25 August 2012

The Importance of Reading in a Text Based RPG

Patrick slipped his headset into place, securing the ear piece and twisting the microphone closer to his mouth. He reached for his bag of Cheetos and grabbed a handful of the thin, corn nuggets, then tossed the bag aside.

Seconds later, Todd's voice streamed through the receiver, "First lesson of a text-based role-playing game is to find a target that will fight back and then see what happens after you attack it."

"Okay, so let's try that newbie farm you were telling me about." Patrick was anxious to get started. He wanted Todd to show him this mysterious new text-based game he'd been playing for the past six months.

"When you see a portal, just type enter portal and it'll teleport you to where I'm at in the game. From there, follow Marythtor. That's me. Oh, and don't forget to wield your weapon."

Patrick nodded once as an assurance to himself that he will follow and learn. Then he logged into the game.


A portal

You enter the portal

You are transported through thin air and arrive at the Eastern Farm!

Marythtor, the swordsman

Marythtor opens a gate

Marythtor leaves east

You follow Marythtor east

You have entered the farmyard!

Marythtor, the swordsman

A Yellow chick

Marythtor looks at A Yellow chick

You look at A Yellow chick

You say, "I should attack the Yellow chick, right?"

Marythtor says, "That's up to you. But you'll never know unless you try it."

You attack A Yellow chick with your tiny fists

You are not wielding a weapon!

A Yellow chick bites you

You are gushing vital fluids!

You hit A Yellow chick with your tiny fists and do little damage

A Yellow chick bites you

You shrug off your mortal coil

You must pray before you can do anything else

You pray

You have been resurrected in the Temple of Vivoria

Marythtor enters the Temple of Vivoria

Marythtor laughs at you!


Patrick placed a finger to his headset. "Tell me I didn't just die to a little yellow chick."

"That was freaking hilarious!” Todd’s laughter bellowed through. "Did you read the description? Dude, that chick was like seven feet tall. Who the hell attacks a seven foot bird without a weapon?"

Patrick removed his headset and spoke into the mouth piece, "Good night, prick."

The End

If you liked this, you should play Threshold.

16 August 2012

Are You In The Closet with your WIP?

I guess I was a bit flattered yesterday. I want to share this story with you. I think it is something we've all dealt with as writers. I like to consider myself a bit of an artist though, so it's a little personal when I am working on something and someone wants to have a peek before it's finished.

Of course, I share my work with my critique groups because they understand the art of writing a novel and they provide valuable feedback. I even share with you guys and I truly appreciate the feedback.

However, when someone who isn't familiar with the process of writing asks to see your work out of mere curiosity, how does it make you feel? I'm sure we're all a little different, or maybe not. I'm not certain, but here goes the situation with me.

My husband just finished his two year CT scan and check-up after having a soft tissue sarcoma removed from his calf. His surgeon took an interest in the book I had with me and this is how the visit ended.

"What's that you've got there?"

I held up the book I was reading to where he could read the title, Bullies, BastardsAnd Bitches: How To Write The Bad Guys Of Fiction by Jessica Morrell.

Now, let me say this. The book is a godsend for me, because we've all been told you must write what you know. Of course, I'm not a bad guy, but my novel features a serial killer, so I have to learn how to portray this type of character at some point, right? Anyway, back to my incident.

The surgeon's eyes opened wide and he said, "So, you're reading this to learn how to write what exactly."

"Oh, I'm writing a novel." The two physician assistants accompanying the surgeon on his rounds now eagerly wait for the next question.

"Really?" The surgeon's surprise was not unlike others who have found out I'm working on a novel in my spare time away from a full time job as a software developer.

My husband, and biggest fan, said, "Yes, really, she's writing a novel." And they all stand around in awe, and I imagine they all may very well believe me to be the biggest geek ever.

"Can I read it?" he said. "If you let me read it now, I promise to buy it when it comes out."

"I'm not finished with it." Now I'm a bit embarrassed because all eyes are on me.

"What's it about?"

"Some bastard," I said. I just couldn't help myself at this point.

Seriously, how do you find yourself reacting to this question? Do you clam up like I did, or do you excitedly gush about your WIP? Is it ever too soon to talk about your novel?

10 August 2012

AW Blog Chain - Fursious Forest

This month's theme for the Absolute Write blog chain is Fire and Ice. I've linked all other participating blogs below. I hope you enjoy!

There would be no indication anything was awry with the exception of the shriveled leaves upon the trees and the browning hay-like underbrush. The sun, unforgiving, basted everything exposed to its rays.

These were the main features blanketing the vastness of Fursious’ Forest.  A forest, once green and vibrant, had become parched and decadent. Despite the beauty of the sun's rays and the sparkle of its reflection from the surrounding ponds and streams, the assault continued through the long summer days.  

The heat would not be contained. A spontaneous combustion in the underbrush burst into flames at the foot of a large tree.  The boughs of the oak swayed with the wind and fueled the hunger of the fiery beast which spread out of control, each living thing a conduit to the next.

The fire raged on for several days, obliterating all things in its path, leaving nothing behind but charred wood and ash.  When the flames dithered away, everything in sight lay blackened. White smoke permeated in swirls and all was quiet but the occasional crackle from the remnants on the ground.

Citizens from all walks visited the famous forest, rumored to have been destroyed by villainous demons.  Fursious also made annual trips to the forest to give blessings and to view the remains of the disaster.

He looked upon his forest with sad eyes, but he knew there was hope, no matter the peril which left this land in a state beyond recognition.  He prayed each day to Lord Belphegore, knowing the God of Battle, Rage and Fire would answer.  Years passed, though his faith in reaching Belphegore did not dwindle.

