Fantasist's Scroll

Fun, Fiction and Strange Things from the Desk of the Fantasist.

11/29/2006

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lewis!

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Today is C.S. Lewis’ birthday.
For those of you who don’t know him, C.S. Lewis wrote The Chronicles of Narnia, which has been made into movies and mini-series several times. Lewis was a contemporary of J.R.R. Tolkien and, in fact, was part of the same writing group, the Inklings. It was there that the two became fast friends, until their falling out. Lewis, or “Jack”, as he preferred his friends call him, was a convert to Catholicism and became a prolific Christian apologist, penning such gems as The Screwtape Letters, The Problem of Pain, and Mere Christianity. He was a remarkable author and an interesting man.
You can read more about Clive Staples Lews at the website endorsed by his step-son, Douglas Gresham, called Into the Wardrobe.

11/24/2006

Post T-Day Fun Links

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Sheep which is mid-afternoon.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Thought I’d forgotten, didn’t you?

Nope, but I was so in a turkey haze that I had a hard time coming up with good links.
Speaking of turkey, if you have enough leftovers, you can try Leftover Turkey Gumbo. It sounds delicious! And, next year, if you’re into killing your own, try Season Shot, brought to you via Boing Boing. Yes, it’s actually seasoning filled shotgun shells. No idea how well they work, but I love the idea.

I suppose I should mention my host’s delicious, hot, spicy nuts from yesterday, especially since his fiance insisted that I try them, but, I think I’ll wait for the recipe before I share.
Until then, I’m off to the movies!  (I know, I know, I duplicated this from Diary of a Network Geek, but I’m running late!)

"I'm always amazed that people take what I say seriously. I don't even take what I am seriously."
   --David Bowie

11/21/2006

Magna Carta Two

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

As I mentioned in a previous post, here’s my Magna Carta II.

Okay, again, just in case you jumpped in here at the last minute and haven’t read anything else, Chris Baty talked about two Magna Cartas of noveling in his NaNoWriMo primer No Plot No Problem. The first is all the things I think go into a good novel. (That’s what the last post was.) And the second is the list of all the things that I think should be definately left out of a good novel. (That’s what this one is.)

So, without further ado, here’s my Magna Carta II, Elements of “Bad” Fiction:

  • Trick, “O’Henry” endings
  • Characters who do consistently stupid things and never learn
  • Info dumps
  • Characters who preach
  • No action or plot movement
  • Wooden characters without any background or substance
  • Mysteries that can only be solved with information/clues not given in the story ala “Murder She Wrote”
  • Not enough description
  • Too much description, especially with florid prose
  • No one working or trying to make a living
  • No conflict based in responsibility to a real life
  • Magic that doesn’t follow rules or has too many loopholes
  • Not enough explanation of how magic works
  • Inconsistent characters

Sadly, with so few days left and so many words to catch up, I doubt this will ever shape up into an actual novel, especially since I’m so strapped for time, that I’m stealing posts from my other blog, Diary of a Network Geek. Still, it’s been a good exercise and, as I’ve mentioned before, it has gotten me writing more than I’ve written all year long.
Ah, well, maybe next year!

11/17/2006

Dig It!

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waning Crescent

My regular readers may not even know this…

But, I’ve had a long-time obsession with things like steam tunnels, bomb shelters and other abandoned, underground structures. Not to the point of risking my life to explore them, but they’ve always fascinated me.
Well, today’s Friday Fun Links are all brought to you via Boing Boing, and have an underground theme. First, there’s a giant, underground marijuana growing operation. Hey, if these guys can raise weed underground, maybe we can raise food crops and survive a nuclear war!
Next, we have the urban legend that the infamous Seymour Cray, of Cray supercomputer fame, was a secret, compulsive tunneler. Sadly, this turns out to not be anywhere close to the truth, but it sure made a great story!
The next link is to an actual, albiet less genius-like, tunneler in the UK. I mean, look at that guy in the picture. Doesn’t he look like the kind of guy who tunnel under the neighbors?
And, finally, there’s the infinitely more upbeat and fun, Tunnel-Digging as a Hobby. The peppy 1932 copy and clean illustrations sure make it seem appealing, don’t they?

Sadly, in Houston, if I were to tunnel, I’d probably be underwater before I got more than three or four feet. Besides, I have a lot of writing to catch up on if I’m going to even come close on this NaNoWriMo thing! Enjoy the Friday Fun links! (And, yes, this is recycled from my other blog, Diary of a Network Geek. So sue me, it’s been a busy week!)

