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, February 26, 2016

BOOTCAMP LESSON 11: Relationships

Welcome to our monthly writing game!

    In honor of St-Valentine’s day, I decided to create a writing prompt which will help accentuate the importance of relationships within a plot line. The purpose of this exercise is to focus on how different Characters interact with one another, therefore adding depth to the story.

Relationship Triangles

Lesson 11: Character Relationships

Nothing adds more tension to a relationship than a third wheel!

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. The characters are the writer's most important tool, as their interactions help describe everything from their inner thoughts, to the world around them .

The goal of today’s game will be to create Relationship Triangles. Taking three characters, you must create a relationship between them that is believable and sustainable, a task easier said than done.

  1. Below are eight different character roles, each with their own personality and motivations.
  2. Below are three different scenarios, each with their own problematic situation.
  3. Select THREE of the mentioned roles to work with.
  4. Select ONE of the mentioned scenarios to work with.
  5. Using the three selected roles, create a Relationship Triangle.
  6. For all three characters, you must explain how they perceive and interact with the other in the scenario you have chosen.

Character Roles:

  • Mr. Hero: Central character in a story, whom the reader usually wants/expects to win in the end.
    • Personality: Courageous, resolute, honest and  strong willed.
    • Motivation: To ensure balance or keep the peace.
  • Dr. Villain:  Represents the obstacle or opposing force in a story that must be overcome in order to succeed.
    • Personality: Wicked, untrustworthy, determined and back handed.
    • Motivation: To take control of his surroundings.
  • Ally Sidekick: A character that will always assist, either with actions or information, in order to help the plot progress.
    • Personality: Loyal, reliable, helpful and lighthearted.
    • Motivation: To support others in their noble acts.
  • Goon McHenchman: A character who follows orders from a higher authority, usually on the side of evil.
    • Personality: Uneducated, brutish, unwavering and devoted.
    • Motivation: To follow the orders they were given.
  • Master Mentor: To teach or represent the lesson that must learned within the story in order to achieve the goal.
    • Personality: Insightful, wise, patient and selfless.
    • Motivation: To share their knowledge with others.
  • Rascal Scalawag: Rogue character that can play a role on either side of the moral spectrum, but is usually pursuing their own interest.
    • Personality: Manipulative, vulgar, self-centered and lazy.
    • Motivation: To achieve their own goal.
  • Prof. Thinker: Character who is always rational and likes to give reasonable answers to complicated questions.
    • Personality: Intelligent, aloof, eccentric and innovative.
    • Motivation: The advancement of science.
  • Ms. Romance: Love interest of one or more characters. Is usually seen as the goal in certain stories.
    • Personality: Spirited, sensual, affectionate and vain.
    • Motivation: Receiving the adoration of others.

Scenario 1: Deserted Island.

    Being stranded on a deserted island, the characters must live off the land by finding food, water and shelter. Characters may also be forced to fight other survivors for resources if they cannot find a way to cooperate.

Scenario 2: Crime scene.

    Police, SWAT teams and Bomb Squads are all present at a crime scene. Detectives are attempting to uncover the culprit of a crime. How would the characters interact with each other in this situation.
Scenario 3: Space Station.

    The group of characters are stranded on a space station orbiting the Earth. They must work together as a team in order to find a way back home. Will all of them make it back, or will some need to be sacrificed in the endeavour?

If anyone is interested in sharing their entries, feel free to post them as a reply to this article, or send them to me privately. I may create a page for submissions in the future for those who are willing to have their work shared.

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


            Patrick Osborne

Friday, February 19, 2016

By the Book: The Time Traveler's Wife

Welcome back!

    This month’s book review marks my first foray into the romance genre. Apprehensive about reading a love story, I decided to make the experience less jarring by finding a novel that had a hint of science fiction to it. The book in question is “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger, and it had me pleasantly entertained (and maybe shed a few tears).

    This book actually came into our possession after the kids brought it home from the library at our campground. Being a fan of the Doctor Who television series, I was attracted to this book by its title. The idea of time travel made the aspect of reading a five hundred page love story much more interesting to a sci-fi fanatic like myself. In the end, I’m glad I gave it a chance, as it turned out to be one of the best stories I ever read.

    The Time Traveler's Wife” is the debut novel of author Audrey Niffenegger. This book tells the love story of Clare Abshire, a strong-minded artist, and Henry DeTamble, a  resourceful yet troubled librarian. Henry has a genetic disorder known as Chrono-Displacement Disorder, a condition which causes him to time travel unpredictably. The tale examines how an issue like Chrono-Impairment can affect a relationship, exploring themes such as miscommunication, distance, loss, free will and of course, love. Their attempt at a normal relationship, despite dealing with a condition they can’t control, makes for a truly unconventional and original love story.  

