Fantasist's Scroll

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


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.)

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