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, August 14, 2017

Inspiration part 21 - Cattle Farm

Welcome back,


While looking through my old files, I found several unused photos from my urban explorations. Given I have no overall theme this month, it is the opportune moment to showcase this material.


This article will feature an abandoned cattle farm. This location has closed for a long time. Since then the land was sold and now has houses built on it. However, the original barn is still present, so I took the opportunity to investigate the area.


**Please note, that abandoned locations are dangerous and one should not travel there without permission or supervision. These photos were taken from a safe distance.**


A cattle farm is a workplace normally consisting of a large tract of land along with facilities needed to raise livestock (especially cattle). In this case, the main barn was still present, along with enclosures where cattle were kept and herded onto vehicles. Since I could not enter the building for safety reasons, the article will focus mainly on two parts of the building; the barn itself and the enclosure.


           First, let us take a look at the enclosure. It is mainly composed of wooden fencing, meant to contain cattle within a desired location, and to navigate them to a ramp for loading them onto a vehicle. We can also see a few feeders, where the farm hands would place food for the cattle. In this instance, the fence has not undergone maintenance in years, so you can see it falling apart in some locations.


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           Then we have the barn. The building has tin roofing and metal siding which, though they have lost their color over time, are not rusted. The entire structure is supported by a system of wooden beams, which has started to mold. There is a wooden staircase on the side of the barn which leads to the upper level, and is now completely overtaken by plants.

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           A structure of this nature could serve as inspiration for a few different story types. Could be part of the setting in a western, or maybe in a romance between a ranch hand and the farmer's daughter. Maybe a murder/mystery story can use this location as the dumping ground of a crazed serial killer. Perhaps a comedy about a protagonist learning to be a rodeo clown. We could even use this location in a horror story, much like Hershel’s farm from the Walking Dead series.


Hope you enjoyed today’s exploration. I had a great time, and maybe these images will come in handy for your next story. Until then, get out there and get inspired!


Cheers!


Patrick Osborne

Monday, August 7, 2017

Interview - Robert Enders

Welcome back,


           For this month's interview, we have the pleasure of meeting published author, Robert Enders. Robert and I met on one of the many Facebook writing pages after I posted that I was looking for published writers to interview. Like so many other authors, he finds time to balance writing with a full time day job. We both worked in private security, so I found his idea on writing a story about security guards interesting.


           So on to the interview!


Image result for Robert Enders book


Short Bio: I have worked in private security since before 9/11. I have put out fires and sent bad people to jail. But more importantly, I have prevented fires from starting and deterred people from illegal activity. When private security is done right, nothing exciting happens. When exciting things do happen, my employer won't allow me to talk about them. Sometimes I write opinion pieces for thelibertyconservative.com , a political website.


Published works: A Long Way From Tipperary (novel), Over the River And Back Through Time (short story included in Novopulp Anthology II).


Current Project: I'm working on a novel about security guards. It's NOT autobiographical. It's meant to be funny. I keep hearing "Write what you know" and private security is what I know.




When did you begin writing?


I've given storytelling various levels of effort since elementary school. I wrote my first story intended for publication in 2005.


Did you receive any special training or attend a school?


I attended public school. I have a BA in political science from Indiana University.


Where do you get your inspiration from?


During quiet days and nights at work when nothing is happening, I imagine bad things happening to my characters.


Do you use any special resources when writing? (other books, computer programs, etc)


I use Scrivener and Write or Die on my computer.


What is (in your opinion) the most important thing to remember when writing, and why is it so important?


Remember that fiction is entertainment. Give the reader a reason to read your story instead of watching Netflix.


What is (in your opinion) the most challenging part of writing, and how do you overcome it?


Staying focused on one story until it's finished. I have a lot of ideas, but I can only follow through on a few of them.


Did you use an agent? (why or why not?)


I did query agents to represent my novel, but none of them took me up on it. Agents tend to look for something that they can find a publisher for. Often that happens to be anything similar to recent bestsellers and movies. I am open to working with an agent in the future though.


Did you use an Editor? If not, what process did you use to edit your work?


I did work with an editor. She had me print it out and put it in a 3 ring binder. I also put my novel on my Nook, and read it as if it were a e-book. The story will look different on paper or on a tablet than on a computer monitor, so you'll catch mistakes that you didn't catch when you were writing.


How did you get your book published? (self-published, Vanity publishing, Mainstream publisher).


I self-published it through Kindle Direct Press.


Do you handle your own marketing?


Yes. I wish I didn't have to. I would rather be writing books than selling them.


What is your best marketing tip?