Back of the Book:
This is the extraordinary love story of Clare and Henry who met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry thirty. Impossible but true, because Henry suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future. In the face of this force they can neither prevent nor control, Henry and Clare's struggle to lead normal lives is both intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

What I learned from this book:
  • Timeline mastery: The story uses alternating first-person perspectives between Henry and Clare. With Henry bouncing back and forth in time, keeping track of historical events from each character's lives is important. I sometimes had a hard time figuring out why a specific character didn’t know certain information, only to realise they were too young at that point in the story. To help the reader keep track, Audrey states the age of each character at the beginning of each chapter (Example: Henry is 43,Clare is 36, etc). I’m sure the author had to make some sort of chart to map everything out on the timeline.
  • Chrono-Displacement Disorder: Viewing time travel as a genetic disease was an original approach. Dealing with issues like memory loss, disorientation, medical treatments and inevitable death made it feel like a cross between amnesia, alzheimer's and cancer. It added an extra layer of depth to the story, as well as helping the audience get attached to the characters.
  • Foreshadow is a bitch: Being able to move back and forth in time, Henry (and the audience) get to see certain events before they happen. The sad part is, despite knowing the future, Henry comes to the realization that he is powerless to change it. This helps add tension to the story, as readers see devastating events earlier in the story, knowing full well they will inevitably happen later on.
  • Wish you were here!: This section is more of an experience than something I learned. The story takes place in some of the more notable locations Chicago, like the Field Museum or the Art Institute Museum. Having been there last summer, I had the unexpected pleasure of being able to envision the scenes as if I was there. This is the first time a book has had this effect on me, and it was a great experience.

Audrey Niffenegger is a professor in the Department of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago. Published in 2003, “The Time Traveler's Wife” was her debut novel, which became a bestseller after an endorsement on The Today Show. The book was so popular that it became a movie in 2009 (but do yourselves a favor, read the book first).

For those interested in reading more books from Audrey Niffenegger, please check out her website and wiki description, where you can find a listing of her published works and all other pertinent information:

In closing, I would like to thank everyone for the encouragement and for following my blog. And thank you to my wife Linda for the support.

Until next time!


Patrick Osborne

Monday, February 15, 2016

Interview - King Author Royale

Welcome back!

Like my previous writer interviews, I met this month’s author after he replied to one of my requests on Facebook. He not only writes books, but is the founder of a publishing company. So it is my great pleasure to introduce you, King Author Royale.

    When King originally told me the title of his book, I will be honest, I had to look up what hoomomultiamory meant. It is a term I had never heard of before. After reading up on the subject, I gained a deep respect for the man. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been writing a book on such a sensitive subject.

    Even though his subject matter may be controversial, it is still centered on relationships, which fits my theme for February quite nicely. A happy coincidence indeed. So on to the interview.

Short Bio: King Royale is a multi-genre writer from New Jersey and founder of The Royale Press publishing company. He has been a hobby writer for over 15 years.  In 2013, he organized Royale Readings - a writing group for local indie and aspiring authors.  His newly published project #HOMOMULTIAMORY: Love ‘Em All is a self-help book which outlines polyamory for the homosexual culture. This highly controversial topic marks this book as a sure-fire hit – one which is expected to attract the opinions of many.

Published Works: #HOMOMULTIAMORY: Love 'Em All

Current Projects: The Game That Kidd Plays: #FINDINGWADE

The Royale Press, LLC

When did you begin writing?

I remember the exact moment I began writing. I was about 12 years old. I was in the town laundromat with my father and younger brother.

Did you receive any special training or attend a school?

Oddly, I never sought any formal training. In 7th grade my Language Arts teacher assigned a writing project that she helped us to perfect if that counts. (chuckles)

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I am so easily inspired. Someone can say something and I'm like, "That can be a title for a good book." then I come up with a whole plot theme. I get inspired from all kinds of thing but mostly it's a drive to create something from inside my head.

Do you use any special resources when writing?

The only "special resource" I use when writing is a playlist I created to listen to while I'm working. Oh, and a wireless keyboard and mouse. I have to be comfortable while I'm writing. (...lol...)

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

To always stay true to what you want to do. Never be afraid to be creative. No one has the right to dictate your imagination.

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

The most challenging part of writing sometimes can be that infamous block we writers experience. Yes, it is real. You’re a writer too Patrick; you know it's real.

Did you use an agent?

I did not use an agent. I wanted the responsibility of learning how to do what I needed to do by doing it myself.  In the future I may seek out some agents... or vise-versa.

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

I did use an editor. Jessica Barrow of S&B Manuscript Editing And Critique. She is amazing and I expect to be working with her for quite a while. In fact she's currently working on my new project. I think any good writer will be humble enough to realize we are not editors (the majority of us). Our expertise is writing not editing.

How did you get your book published?

Well I started my own publishing company and published my book through it, so I guess that would qualify as self publishing. I did publish online through Amazon.com and Createspace.

Do you handle your own marketing?

Yes. I felt in order to run a publishing company and publish for other novelist/authors, I have to be hands on. I do what I have to do. I'm definitely still learning but I'm getting it.

What is your best marketing tip?

DO NOT try to do everything yourself. There are people out there who have the qualifications and skills you need; seek them out. Social Media is your friend.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

(thinks for a moment) Honestly no. We are all different and what I can imagine, you can't, and what you can imagine, I can't.  The only "advice" I have is Keep Writing.

What challenges did you encounter writing about a controversial subject?

