about other people's entries.


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


Until Next time!


Cheers,

            Patrick Osborne

Monday, July 18, 2016

Interview - Matthew Melillo

Welcome back!


Today we have an interview with published writer, Matthew Melillo. I met Matthew via Facebook, while posting an ad that I was looking for authors to interview back in January. Matthew has been really busy since, as he was working on the release of his second book. Though it took some time, we managed to get the interview done, and I’m happy for the opportunity to have interacted with him.


Now on to the interview!


Short Bio:  A graduate of Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire, with a major in history and minor in Secondary Education. He married his wife, Genevieve Melillo, in 2002 and has two boys, Dominic and Cody. After teaching for some years, he went into several other fields while working on his writing.


Published works: Caston's Revenge




Current Projects: The Unknown - suspense/horror thriller, should be out this summer
The Last Order of the Templars - a historical drama, should be out around the end of the year




When did you begin writing?


I began writing about eight or nine years ago as a hobby but one day got the bug to finally finish a book.  It took me several years and I finally finished Caston's Revenge about three years ago.


Did you receive any special training or attend a school?


I am a graduate from Franklin Pierce University and was a history major, didn't take any special courses but found a gift when having to write papers.


Where do get your inspiration from?


Everything inspires me from the news, to people in my life.  But movies and good stories are one of my passions that I do when I get home to relax from a long day at work.


Do you use any special resources when writing?


Not really.  I love listening to music in the background and sometimes depending on the scene I am working on will playing certain types of music to help me set the scene in my mind.


What is the important thing to remember when writing and why is it so important?


Have fun when writing.  Remember your readers are reading what you are feeling and no matter how you write, how you are feeling at that moment when you are writing, it will reflect in what the reader sees and feels.


What is the most challenging part of writing and how do you overcome it?


Writer's block.  Every writer gets it and will probably say the same thing.  In the process of writing my second book I got so stuck that I couldn't get one sentence written down before deleting it about halfway through.  After about three weeks I had to put the book down and actually started a new project.  The new project flowed right through and am currently beginning the rewrites for the editor so it can be published hopefully at the end of the year.  Then I went back the The Unknown and finished it within a few weeks and was extremely happy with how it came out.  It just went back to the publisher and should be out by the end of summer.


Did you use an agent?


No.  I spent a lot of time looking for both an agent and a publisher and got real lucky meeting a publisher from Whimsical Publications.  It happened to be perfect timing because she loved the books and signed me for all three of my books.  I am still looking in what little time I have for an agent thinking with the right agent I could get someone other than myself to help with the marketing...lol


Did you use an editor?


Well fortunately with my agreement with Whimsical Publications they provided an editor for me who gave me great incites that truly helped me better round out my books and storytelling.


How did you get your book published?


I spent a lot of time talking to other writers in different Facebook chats and just got lucky.  I had brought up a question that I had posted on the site about which do you look for first a publisher or an agent.  The next thing I know thirty people are actively posting on it and it became a major conversation.  Then while in the midst of the conversation I got a pop up from someone from Whimsical Publications asking me what my books were about.  After telling her she advised me that she was a publisher and sent me a link to send her each book to review.  A few days later she got in contact with me and offered me contracts on all three.  I truly got lucky being in the right place at the right time as I had been looking for over two years.


Do you handle your on marketing?


Yes.  But my wife has been a tremendous help as social marketing is extremely time consuming and working a full time job makes time scarce.


What is your best marketing tip?


Get reviews!  You can post all you want about your book, but unless people are actively talking about it, sales will flatten.


Do you have any advice for writers?


Don't ever give up.  I know it sounds cliché but its one hundred percent true.  Even while trying and getting no's from publishing companies and agents I continued to keep writing and all it takes is to get in front of the right person and amazing things can happen.  There are many people that think they can write a book, never-the-less finish it.  But then even those that can only a few can get it published and I truly cherish the fact that I have done so.  I just picture in my mind the reader sitting on their couch or bed, with a snack and a drink reading one of my books while picturing in their mind what it would be like if they were there as the main character.  


In closing, I felt an odd sense of relief after reading Matthew’s interview. Up until now, every writer I spoke to seemed to write entire novels in only a few short months, I was happy to see I am not the only one who can take several years to write a book. I would like to thank Matthew for volunteering to be in my blog interviews, especially amid all the chaos of finishing a second book. As someone who is still in the process of finding himself as a writer, I look forward to hearing more about him in the future.


Until Next time,


Cheers,

            Patrick Osborne

Monday, July 11, 2016

Historical Fiction


Welcome back,



             In honor of both Canada Day (July 1st) and Independence day (July 4th), I decided the theme for the month of July’s article will be about historical writing and using facts to help strengthen fiction. For the past few years, I have been doing a lot of research into historical people, places and events in order to incorporate it into my writing.


book, reading, learning, study, education, pen, magnifying glass, globe, atlas, maps, navigation, travel


The basics of any story is a plotline which follows the exploits of the main characters as they attempt to resolve a conflict while making their way to their intended goal. So how exactly does Historical Fiction differ from other genres? In historical movies, the period is set through settings and actors performances and costumes. The same can be said for Historical novels, where the historical elements of the storyline are shown through established facts and carefully fed information (for more information see my post showing and telling).

Historical fiction is a literary genre whose plot takes place in a setting located in the past, be it as recent as a few years or as far back as ancient history. To write it properly, it requires gathering data, analysis of the information acquired, interpretation of facts, attention to detail of the period depicted and a good understanding between its individual parts and the whole. Depending on how historically accurate a writer wants his fiction to be, they will need to learn to how to identify matters that are of historical interest (if the information is relevant or not) and to be objective (not let their personal opinions affect the interpretation of data).