Make sure you have a product that people might want first, then use any opportunity to talk about it. Don't let it be the only thing you talk about, or you can expect to be unfriended on Facebook.


Do you have any advice for other writers?


Keep your expectations modest. Don't treat this as a way to get rich quick. You can write whatever you want to write. But if you are looking to get paid, you are going to have to do a lot of research and work very hard. And even after all that, you might make only $50 on a story that you spent months on. It's not a waste of time if you enjoy doing it, but don't expect it to pay all the bills either. Also, try not to be a jerk because you never know who you will need help from in the future.


Hopefully everyone found this interview as informative as I did. I would like to thank Robert Enders for taking the time to take this interview. Your knowledge, experience and participation was very much appreciated.


Until Next time.


Cheers,


Patrick Osborne

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Current Projects part 31

Welcome back!


           The last month has proven to be a veritable cascade of activities! Work has been slowing down after the events for Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, meaning I’ve had more time to work on my personal projects.


Typically, despite the lax workload, I still waited to the last minute to work on next month's articles, so now I’m rushing to get things done. There is no overall theme for my articles during August, so I will be posting material I’ve had stored for times like this.


I have a lot to share with you this month, as well as a lot of new ideas to iron out. So let’s get right to it.

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Earlier in the month, I did a fair amount of progress in terms of writing. While chipping away at the character sheet of my second henchman, Misery, I got a major breakthrough. The document itself did not get that much headway, but when thinking about Misery’s powers, I got this idea which changed a considerable part of my story. Inspiration hit me, then evolved into a wicked little plot twist, which not only added depth to a lot of the characters and the story, but also fixed a few holes in the plotline.


This new idea came from a little modification to a character, and in turn it spawned content for three new chapters. Needless to say I was ecstatic, and promptly added the information on my plotline excel sheet. As a writer, you gotta love it when this happens!


But that was not the only form of inspiration that hit me these past few weeks. During my vacation, I had begun renovation work in my basement; fixing base boards, a window, a door, and the most notable project, tearing down the old bar that came with the house. The bar was a DIY project from one of the previous owners, so it wasn’t all that pretty. Add to that the fact I rarely drink, and the bar suddenly loses all reason of being there. So I began taking it apart, but while doing so, left a big empty space in the room (not to mention a mess).  


The room became a blank canvas. Now in full designer mode, I began researching for ideas for what the basement should look like. Intended to be a gaming room, I searched for video game related content, with a heavy penchant for industrial style. The room is taking shape inside my head, now I only need to work on making it a reality. I will post pictures once the room is completed, but for now, here are some work-in-progress photos.


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           Ever since I decided to learn as much as possible about writing, I began analyzing  every story I read. Of course, books are the primary source of storytelling, but there are also plots in movies, television shows and video games. Though the audience interacts with these mediums differently, many of the same storytelling principles still apply.


           Over the past two years, I’ve actually created a spreadsheet of the movies I’ve watched, and my thoughts on their plotlines. It’s shocking how my opinions on certain movies have changed once I started actually paying attention to the plot, rather than simply following the narrative. I also discovered I can predict story outcomes easily, once I get a feel of the story.


           With this being said, I have been thinking if creating a movie/video game review articles, similar to my current book reviews, would be a good idea. I’m not entirely sure how copyrights or trademarks would come into play in terms of blog posts. If writing these types of articles would be allowed, then expect to see some movie/video game story reviews in the future.


           I have also been considering a few other ideas in order to generate more traffic to my Blog. The first is writing Tweet/Facebook posts that give details of my story, either monologues from my characters, or descriptions of the setting. The second is translating some of my old content to french in order to reach a bigger audience. I’m still working on these ideas, so it is not a guarantee at this time.


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In regards of new material from Missing Worlds Media, there hasn’t been any lore related content released from last month. Two article did get published however, both from the art department. One focuses on animation, and the other on character modeling. You can read the full articles on our kickstarter page:






I would like to mention that I am always looking for more authors to interview. If you, or anyone you know, is a published author and would be interested in having an interview posted on my blog, feel free to contact me. It is a great opportunity to share advice you may have with other writers, as well as free publicity for your own work.


Twitter: @OzmosisCoH


That is all I have for this month. Thank you all for dropping by, your continued support is always appreciated. I hope to see you all at next month's progress update.


    Until then.


Cheers,


Patrick Osborne

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Inspiration part 20 - Horses


Welcome back,
 
Animals have made their appearance in stories of all genres, playing many different roles. In some stories, animals have proven to be so charismatic, that they are portrayed as the protagonist. Some play the role of loyal companion, and can be used as a plot device to help the progression of the story. Others have a symbolic role, representing an aspect of society or humanity. Lastly, they are used as visual elements supporting the accuracy of historical stories.
 
