Matthew D. Brown (Author)

Dealing with persistant fakes and cybersquatters

January 16, 2019 in other-blogging by Matthew Brown

As you may be aware, this is not the only blog that I write for. I also contribute to Thanet Creative. Which makes sense as I helped found it back in 2013.

I’m breaking in a new section on my blog today, “Other Blogging” where I will talk about blogging I do elsewhere. For this first post, I’m going to talk about blogging about fake Thanet Creative accounts.

The Thanet Canute

One of the things that has always puzzled me is why an entity I have dubbed The Thanet Canute is so obsessed with our little group. Nor am I clear why they are determined to have every fake account they make promote another group – Thanet Writers.

Yes, Thanet Writers used to be part of Thanet Creative (previously Thanet Creative Writers) but is it too much to ask that both sides be allowed to heal, move on, and pursue our different visions for supporting local writing?

Once again, I have found new fakes and once again had to warn people.

I addressed this issue almost a year ago, and still find new fakes regularly.

I’ve no idea what to do about this – other than warn people and report the fakes. If my readers have any ideas, please let me know. Fortunatly these fakes are largely inneffective, unnoticed, and pretty lazily done.

Sorry this one is such a downer. Something more cheerful next time, I hope.

Plotting a game

January 12, 2019 in tpk by Matthew Brown

When I’m not writing or blogging I like play various tabletop and RPG games and sometimes – as the GM – it is my job begin plotting a game. As I said before, running a game is not so different to writing a story. And it is this idea that has driven my latest efforts. Mostly towards creating a sandbox adventure that is as much fun for me as it is for the players. I have been asked to run a game for six players some of whom are veterans of many games and others have hardly played at all. One or two of these players remember another game I ran which got off to a rocky start, took all sorts of crazy twists and turns and then sort of faded out when the characters got to overpowered for me to be able to threaten them properly. Given that was my first time running a Pathfinder game single-handedly, I think I did pretty well. However, this time – I want to do better. These are my thoughts as I get ready to run this epic game. Thoughts, that I should add, I will be careful to keep spoiler free as I know some of the players read this blog.

Master Plot

This idea comes from Great Game Master which is a blog (of sorts) all about how to be an awesome GM. So Mr GGM says that he runs a master plot which ticks along regardless of how involved the players wish to get with the story. Side quests, Mr GGM tries to tie back into the plot so that players can, when they are good and ready, take part in the larger story. Instead of plotting the game and trying to get the players to trigger moments, which was my mistake the first time, I will plot the villain’s plan and just let it unfold in reaction to what the players are doing. This was, to an extent, what I was trying to do with the game I am trying to eclipse (my first one). However, this time I am going to work out the master plot before I start. Then run a story that is just for me to know. I am going to do this because (a) Mr GGM suggests it and (b) because it sounds like a great idea.

Factions and not plot

This is where I disagree with Mr GGM. A grand plot is too easy to derail and a waste of time of the players decide to go off and run a farm or something. Given the group, this is not beyond possibility. Instead, my plan is to simply be aware of a number of factions and players (villains and allies alike) that will be unfolding slowly in the background. That’s the story I, as GM, will be telling to myself. I will be giving the players every opportunity to stumble onto parts of it and take part in the grand story but the journey of their adventures will depend on the players. So rather than plotting a game, I will be plotting a plot and letting my players jump in when they are ready.

I like Fallout 76

January 5, 2019 in fun-distractions by Matthew Brown

I know Fallout 76 received poor reviews but I really like it.

One of the criticisms is that there are no NPCs. Thus there are no characters presented that you can become emotionally invested in.

I disagree.

You arrive in the wasteland only to discover that everyone is dead. Exploring what killed them is the story. It is their story, albeit a tragedy. A tale you go into witht he foreknowledge that there is no happy ending.

For me, Fallout 76 is an interesting exploration of a storytelling technique. A mix of archaeology, history, and wasteland survival.

Yes, it has been buggy. They developers are working on that. It was buggy during the Beta – I just think of my game play time as Beta testing. I’m enjoying the beta test so far.

What really makes the game for me, though, is working through the quests with friends. As an online game, it is largely a social experience. Without that cooperation you might as well be playing yet another solo game. I can always switch to Skyrim if that is what I want.

Then again, wandering arround after the world has ended and looking through the stuff of the people there were here before me, is my idea of a fun game play experience. Honestly, so my stories I have cooked up over the years started with imagining what that would be like.

Maybe that is why my beta readers are still waiting for the rest of last year’s NaNoWriMo (the post 60k part). Sorry folks. New game. There are three more chapters to go. I will get them to you… Eventually.

New year, new me? I don’t think so.

January 2, 2019 in reflections-and-thoughts by Matthew Brown

As soon as the new year arrives it seems half the world posts up a “new year, new me” status update. By the time you reach thirty, will you have been thirty different people. Of course not, just one person who still has no idea who they are.

I am already happy with who I am. I want to enhance that, of course I do. But new me – no thanks. I like myself already.

If you do not feel that you like you, then of course make sweeping changes – become a person you can like. Don’t wait for January to roll around again, just do that right now.

A new regeneration is simply just not the plot I need for this next chapter of my life. That said, a little character development would not be amiss.

Crazy goals for the year ahead

I wrote before about my crazy goals. The headline here is that I want to earn my living as a writer despite the fact that it is hard to do and most people never make it.

If I want to do what few people have done before, I need to aim high and fail often.

To do that I need only three things in my life.

Regular time to analyse what other people do when they fail

You can learn a lot from failures. Your own and other people’s. Failing quickly and consistently is often cited as the path to success.

Step one of my crazy goal is to find examples of what others are doing yet failing to achieve what I aim for.

Examine what sets the successes apart

Modelling the behaviour of success – especially when you have identified what leads to failure can, in itself, lead to success. So I need to look to successful British authors (and other successful authors) and figure out what they are doing right.

Try it out for myself

There can be no success without action. I need to do stuff.

Right now, my plan is to write about whatever I learn and share it. When and if I learn something I can implement, then I will try to document my success or failure in that too.

And now I must begin.

Obligitory Christmas Post

December 25, 2018 in reflections-and-thoughts by Matthew Brown

It is that time of year again when all bloggers everywhere try to write a cheerful seasonal message regardless of the usual topic. This one is mine.

While I have obviously written this humbug of a post on a non festive day, I nevertheless truly hope that you are happy, safe, and warm wherever you are reading this.

Hard to stay cheerful

It is hard to think happy festive thoughts when the truth is a lot of people are not happy, safe, or warm. The BBC tells us that 130,000 children across Great Britain will spend Christmas in temporary accommodation. I cannot even get my head arround how one of the 8 richest countries in the world could let things get so bad.

Then there is this Brexit mess. Regardless of where you stand on the leave-remain spectrum, most people agree Brexit has been bungled. Right now we are facing the possibility of being stubbornly forced into the worst possible deal (the no deal Brexit) or get a second referendum. At least another vote might actually give the government options.

Meanwhile things are getting expensive for no good reason.

So, yeah, happy whatever…

All one can really say is, try to be happy and be kind to each other. The world could use a little more kindness right now.

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