This genre of fiction can be traced to Ancient Greek and Roman literature, in the form of oral and folk traditions, novels, plays and other fictional works describing history. Historical fiction comes in several subgenres:
  • Historical writing: This version of the genre approaches historical fiction as evidence-based interpretation. Everything in the story, from settings, characters and events, will be based on recorded facts and as close to reality as possible. The only possible variation from reality may be personal perception. Some common formats for this representation of the genre are the chronicle, the annals, the monumental inscription, the monograph, the treatise and the biography.
  • Documentary fiction: A modern day variant of the historical novel is documentary fiction, also called Docufiction. It is a genre which attempts to capture reality such as it is and simultaneously introduces artistic expression in order to strengthen the emotional impact as well as the representation of reality. Common forms of this genre are the re-enactment.
  • Legend: A legend is a story which has been passed on from generation to generation by word of mouth or passed as folklore. It contains historic facts mixed in with half-truths in the form of mythical elements. Legends usually have important meaning or symbolism for the culture in which it originates.
  • Alternate history: To create alternate history, a writer takes one particular event in time and changes it in some manner. Then, the writer take a modern day look at the world if it had evolved from that changed historical event. Alternate Histories require a lot of innovation and creativity. An often used example, imagine the world if Hitler had won World War 2, where would we all be today?
  • Historical fantasy: This subgenre has stories which are loosely based on historic events. They are created by taking historical facts, then adding fantasy elements such as supernatural creatures and sorcery. Imagine if the Titanic was sunk by a Kraken instead of an iceberg.
  • Fictional biographies: Also known as the biographical novel, this genre provides a fictional account of a real, historical figure. The story is often written with historical accuracy in mind, but artistic liberties are taken in order to meet the writer’s intentions.
  • Historical mysteries: Also known as "Historical whodunits", these are stories with a plot involving the solving of a crime taking place in the past (at least from the point of view of the author). Incorporating historical facts to Mystery stories has been a popular combination for some time. Good examples would be characters like Sherlock Holmes (late 1800’s), Indiana Jones (early to mid-1900’s) and Miss Marple (mid 1900’s).
  • Historical romance: Stories involving a romantic situation taking place in a background with details and characters set in a past setting. These types of stories are popular and have been portrayed many times. Classic examples are Pride and Prejudice or Romeo and Juliette.
  • Nautical fiction: Fiction involving life at sea, most commonly taking place before the invention of the gas powered engine. These stories often deal with historical elements such as the Napoleonic Wars or plundering pirates. A classic example is Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island (1883), or the more recent Pirates of the Caribbean from Disney.

When writing historical fiction, depending on the level of detail and the age of the facts being used, doing so can raise a few concerns, such as copyright, plagiarism or invasion of privacy.

Copyright is the exclusive legal right to control the printing, publishing, or reproducing of material, either literary or artistic in nature, and to authorize who and when others can do so. Issues with copyright can be encountered when dealing with certain historical documents, government records for example, so it is always a good idea to very if copyrights apply. Permissions to use the material can be requested from the rights holder.

Plagiarism has to do with including somebody else’s work in your own. Doing so is incredibly frowned upon, especially from another writer. Like copyright, permission to use the material can be acquired by asking permission from the originator. At the very least, the proper etiquette requires quoting the source of the information being used.

Invasion of privacy refers to the inclusion of personal information in a work, such as a name, address of phone number. Though this may not be a concern when pulling inspiration from historical events older than a hundred years old, using more current events may cause certain issues. When using material that is fairly recent, it is a good idea to modify certain details, such as names and locations, in order to give out any private information.

In closing, I learned that adding historical facts to your fiction helps root the storyline into reality, making it easier for your audience to relate to it and get emotionally involved. I have been researching historical elements for my fiction for the past few years now, but the information I gathered here today has clarified certain aspects of the process for me. Hopefully this has helped you as well.

Until next time.

Cheers,

            Patrick.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

10k Thank you!

Good day Everyone!


              After posting my latest progress update earlier this week, my blog has reached a new milestone: ten thousand views! I want to thank everyone who has stopped by to see how my journey is progressing. I am very grateful for the support and interest everyone has shown to my blog. It has been an incredible year so far, and my goal of having my first individual work published is slowly taking form. Hopefully my research (and mistakes) has proven to be useful to you.


              As my previous thank you notes, (2k, 5k) here is a list of  stats from my blog. These are the top countries who visited my site.


  • 4803  = United States (up 1954)
  • 1295    = Canada  (up 530)
  • 1246    = Slovakia (up 703)
  • 1085    = Russia (up 786)
  • 403     = Germany (up 343)
  • 164      = Ukraine (up 97)
  • 112      = France (up 64)
  • 78        = Ireland (up 78)
  • 54      = Sweden (up 2)
  • 37     = Singapore (up 21)


            Ireland made an appearance on the list at this milestone, which bumps off the UK from the top ten list. The United States and Canada are unsurprisingly still in the lead, but Slovakia and Russia are quickly catching up, having made huge spikes in traffic to my blog!


            A quick look at what my audience reads the most reveals that my author interviews are what draws the most traffic, followed by my writing articles and book reviews. I will try to have many more of these in the following months, and if anyone has suggestions on books they would like me to review, or authors that may be interested to be interviewed, please message me.  
     
Again, thank you, it is truly encouraging. For those of you wanting to help me out even more, be sure to like my Facebook Page!


I hope I can live up to your expectations! See you at the 20k update!
Humbly yours,

           Patrick Osborne