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.

Friday, August 28, 2015

BOOT CAMP LESSON 5: Tone


Welcome back!


This latest edition of Boot Camp will be an exercise in tone, how it affects storytelling and how it can be applied to your work.


Lesson 5: Tone


As I mentioned in my post about Tone, its purpose is to help add atmosphere and mood to a piece of literature. This is achieved by influencing the reader’s understanding or perception of the story, by carefully orchestrating the various literary elements at their disposal, such as the following:

  • Diction: Expressing Tone by paying close attention to their choice of words.
  • Syntax; Creating effect with the grammatical arrangement of words.
  • Imagery; Describing the scenery in a certain manner, with cues that appeal to any of the senses;
  • Details; Informing the reader of important facts, either included or omitted.

In an attempt to better explain Tone, I have put together an example. Here is a basic phrase. The information it gives is pretty basic, and void of any really tone.

Basic phrase:
“John was walking down the street, making his way through the crowd.”

The following phrasess illustrate the same situation, only using different wording. You can see how a change in wording affects the feel of the phrase, this feel is what we call tone.

  • Happy Tone example: “It was a bright, sunny day as John was strolling down the street, casually passing the other people in the crowd.”
  • Angry Tone example: “Jonathan was stomping down the street, unceremoniously shoving his way through the crowd.”
  • Fearful Tone example: “Jay was running frantically down the street. Zigzagging his way through the mob.”

Now that we have established what is Tone and how it is depicted, let's move on to the exercise of the day.

Rules
 
  1. Below you will find 5 generic phrases to work with.
  2. For each phrase, write 3 different versions using the following Tones as inspiration: Happy, Angry and Fearful.
Generic Phrases:
 
  1. Sarah is in the kitchen, preparing breakfast.
  2. Robin is watching the soccer game on the television.
  3. Franklin is playing ball at the park.
  4. The Captain ordered his men to raise the anchor, as preparations were complete.
  5. Carl is in the library, searching for his favorite book.


For those who aren’t afraid to share their entries, feel free to submit your stories as a reply to this post. Remember, this is a game, so no posting bad comments about other people's entries.

Hope you have fun giving this exercise a try. Until next time!

Cheers,

Patrick Osborne

Monday, August 24, 2015

Inspiration Part 4 - Abandoned shack.


Welcome back!



    This months Inspiration post is based off of another abandoned location I randomly came across. This small yet eerie shack is not too far from the side of a road my family takes when going to our camp site. We have been driving past this location for over a year now, and it wasn’t until earlier this spring, when all the leaves had yet to grow, that we actually spotted it.


    Now I can’t exactly reveal where these pictures were taken because this structure is located on private property, so I have to keep the exact location secret.  If you figure out where it is, please respect the owner and ask for permission before inspecting the area.




Both of these pictures were taken at different times of the year. The first was in early May, as the local foliage had yet to fully bloom. The second was later during the summer, where you can see the forest had taken over the shack. We can better understand by looking at these pictures, why it was so easy to miss in the past.





    This small structure has three entrances, one of which is no longer accessible because of the collapsed roof. The main entrance that faces the road, still has a door attached to it, barely. Standing in front of the building, is what appears to be a telephone pole. I am not sure if this was its true purpose, since there are no phone lines area. The sole purpose of this pole now, seems to be to hold up the “Private property, do not trespass” sign.




    Here we get a better idea of what state the building is in. The tin roof in the back of the building has caved in after a branch fell on it.


    Here we see the inside and what is left of its contents. An old boiler, a few tools, some paint cans, and the most interesting object found here; an old tractor engine.


    Looking at a site like this, it reminds me of some thriller type stories. This area feels like the perfect location where a killer would take their victim; deserted and somewhat innocent looking. Thinking outside the box, I could also see this structure in a “coming of age” story or something of the like. The kind of place kids would run off to, maybe to play in or simply to hide from the world.


Hope you enjoyed today’s exploration. I look forward to posting more pictures of my future explorations! Until then, get out there and get inspired!


