Sunday, February 26, 2012

MMORPG to Book Inspiration

I have always loved video gaming. It started with Final Fantasy I in 1987 for the Nintendo. But when I stumbled upon Massively MultiPlayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG's) on computer platforms, well that took it to a new level for me. I tried a number of them but Dark Age of Camelot sucked me in. It was like being a live person in an everchanging story, all in real time. Imagine building a fantasy player of yourself different from every other "gamer". You chose your name, gender, race, (21 of them!) class, (45 of them!) and various attributes for your Avatar. Of course your real life personality came into gameplay as well. It is way too extensive to explain in a post but the combinations were endless. So besides the various books and movies I read and saw, this gaming world really helped me mold the  characters in my novel, especially after adventuring for years in the world of DAOC.

The main character in my book, Mykleos, a Hunter, came from that game. A half-elf who was taller and stronger that an elf, but not not quite as powerful as the more thickly built humans. Yes, Mykleos' elf lineage gave  him better agility than the normal human, but not quite as much as a full blooded elf. Whereas elves could wield swords and daggers, the two handed swords were too much for them. But not for Mykleos. And Mykleos could wear some heavier armor as well giving him a defensive advantage.

A secondary character in my book named Edge, was modeled after an avatar of a great friend of mine, Sean, who so happens to live across the Atlantic in Cardiff, Wales. His "toon", which avatars are affectionately called, was a Shadowblade named "Pasanda", which is actually the name of a curry dish. As a Shadowblade, Pasanda could "dual wield" both a sword and dagger, use poisons on his blades, and if he hit a foe from behind he could stun them momentarily. While both of us were "stealthers", meaning we could remain hidden from other players until we either attacked them or they got close enough to us to "pop" us into sight. Pasanda had better stealth than Mykleos, so he was much harder to find and we used that to our advantage.

Here was our fun... I would sneak up and smack an enemy pretty good with my huge sword, surprising them with the amount of damage I dealt them. Hunters were known for their use of bows, not blades. Of course, now that they could see me their eyes would widen thinking they could kill me pretty easily now. But they had no idea that I could take much larger amounts of damage than other hunters in the game since I "built" that into my toon. Still, I was no match for a strong Dwarf Berserker or highly armored Ogre Paladin. That's when Pasanda would sneak up behind them as they were fully engaged with me and poison/stun them. Down they would go. I could almost hear the person at their own computer cussing as he saw his own toon die at our hands.

The fighting strategy described above was only a small part of the game. But all of the cooperative experiences DAOC gave me, the storming of the keeps, the searching for treasures, exploration of new lands, along with the multitude of character building the game offered, definitely gave me a huge background to draw upon when writing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Who Do You Write Like?

I found this little tool somewhere and thought I would try it out on myself. You can view my results below. Pretty cool!

Check which famous writer you write like with this statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers.
Any text in English will do: your latest blog post, journal entry, comment, chapter of your unfinished book, etc. For reliable results paste at least a few paragraphs (not tweets).

Here is the link:


My Badge

I write like
J. R. R. Tolkien
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal softwareAnalyze your writing!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

15 Minutes With No Edits - Quickies Can Help Build Skills

Something just wasn't right. Even in my state of semi-consciousness I could tell. Maybe that's what woke me. As my eyes attempted to focus, all I could make out was the tiny red glow from the alarm clock, the rest of the room pitch black. Blinking, the clock read:

2:17 A.M.

I have always enjoyed earth tones as does my partner, so she and I had repainted the entire house in colors ranging from a dark chocolate to beige. The medium brown walls in the bedroom were wonderful for quick afternoon naps. In the middle of the night however, it was dark. Really dark.

2:18 A.M.

Having slept in this room for nearly fifteen years, I am quite familiar with it. By now, finding my way from the bed to the bathroom in the middle of the night is more of a memory thing than a sight thing, so navigating a bedroom as dark as this one could be has never been a problem, even on a night like tonight when the cloud cover hid nearly all of the moon's illumination.

And I have to admit, my television watching isn't much to speak of. Mostly paranormal stuff like "Ghosthunters", cryptozoology type shows, etc. There is enough stress in my job during the day so other than a bit of "Grey's Anatomy" I don't need any more drama in my life. "Finding Bigfoot" on Animal Planet is a hoot. In fact, just last night's episode had the creature hunters... yawn.

No more noises... My mind is still active but I'm starting to drift...

2:21 A.M.

Huh!? What was that? My ears catch a rustling sound in the left corner of the room near the small pile of clothes that I had stripped off and thrown in a corner to take to the laundry room in the morning. Surely no Bigfoot had entered the room unnoticed. Besides, why would Bigfoot be rumbling through my clothes in the middle of the night? Squinting my eyes to see better, as if that was going to help, I look in the direction of the sound. There it was again. Let me grab the flashlight... Damn, it's by the backdoor so I can use it to let the dog out. Where is that dog anyway? Nothing like having a protection trained rottweiler in the house who doesn't do his job. Then again, old fella is nearly twelve years old now and his senses aren't what they used to be. He has however increased his skills in the snoring department.

Swish! What the...? A shadow just bolted from the corner to the other side of the room. Ok, definitely not Bigfoot. This is starting to creep me out now.

What's that?!!!

Click, click, click. Tiny footsteps are making their way towards the bed. Like a kid I pull up the sheets around me, pulling my knees to my chest. Can't see a thing. Crap. "Whatever it is" has stopped at the foot of the bed. Keeping an eye on the footboard, I slowly turn to reach for the lamp on the bedside table. ACK! Two tiny yellow-green eyes rise above the edge to peer at me just as my fingers touch the on-off button and turn on the light. A squeek of pain comes from it as light fills the room and flashes off it's short razor sharp teeth, exposing it's form to me.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

In the Quest of Fantasy

Seated in this cold den with the dark form of Cerberus lying at my feet, I sit and ponder the first words I would write here. Looking up again and again, I watch five brave knights dressed in matching blood red capes battle a "Questing Beast" as a magician steps forward to attempt to save his friend, a royal prince, from the bite of this basilisk-like creature. A flash of bright blue-white light emanates from the conjurer's long thin fingers, shooting straight for the monster and penetrating it's green scales, killing it. 

Of course the den really isn't too cold especially when I am covered by a hand made comforter that my mother quilted. Uh, oh, Cerberus just woke up and has now laid his head on my lap seeking attention. Considering that the cerberus was mostly depicted as being a three headed hellhound, I must admit that the canine brute with his massive head now warming my legs is actually my rottweiler. Fiction is all in the mind of the writer.

But what of the knights and the prince and the magician and questing beast? Watching old episodes of the television show "Merlin" while I write is of course the answer there. 

Where I will take you in my posts is not entirely known to me, but the theme will be of one of the genre of Fantasy.