The day came when Fursious received the answer to his prayers. He had made another visit to the ash-filled grounds of the forest which bares his name.  A small blade of grass sprouted on the ground at his feet, so small that he would have missed it if not for the whisper in the wind which begged him to look down.

What had been destroyed years before became a breeding ground for new growth and the years ahead proved to be the most flourishing ever.

Fursious made several trips to the forest, and each year he visited, he brought family and friends to celebrate the new growth of foliage and wildlife.  The devastation had reaped something more powerful. The grass was greener than before and the flowers more vibrant than ever.

A beautiful blanket of new hope had replaced the stagnant and worn brush from the past.  Fursious' Forest had been reborn.

Visit the following participants in this month's blog chain, Fire and Ice!

orion_mk3 - (link to this month's post)
Ralph Pines -  (link to this month's post)
areteus -  (link to this month's post)
Catherine Hall -  (link to this month's post)
bmadsen -  (link to this month's post)
pyrosama -  (YOU ARE HERE)
meowzbark -  (link to this month's post)
BBBurke -  (link to this month's post)
writingismypassion -  (link to this month's post)
wonderactivist -  (link to this month's post)
SusanneSees-  (link to this month's post)
randi.lee -  (link to this month's post)
Proach -  (link to this month's post)
BigWords - (link to this month's post)
magicmint -  (link to this month's post)
tomspy77 -  (link to this month's post)

05 August 2012

D is for Dialogue Description and Detail

These are three things I look for when I read the first few pages of a novel. They are what sets the tempo of the story. If a book doesn't have a fast enough tempo, I put it down. I know that’s sad, but it’s true. The average reader today doesn't have time to read your eloquently crafted prose. They want to cut to the chase. Give me the meat and potatoes; I have a 4:00 meeting.

Doesn’t that sound horrible? So how would you pace things so that I am willing to slow down long enough to enjoy the tempo of your really great novel?


I’m not talking about putting quotes around nonsensical fillers like, “Hi, Anne! How have you been?” That’s just going to piss me off. That tells me that the author is trying to make his page look aesthetically pleasing. You’re assuming I’m not smart enough to realize your characters may as well be paper dolls.

Use dialogue to flesh out your characters. Don’t force them to talk to each other because it’s what you’re “supposed to do”. When they speak, I want to hear their voices and see their faces. You don’t have to describe this in detail, just use the right words.

“What did you expect?” Jack crushed out his cigarette and reached for another.

“From you? A hell of a lot more.” Anne slung her purse over her shoulder and walked out.

Not the most eloquent writing, but enough to make a point. When I read dialogue, I don’t want it to sound like two old men sitting on rocking chairs in the middle of the desert while discussing the weather. It’s sort of out of place with no direction and pretty much a waste of my time.


If you are the verbose type, spend your energy on description. I love it when I’ve been taken to a tropical island in the Mediterranean or a beautiful mountain top in Vermont.  What I hate is when I get excited to be in a place I’ve never been and literally cannot see or experience any of it. I want to see coconuts on 20-foot palms. I want to see snow falling in clumps at the echo of a gunshot blast. I want to smell the ocean and I want to see a mixture of seashells in glass jars on tabletops in a Moroccan cafĂ©.

There are some descriptions I don’t care for because they have nothing to do with how I experience people or places. What a character looks like isn’t pertinent to me. It’s exasperating when an author feels the need to describe what a character looks like. Beauty is in the eye of the reader. Therefore, I will decide for myself what the hero looks like. I want to imagine the beautiful Princess how I see her. Maybe I think a big nose is more attractive than the cute button nose described.

If I, the reader, am 4 feet tall, maybe I’d feel awkward knowing the hero is 6 foot 5 inches. My goodness! Can you imagine? Use the eight senses in your descriptions and pull me into your scenes. The minute you describe your main character(s), you are excluding me.


If anything annoys me more than nonsensical dialogue, it’s a lengthy, detailed description when a few words would garner more detail.


Her knee-length, black skirt fit close to her hips and thighs and her matching blazer, stitched to perfection, formed a professional image of the soon to be first female CEO of Klinco.

The future CEO of  Klinco wore her custom tailored black Armani suit.

Do you think anything is lost in the second sentence? Maybe some cadence, but at least it’s telling me the same thing and not slowing me down.

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01 August 2012

You Didn't Write That

Can you imagine if someone told you this about something you wrote, a creation that came from your hard work? But, someone allowed you the time to write, gave you an opportunity to lock yourself away so you could produce that piece of work. Someone helped you along the way, somewhere. That's THEIR book.

You have to understand this concept, don't you?

I'm going to jump on the bandwagon here. This post is inspired by Obama's unpopular speech in Roanoke, Va. My husband was born there and he grew up there so we watched intently. Did Obama really say that? "That business, you didn't build that. Other people did, tax dollars built that."

Okay, let me calm my mother down. She's fixing to turn over in her grave. Wait, she's in an urn on my mantle. Forget that.

Let me explain.

My mother didn't speak a bit of English when she came to this country after marrying my father. She raised us kids and was a stay at home mother. However, when my parents' marriage went on the decline, my mother decided she had to work and make her own income. My father eventually left her for a younger woman and she had to work two other part time jobs in order to take care of three children.

The restaurant where my mother worked allowed employee discounts on food, so we ate a lot of Japanese food and my mother saved up enough money (over a period of 5 years) to purchase the restaurant. She worked at her own restaurant as a cook because this helped her to keep the business running efficiently and cost effectively. She owned her business for 25 years, until she developed cancer and died in September of 2006.

Did she build this business? You're damned straight she did!

Did she drive to work on roads built with tax dollars? Yes. Did she PAY taxes? Yes. So, she paid tax dollars that built roads she used to drive her ass to work, to HER business.

Sorry, mom. I promise I won't vote for this man!

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