OTMM Bonus Episode 3

*This is a bonus series episode that takes place elsewhere in the OTMM universe. It occurs between OTMM episodes 15 and 16. It is a bonus to the main plot and is not needed in order to understand the main events.

Galund walked as quickly as he could to the top of the stairs. Once at the top, he reached out and opened a large wooden door. He knew he had taken too long.

“Galund! Where are you!”

The Gatekeeper was furious. As a small reptilian who had been placed as a squire to the Gatekeeper of Camp Kilja, Galund loathed the precarious position that those in power and deemed for him.

The Gatekeeper, who apparently had no other name, was a viscous brute of sheer terror.  He spotted him immediately upon opening the door. There wasn’t a time yet that Galund hadn’t been terrified of the beast’s monstrous size and strength. The largest amongst the Rotundrian Elite, only a handful of high ranking officials and the high kings themselves were more powerful. Getting on his bad sad wasn't an option.

“There you are you little runt! Where have you been! Did you bring what I asked?”

Galund began to speak, but wasn’t able to gather the words.


Finally he forced a mutter, “No, sir…”

With incredible swiftness, the Gatekeeper turned and launched a large wooden table across the room. Instinctively, Galund dove on the floor covering his head.

It had been a while since he had last seen the Gatekeeper this worked up. The bulging muscles popped from every corner of his green body, he stood over seven feet tall and had long, straight green hair that hung from the mane running down the center of his back.

Galund on the other hand was vastly different. He had eyes as big as oranges with tiny arms and legs leading to large hands and feet with long fingers and toes. Disproportionate and awkward, his race, the Kentori, were commonly used as house slaves.

 “Tell me why not!” The Gatekeeper demanded.

“I-I- They- Well, they-“

“Out with it, Galund!”

“They said it’s simply too dangerous,” he took a deep breath and shut his eyes expecting the impending rage that was to follow.

“Too dangerous! For who!”

Galund didn’t know how to answer. The Gatekeeper inhaled deeply and looked out the open window toward the sand flats in the distance.

“They have no other choice but to expand these encampments. Diggers have been digging for months now, and what’s happened? Kilja’s moron brother and a slave boy are on the loose.”

Galund looked around nervously. He knew no one in camp was supposed to know about Tel’Dar’s death, nor the escaped human.

“Should I take them another message, sir?” Galund prayed his boss would say yes so that he may be free for a few moments.


Galund let out a silent sigh.

The Gatekeeper continued, “It’s no use. They refuse to dig in the tunnels for fear of the petal-dwellers. I don’t know what they’re so scared of. In open battle, those flowers crumble like a daisy in the wind.”

“He wanted to tell you that their main concern is Chief Ha’Zakz, sir.”

The Gatekeeper let out a sudden, “Ha! That old bat? Sure, once upon a time he was a real threat, capable of harnessing the energy of life forces around him to transform into a real nightmare! But he’s years passed his prime…. They age nearly as bad as human’s do, and Ha’Zakz is bound to be nearing the end of his life. That is, if he hasn’t already.”

Galund was intrigued with the Chief, but didn’t want to admit it to the Gatekeeper. “So do we go into the tunnels after we confirm his death?”

The Gatekeeper snorted and replied, “It’s no use. Once the Chief dies, his powers will be transferred to a Chief in waiting. There’s always going to be one like him… he’s best avoided if possible.”

Galund looked through the window as well. With Kentori eyesight, he could see for miles. He was still trying to shake the scene he had last seen through the window- a scene he had decided to keep to himself. A human, dressed in black, beheading the overseer’s brother.

“Well…” The Gatekeeper said, “Get out!”

Galund gave a quick, “Yes, sir,” stepping outside and began making his way down the stairs.

“Somethings,” he thought to himself as he walked, “are best kept unsaid.”

How to Make Yourself Work When You Don't Want to

There are a number of professions that allow people to go to work for eight hours, clock out, and go home. Unfortunately, many of us don't have one of these professions and must continue to find a way to put in extra hours even when we make it home for the evening. Professions like teaching that require intensive planning, grading, and otherwise simple worrying causes millions of Americans to go to bed without having done one recreational activity for the day. Regardless, this extra work must be done. So how do you learn how to make yourself work when you don't want to? The following tips should get you started in the right direction.

Separate Your Hobby from Your Work

Have a desktop computer with two monitors? Unplug one. If you're like me, you're incapable of focusing on two things at one time. Running Microsoft Word on one monitor and a movie on the other might take a edge off the boredom, but you're really just killing your productivity. Focus on completing the work you need to finish first so you can sit down and enjoy your movie properly. 