11/10/2006

Self-Publishing Made Easy

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Oy, what a week!

I’m thousands of pages behind on my NaNoWriMo work and massively over worked, so I’m afraid that today’s Friday Fun Link is not very exciting.  But, it is fun, at least to a geek like me.  This week I bring you a simple article, filled with links, on self-publishing on MSN.com. That is to say, the article is on MSN, and it’s about self-publishing.

Hey, cut me some slack, it’s been a rough week, so click the link and enjoy your Friday.

11/8/2006

Birthday of the Modern Vampire

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Today is Bram Stoker’s birthday.

I’ve been getting the daily e-mail from the Writer’s Almanac for more than a year, but, somehow I’ve missed announcing Bram Stoker’s birthday. If you’ve been living under a cultural rock for the past hundred years or so, you might not know that Bram Stoker wrote the now infamous Dracula. He wrote other books as well, and was quite well known in his own time for his work in the theatre, but he’s most famous for that title character, Count Dracula. At the time, this was quite a novel subject, though, since then, vampires have become rather standard fare in literature, as well as movies and TV. But, it was Dracula that made them, and Stoker, famous. It came out in 1897 and got mixed reviews. It only became a minor best-seller in Stoker’s lifetime. When he died in 1912, the obituaries about Stoker focused on his career in theater, and not a single one mentioned his authorship of Dracula. It wasn’t until 1922, when Dracula movies started to appear that Bram Stoker’s novel became widely known, and, of course, has since become considered a classic.

So, remember the Count and his creator this horrific holiday season. Happy Birthday, Bram!

Magna Carta One

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

As I mentioned in a previous post, here’s my Magna Carta I.

Well, just to refresh your memory, Chris Baty talked about two Magna Cartas of noveling in his NaNoWriMo primer No Plot No Problem. The first is all the things I think go into a good novel. (That’s what this one is.) And the second is the list of all the things that I think should be definately left out of a good novel. (That’s for a future post.)

So, without further ado, here’s my Magna Carta I, Elements of “Good” Fiction:

  • Violence. Lots and lots of violence.
  • Mystery
  • Exotic locales
  • Magic, or at least the hint of magic
  • Religious beliefs
  • A real villain who has good points (ie. “loves his mother”)
  • A tough “everyman” hero who’s good but has bad habits
  • Surreal interiors (ie. Basement hothouse, warehouse filled with Asian antiques, building facades that hide something super cool)
  • Smart use of current technology
  • Slightly futuristic/near future sci-fi stuff
  • Exotic creatures
  • Characters who change based on the plot
  • Characters who LEARN during the course of the book
  • Something criminal, or potentially criminal
  • Books, lots of books
  • Libraries
  • Big, strange houses filled with rooms of unusual things
  • Quirky supporting cast
  • Characters who worry about bills, money and similar every day concerns
  • Characters who have bodily functions
  • At least one scene inside a bathroom
  • Guns
  • Knives and swords
  • A monk, or hermit, or wiseman or guru
  • Characters with strange things in their pockets
  • Secret organizations
  • Adventure and daring-do and, maybe, even a bit of swashbuckling
  • Memorable images
  • Cinematic moments: action and description
  • Humor from what the characters say, not bad writing (ie. Humor from the characters being funny with each other.)

Up next… My Magna Carta II, Elements of “Bad” Fiction.
(And, sadly, I had computer trouble last night on my main system, so I have sincere doubts that I’ll be able to make up my 12000 word deficit at this point. Still, I keep working at it. Hope springs eternal!  And, yes, this also appeared on my other blog: Diary of a Network Geek.)

11/3/2006

With a Twist

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

This is fun, in a literary way.

James Triptree, Jr. has long been thought of as one of the greatest science-fiction authors ever. However, if he’d written under his real name and gender, he most likely would never have gotten published at all.
“He”, of course, is actually “she”. And her real name was Alice B. Sheldon. Apparently she was quite secretive in life, which might be understandable given the circumstances of her professional career. But, now, Julie Philips has written a book about her life. The book is called James Tiptree Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon and I’m sure it will be a fascinating read. In the mean time, you can check that first link for a brief review on SciFi.com.

If you want links that are more fun and crazy, check out my other blog; Diary of a Network Geek. Until then, though, I have to get back to writing or I’ll never even come close to the NaNoWriMo finish line!


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