People's understanding. That was a challenge. Because I had to speak with SEVERAL people (every kind of person) and had to reveal some of my personal life choices, to be through, I subjected myself to some really hard and hurtful judgements. But in the end it was worth it.  I came out with a great book. (knods)

Hopefully everyone will take something away from this interview. I know I was inspired, and this interview has made me realise just how hard some writers have to work at their craft. I would also like to give a heartfelt thanks to King Author Royale for taking the time to take this interview.

Until Next time,

Patrick Osborne

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Welcome back!

    In honor of St-Valentine’s day, this month’s writing article will cover the literary genre most fitting of the celebration of love: Romance.

For many writers, composing a romance story can be a difficult thing to master, because it is a genre they may not be familiar or comfortable with. Any discomfort from the writer will be reflected in the text, resulting in story that will feel forced and awkward. The truth is, romance is not only a genre robust enough to stand on its own, but is flexible enough to be combined with any other category in storytelling. For those who believe their style does not work well with romance, they can certainly ease into the genre by finding a way to incorporate it in a story that suits them better.

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. So how exactly does Romance differ from other genres? In romantic movies, the mood is set through actors performances and their interactions with each other. The same can be said for romance novels, however in books, the audience have the added benefit of being privy to the characters innermost thoughts, feelings and sensations (for more information see my post Showing and Telling).

In order to be successful, Romance stories must explore the protagonist's innermost feelings, their interactions with their love interest and a source of conflict which puts their desires in jeopardy. Let us see how these elements contribute to the Romance genre.

The characters internal feelings.
Conflict, Disagreement, Discussion, Arguing

As I have mentioned before, the characters are the writer's most important tool. This fact is especially relevant in romance, since at the heart of great love stories are two strong, three-dimensional individuals. These people are the link between the reader and the story, serving as the translators of the world around them.

For the characters to properly serve their purpose, they must be appealing and sympathetic, to the point where readers will care for what happens to them. This is vital, as their feelings are the central part of the story, taking importance over all else.

A key component to the romance writing process, is that the audience is privy to what goes on in the protagonist's internal thoughts. Romance is best reflected through character reactions in three ways: the mind (with reactions such as daydreaming or thinking about someone obsessively), the heart (with feelings such as love or yearning) or the body (with sensations such as heart palpitations or jitteriness).

Character relationships
Love, Heart, Kiss, Hearts, Kissing, Couple, Happy

Ultimately, all good love stories are about the journey between two people and the relationship that blossoms from it. But to be convincing, the writer must succeed in making the bond between the protagonists seem plausible. Keep in mind that in real life, no relationships are perfect 100% of the time, so the same should apply to fiction as well.

A romance requires deep internal bonds between the characters, so work on their interactions. Some novels focus on passion and the heat of the moment, but relationships are about commitment and the long term. To make your story seem real, have your characters live through a wide range of emotions. Couple should get angry at each other, get anxious about the others feelings, or act corny to make each other laugh. If you go with real, down to earth feelings instead of overly exaggerated ones, it will make it real the audience and will be enjoyable to read.

Another key aspect to relationships is communication. This also applies to fiction, where dialogue helps the characters share their thoughts, not only with each other, but with the audience as well. Good dialogue should show the relationship between characters, move the story forward and increases the tension in the story, but remember to always keep it relevant and consistent to your characters.

Argument, Conflict, Controversy, Dispute, Contention

As I mentioned earlier, Conflict is the obstacle which hinders the progress between the protagonist and their goal. It is an essential element in literature, because it creates tension and excitement, and without it, a story has no purpose other than to be informative.

Unlike stories based on genres like action or horror, the conflict in romance is based on the emotional turmoil of the main protagonist. Two types of conflict can be used in romance: internal and external.

Internal Conflict
Mostly, internal conflict focuses on the main characters struggles related to their personality, motivations and aspirations. Being intimately knowledgeable of the characters point of view or their inner dialogue works well in romance, because it allows the reader to better sympathize with them as they live their life and find love.

Falling in love can be a challenge for certain characters. One example could be a person incapable of approaching someone out of fear of rejection. Another could be a character not wanting to fall in love as they are still dealing with a recent loss.

External Conflict
External conflict happens outside the main characters control, originating from situations, the setting, or other characters. External conflict should only be used in tandem with internal conflicts, and never draw attention away from the main characters point of view or their inner dialogue.

Relationships are often subjected to a variety of different conflicts from outside sources. It can be anything from misunderstanding someone's intentions, an embarrassing incident during a social event or a jealous lovers interference.

Couple In Love, Passion, Shadow, Silhouette

A good romance is heavily descriptive, breathing life into scenes, emphasizing on the thoughts, feelings, and sensations characters are experiencing. From intimate moments to  hot and physical lovemaking, the writer must master the level of intensity needed when describing these scenes.

This was not an easy post for me to write, as I felt my inexperience in the genre was obvious. The most important thing I learned today, is that if you are going to be writing romance, stay within your comfort zone.

Until next time!


Patrick Osborne

**All images in this post were taken from Pixabay, and are considered public domain under the Creative Commons law (CC0)**