Acknowledge Your Procrastination  

They say the first step to solving a problem is admitting you actually have a problem. If you're someone who is notorious for putting things off, noticing when you're passively avoiding work is step one. People only put things off when there is room to procrastinate. If the due date for your assignment is still a ways off, force yourself to take one mini step in the direction of the completion of your project. This small start will ease the stress of the work load and allow you to complete your work at a steady and healthy pace.

Make Sure Family and Friends are on Board

Family and friends can be the number one obstacle to overcome when working on your so-called "free time." Most of the people in your life won't understand what your profession entails like you do. Make sure they know that, at certain times, you need to get work finished so that you may spend quality time with them.

Work on the Go

Yes, it seems counter productive to work on the go, but sometimes you can accomplish much more than you would think during small periods of downtime throughout the day. Take this article as example. This article was written on and off on my iPhone throughout small periods of downtime. Whether you're riding in a car, waiting on a phone call, or sitting at the doctor's office, your mobile device is your best friend when it comes to professions that involves writing or other presentations.

Learning how to make yourself work is one of the most difficult tasks one can undertake. After all, is it called work for a reason. Sometimes it simply takes some grit of the teeth and severe willpower, but with a little practice, you can condition yourself to do nearly anything. 

Which Subject Should I Teach? Why English is so Different.

It seems as though high school graduates fall into into two categories when they move on in their education. Either they have their heart set on one particular field, or they honestly have no idea what they will be doing. From my experience, these two mind sets have one thing in common: they'll both likely change their mind about their field at one point or another. 

For those who settle on teaching, there's an entirely new dilemma altogether: which subject should I teach? As a high school English teacher, I'm here to tell you first hand: there's English, and then there's everything else. 

Your Choices are Limited

Most high schools don't exactly have the most impressive selection when it comes to the courses they offer. This leaves potential educators with a rather limited spectrum of choices when considering a field they would like to teach. While there are certain electives like automotive and carpentry which are usually offered, most would-be teachers choose between the core content: math, history, science, and English.

What Makes English so much Different?

English educators are asked to teach an entirely different mindset from those who teach in other disciplines. Math, science, and history are all very objective: 2+2 will always equal 4; the Earth will always revolve around the sun (I hope!); and cells will always have a nucleus at their center. The point is this: these subjects rely heavily on factual recall; English does not.

English relies on students to see the world in shades of grey rather than black and white. There are a million and one ways to start an essay with most of them being no more "right" than the other. As an English teacher, you're asked to teach students who are naturally poor writers (a skill that takes talent) to become exceptional. The ability to teach subjectiveness is a skill one must possess in order to be a good English teacher. 

Are you saying I shouldn't teach English?

Absolutely not. If you have a passion for writing and are able to think outside the box with your instructional practices, go right ahead. My only advice is this: if you want to teach students facts about the civil war then quickly grade a multiple choice exam, teach history. If you want to teach students how to examine the civil war arguing the perspective of both the north and the south, then grade a stack of essays, teach English.

Either way, you'll end up teaching history. 

Finding a Job as an English Major

Let's be honest- finding work as an English major sucks. You're constantly reminded about how dead the field is by everyone you speak to, and the phrase, "starving artist," crosses your mind far more than you would like. Fortunately, English majors do have options when it comes to employment. But on the other hand, many of these fields are either difficult to get into, or require a serious self-starter mentality.

Fields that Employ English Majors:

Individuals and companies alike need writers. It's finding clients that don't already have established writers to work with that's the problem. If you're interested in technical writing, copywriting, SEO, or other forms of dedicated writing, it's likely that employers in your area need these kinds of services... which brings me to my next point...

All Permanent Writing Gigs Require Experience 

It's the chicken and the egg all over again. How can I get work if I have no experience? How do I get experience if I have no work? This is where freelancing comes into play. By advertising your services to organizations in the area, you give yourself an opportunity to build a portfolio that allows employers to see your potential. However, many employers would rather see you have experience in a related field through an internship. It's possibly worth your while finding an internship rather than throwing up a website and diving in feet first.

Conclusions About English Majors

You'll spend a lot of time questioning how you spend your time. Would it be better to seek permanent work, find an internship, or throw up a website and dive into freelance? If you're the creative type who wants to wow the world with your words, choose a path and stick to it. There are options. Be determined to find success with what you love- you'll get there eventually.

So! In order to help you out with this dilemma, I've decided to compile a number of websites that I think are useful when searching for employment:

I think this site! If you think you have what it takes to write excellent copy, connect with others, and make big impressions in a big way, you should check this out. This site hosts a number of resources that are ripe for the picking.