This particular article will focus on one of the most popular animals on the planet; the horse (Equus ferus caballus). Humans began to domesticate horses around 4000 BC, and these creatures have been playing a major role within human cultures ever since. Historically speaking, the horse has served in everything from transportation, agriculture, sports and warfare. Their likeness has also appeared in everything from coats of arms in heraldry, religion of many cultures, mythology and even the Chinese zodiac. Furthermore, many products are derived from horses, including meat, milk, hide, hair, bone, and pharmaceuticals extracted from the urine of pregnant mares. There are more than 300 breeds of horse in the world today, developed for many different uses.
 
           In order to properly include horses into literature, I recommend doing some research, as there is a lot of facts to consider. Let us take a closer look at various aspects of this animal:
 
Physical appearance:
 
Over the course of their evolution, the horse's anatomy developed several traits to better escape predators. A few quick facts about horses; they have a good sense of balance, can reach speeds in the 40 mph range, have close to a 350° range of monocular vision and are able to sleep both standing up and lying down. Horses reach full adult size by age five, and have an average lifespan of 25 30 years.
 
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©Ashley Blair

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©Ashley Blair
 
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©Ashley Blair
 
Horses move naturally with four basic gaits: the four-beat walk,the two-beat trot or jog, the canter or lope, and the gallop. Besides these basic gaits, some horses perform a two-beat pace, instead of the trot. There is also several four-beat "ambling" gaits that are approximately the speed of a trot or pace, though smoother to ride. These include the lateral rack, running walk, and tölt as well as the diagonal fox trot. Knowing the difference between gaits will help describe their movement in stories.
 
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©Ashley Blair
 
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©Ashley Blair
 
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©Ashley Blair
 
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©Ashley Blair
 
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©Ashley Blair
 
Horses were historically used for transportation, sports and warfare, from which a wide variety of riding and driving techniques developed. Using different styles of equipment and methods, equestrians honed their horsemanship skills, focusing on control and balance of both horse and rider.
 
 
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©Ashley Blair
 
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©Ashley Blair
 
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The proper equipment is paramount for communication between rider and mount. Horses are usually ridden with a saddle on their backs to assist riders with balance and positioning. A bridle or related headgear is used to assist the rider in maintaining control over the animal. Many horses are also driven, which requires a harness, bridle, and some type of vehicle (example: carts, wagons, carriages or chariots).
 
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©Ashley Blair
 
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©Ashley Blair
 
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Source: Library and Archives Canada/Credit:Ronny Jaques/National Film Board of Canada Fonds/e000762521. ©Public Domain
 
Humans provide domesticated horses with food, water and shelter. This could be useful when describing the setting in storytelling, using examples such as barns, enclosures or pastures.
 
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©Ashley Blair
 
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©Ashley Blair

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Source: Library and Archives Canada/Topley Studio fonds/a009677. ©Public Domain
 
Although mechanization has largely replaced the horse in modern society, there are certain jobs that still require them. For example, law enforcement officers such as mounted police, search and rescue organizations, park rangers or game wardens still use horses as they are effective for certain types of patrol duties and crowd control. Cattle ranches still require riders on horseback to round up cattle that are scattered across areas of rough terrain where vehicles are less effective. Horses and humans interact in a wide variety of sports, both competitive and noncompetitive recreational pursuits. They may also be the only form of transport allowed in certain wilderness areas, as horses are quieter than motorized vehicles and do not disrupt terrain as much. Horses are still being used today for agriculture practices, such as cultivating and logging. And obviously, horses are still the preferred form of transportation in areas of rough terrain where motorized vehicles are ineffective.
 
 
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Source: Library and Archives Canada/Topley Studio fonds/a013052. ©Public Domain
 
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Source: Library and Archives Canada/National Film Board of Canada Fonds/a157798. ©Public Domain 
 
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Source: Library and Archives Canada/Ministry of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada fonds/a001310. ©Public Domain
 
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Source: Library and Archives Canada/National Film Board of Canada Fonds/e010976130. ©Public Domain
 
As you can see, learning as much as you can about horses can be especially beneficial for a writer looking for inspiration. Maybe you need references for a story taking place in the wild west, a secondary character helping a protagonist in a fantasy or maybe clues for a murder/mystery.

That is all for this month's Inspiration post. I hope you enjoyed it and managed to  learn something in the process. In closing, I would like to thank each of you for dropping by, it is truly appreciated. I would also like to extend a special thank you to Ashley Blair, for providing most of the source material for this article.


Until next time.


Cheers


Patrick Osborne.