Cheers!

Patrick Osborne

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

By the Book: Plague Ship

Welcome Back!
 
This "By the Book" installment marks a first for me. Until now, all the books I have read were within the same genres; either fantasy or sci-fi. I had never gone outside my comfort zone, never thinking I would be interested by something outside of those genres. Well, I finally took the plunge (pun not intended) and tried a action thriller by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul entitled Plague Ship.
 
I have a secret... I am jealous of my wifes' reading talents. Whereas I could spend a week reading a novel in my spare time, my wife has this ability of reading through a four to five hundred page novel in one sitting (roughly 8-10 hours). Her entire mother's side of the family are avid readers and spend a lot of time going through books like crazy, borrowing them from each other once they are done. I came across Plague Ship after Linda's mother gave us two large boxes full of books her family had already read. Lets just say we will not be running out of reading material for a while!
 
Plague Ship is actually the fifth book in a series which about the story of Capt. Juan Cabrillo; a man who leads a group of covert and wildly varied ex-military agents. They are a company for hire known as the Corporation, taking on missions that normal military forces would not be able to legally undertake. Their home base is the Oregon; a high-tech ship disguised to look like a derelict merchant freighter. In this story, the crew of the Oregon find a passenger ship abandoned at sea. Upon closer inspection, they find everyone on board was killed by a man-made virus. The storyline then follows Juan Cabrillo's investigation into the origin of this virus, leading him to a cult called the Responsivists. Throughout the story, readers are treated to a head-scratching mystery and to high-octane action. I greatly appreciated this book and would recommend it to others.
 

 
Back of the book:
"For four novels, Clive Cussler has charted the exploits of the Oregon, a covert ship completely dilapidated on the outside but on the inside packed with sophisticated weaponry and intelligence-gathering equipment. Captained by the rakish, one-legged Juan Cabrillo and manned by a crew of former military and spy personnel, it is a private enterprise, available for any government agency that can afford it - and now Cussler sends the Oregon on its most extraordinary mission yet." The crew has just completed a top secret mission against Iran in the Persian Gulf when they come across a cruise ship adrift at sea. Hundreds of bodies litter its deck, and, as Cabrillo tries to determine what happened, explosions rack the length of the ship. Barely able to escape with his own life and that of the liner's sole survivor, Cabrillo finds himself plunged into a mystery as intricate - and as perilous - as any he has ever known and pitted against a cult with monstrously lethal plans for the human race ... plans he may already be too late to stop."
 
 
What I learned from this book:
  • Knowing your source material: Anyone who knows me is aware of my dislike for being on a boat, so the fact that nautical jargon goes miles above my head is no surprise. However, I would not be surprised to learn if Cussler and Du Brul had served on a vessel before, because they have a profound knowledge of ships. This benefits the story greatly, making it all the more believable.
  • Action! : One of my biggest concerns when I try to put a story together is describing action sequences in a way that makes them interesting, rather than a simple retelling of events. This book has shown me how action really should function in a storyline. The authors succeed in making action tense and face-paced.
  • Foreshadowing: The authors successfully draws attention to clues that are important to the storyline, making sure the audience is not left asking themselves where this information came from when the "big reveal" occurs. Keep in mind, even though these clues are (somewhat) pointed out, Cussler still manages to catch the reader off guard.
  • Word Count: We often see the authors handing out information to the audience that is not relevant to the plotline. Most of these come in bits of character development or historical backgrounds. Though this information is not required, it does help the reader grow attached to the characters and the setting. I will be keeping this in my for my own story, as it may come in handy to not only create attachment, but increase my word count (as I fear I may be under the requirement).
For those interested in learning more about the authors, Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul, please check out their respective websites here:
 
Clive Cussler:
Jack Du Brul:
In closing, I would like to thank my wife Linda and her family for not only lending us books, but for the tremendous amount of encouragement in this endeavor 

 
Until next time! 

 
Cheers,
 
Patrick Osborne