Interested in taking the self-made route? If so, blogging could be a lucrative field for you. However, take it from me when I say that promoting and writing for a blog is more than full-time work. If you want to be successful, it takes a lot of time, dedication, an interesting niche, and a great perspective. ProBlogger addresses everything you need to know about this and more!

Other than just having an awesome name, this post does an excellent job explaining what one must do to get into technical writing. Some people actually enjoy sitting down and simplifying long, boring instructions into more cohesive, comprehensible text. If you're one of these said people, take a gander at that site there! (I'm from Eastern Ky and reserve the right to use the word "gander.") 

I've been to this post more than once. It gives hope to English majors everywhere that maybe, just possibly, you didn't make a stupid decision when you decided that your heart was set on writing. This post discusses the possibility of pursuing a career not directly related to writing. See for yourself!

Now! Here's the thing. You can read, and read, and read, but nothing finds a job better than actually getting out finding one. Call people, e-mail contacts, search the good ol' jobs listings and apply, apply, apply. 

....Or just write the world's next best selling novel... that works, too. 

Game of Thrones: The Red Wedding-- A Writer's Perspective

Sunday night's episode of Game of Thrones sent fans into a frenzy. And while I will refrain from discussing some of the more specific details of the red wedding (who bites the dust), I am interested in the way George R. R. Martin engages his audience in story.

I won't lie. As a viewer, I was highly pissed off. Lifting my jaw from the floor was the most work I had done all day. And yet, as a writer, I was interested. Character, whether it be love or hate for that character, is what drives people to view the television screen or turn the next page. It's the conflict that these characters take part in that ultimately makes us root for them or against them.

Unfortunately, the fact that the hero nearly always saves the day has left us a wee bit sanitized. We always feel as though the hero will find a way out of sticky situations. The Red Wedding proved otherwise. Martin has successfully developed a universe where your favorite character might bite the big one on the next page. It's this constant fear for your character's life that sets the Game of Thrones universe in motion. One more page turn, one more minute, and perhaps your character loses the battle.

I knew something was coming because I watched the episode late. The internet was stirring with talk about the Red Wedding.

And it still got me.

I STILL went to bed having felt like someone I actually knew had just died.

Regardless, as much as we don't want to admit it, that's good writing. George R. R. Martin is a wizard who has the ability to manifest real people from the page and his willingness to kill these people that sets him apart from the rest.

5 Tips for Character Development in Fiction

Whether you're creating fiction or reading it, character development in fiction is what turns the cogs and makes interest happen. In order for fiction to capture the minds of those who read it, an author has to devote a serious amount of time to the construction, and continual change of a character, or set of characters. As a high school English teacher, I know first hand that many young writers struggle with the development of character. It's for that reason that I've put together the following list of things to consider when developing new characters.

Every Action has a Reaction

In order to truly be able to implement your character, you need to understand how your character would act in a variety of situations. Keep in mind, your character, as far as yourself and your readers are concerned, are living breathing people. Imagine your character's reaction if he/she were to accidentally run upon a snake. Would they stay calm and collected, or would they lose their cool? Knowing your characters well will shine through in your writing.

Physical Detail- Don't Overdo it.

Yes, it's important that your readers gain a mental image of your character, but you don't need to dedicate an entire chapter to your character's appearance. Give your readers some interesting information and move on. Every one needs a face to put with a name, but a sentence for every freckle isn't needed. 

Flaws are Required

Character development in fiction requiresone thing above all else- make certain that your character, or characters, aren't perfect. In order for your character to take part in an interesting conflict, your character needs flaws. If he/she is perfect, they will solve their problem quickly and move on. Unfortunately, so will readers. Character flaw allows readers to sympathize for your character and watch them grow.

Avoid the Stereotypical

It's difficult, but avoiding the stereotypical is a must. Creating and developing unique characters hinges on your ability to be creative. It's OK to garner ideas from other sources- I get them all the time- but a character should not be ridiculously similar to another from a similar genre. Use these ideas to form a base and twist them until they become living, breathing people that are yours and yours only.

Don't Start at Rock Bottom

Readers won't be interested in your story if your character has nothing to lose or gain as a result of the conflict. For example, if you're going to start your character as a billionaire who has the perfect life, a story about that character winning the lottery won't mean a whole lot. Likewise, if your character already has a miserable life to begin with, one more problem won't interest readers a great deal. Just be sure to balance your character's lifestyle with the conflict at hand so that your story is of interest to readers. 

Character development in fiction can be a very interesting and fun experience, but if you want people to read your work, it has to be done correctly. Develop characters that people remember and characters that are specific to their personal experience with your story. Who knows, you may just create lifelong fans.