Fantasist's Scroll

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


SteamPunk Drawing

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

Well, more specifically, SteamPunk machines.

This great site, called CrabFu, which seems to be dedicated to cool toys of a steampunk flavor, offers some advice about how to draw steampunk machines. Now, I’m no artist, but their advice really made sense!
Still, if you just like the pretty pictures, scroll to the bottom of the page and you can see some rockin’ steampunk concept art.

Way cool!
Enjoy your Friday!



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

Specifically, fantasy fiction writing contests.

No, nothing that this site is sponsoring, but someone with a very similar name: Fantasist Enterprises.  They currently have two contests going.  One has a deadline of October 15, 2006 and is called Fantastical Visions. This is open to authors submitting any previously unpublished work under 10,000 words with fantasy as a primary or central theme.
The other contest is the Sails and Sorcery contest. This contest has a deadline of January 15, 2007 and, as one might guess from the title, has a theme.  That theme is sailing!  More specifically, “nothing with a feel that is later than the early 19th century” and with an emphasis on a Pirates of the Carribean feel to it.  The site lists several examples, and has more details, but, again, fantasy needs to be an essential part of the story.

The nice thing about both of these contests, however, is that there is no entrance fee for a single manuscript.  That’s very unusual, in my experience, and why I’m mentioning it here.  So, if you have any inclination to write at all and, like me, needed a goal to help get started working on something, then check out these contests.
They may just get you out of your slump!


Characterization Made EZ

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

Building characters is as easy as writing their biography.
Okay, so maybe that’s not quite as easy as it sounds at first. The first step to knowing about what your character is going to do is knowing who they are and where they’ve been. What was their start in life? How has that shaped their desires, fears and goals? Get the answer to those questions and you should know your character pretty well. Of course, if you’ve never done this, it can be a challenge. Or, if you just want to flesh out a character in a game, but aren’t sure what questions to ask, it might be hard to get started.
Well, back in the day, when Advanced Dungeons and Dragons ruled the fantasy role-playing game universe, there was a handy, little magazine called Dragon that was put out by TSR, which got bought by Wizards of the Coast, which is now a subsidiary of Hasbro. One particular issue included an article titled “Characterization Made Easy” by Scott Bennie. Below is a list of questions cribbed from that article that, when answered, will help you get to know your character.

  1. Background
    • Where was your character born?
    • Who raised them?
    • What was happening in the region when they was growing up?
    • Do they have any relatives? If so, how did they get along with them? What are they doing now?
  2. Motivation
    • What are your character’s immediate goals (i.e., what would they like to do in the coming year)?
    • What are their long-term goals (i.e., what would they like to be doing 20 years from now)?
    • What type of person would be their ideal mate?
    • Who is their patron deity? Are they a devout worshiper?
    • Are they a devout member of any nonreligious cause (i.e., Are they a loyal servant of a king or baron)?
    • Is there any race, creed, alignment, religion, or the like against which they are strongly prejudiced?
    • What is their greatest fear?
    • What is the one task they absolutely refuses to do?
  3. Idiosyncrasies
    • What is your character’s motto or favorite saying?
    • What is their favorite color?
    • Describe what they would wear if money were no object.
    • What is their favorite food? Their favorite drink?
    • What is their favorite animal?
    • What habits of their friends annoy them most?
  4. Traits
  5. Rate these behaviors for your character on a scale of 0 to 10 (0 means they has no trace of the trait, behaving in a completely opposite manner; 10 means they have great amounts of the trait).

    • Courtesy
    • Valor
    • Self-sacrifice
    • Generosity
    • Sobriety
    • Calm temper
    • Optimism
    • Curiosity
    • Forgiveness
    • Cheerfulness
    • Patience
    • Honesty
    • Helpfulness
    • Loyalty

    Name at least one other trait in which your character possesses a rating of 8 or better.

  6. Miscellaneous
    • What well-known media figure from sports, movies, or politics most closely resembles your character?
    • What would be their theme song?
    • If their friends were to write your character’s epitaph, what would it be?
    • What would their job be in modern society?

And, here are some stereotypes to avoid:

  1. All wizards are old men with long beards and robes.
  2. All evil characters wear black.
  3. All good characters wear white.
  4. All giants are stupid.
  5. All fighters are stupid jocks.
  6. All thieves are small and cowardly.
  7. Evil characters are irredeemably awful.
  8. Elves are flighty and carefree.
  9. Major bridges are guarded by trolls, who ask for a toll.

Obviously, this is geared toward a fantasy setting, but, with some small variation, it can apply to almost any character in almost any fictional setting.
If you’d like to read the whole article, you can still find it in the Dragon Magazine Archive on CD-ROM.


Personal Jetpacks

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

Hmm, is this geeky or just plain cool?

Well, either way, I would LOVE to have my own personal, James Bond-style jetpack. It’s really more than just a simple jetpack, though, as it incudes a sort of wing suit that, I assume, allows one to steer more easily. Also, there’s room for a parachute, essential gear for the flying spy, and a “payload” backpack. After all, if I’m jetting about the European countryside, I’d best be doing it for darn good reason. You know, like a spy mission that requires the use of super, high-tech gear that I stored next to my parachute on my flying wing jetpack.

Hey, what do you want from me? It’s Friday, and I am totally in need a little escapism! And, admit it, you are too, so, just click the link.


Write SF & Fantasy

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

Ever wanted to write science-fiction and fantasy fiction but didn’t know where to start?

Well, there’s hope. While wasting time at work the other day, I found a free on-line course in writing science-fiction called, oddly enough, Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy. This website is an entire course on writing in the genre available for no charge via the web. They cover everything from the basics of fiction writing to world creation to… Well, just about everything that a begining writer might want to know about writing science fiction and fantasy literature. They even have some topics that go into more depth for those of us who’ve been banging away at it for a little bit.

It looks fairly good and comprehensive. Besides, the price is right: Free!


Dale Reckoning Plugin

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

So, I upgraded to the latest version of WordPress not too long ago so I could test a little project of mine.  Way back in the early days of blogging, when all these fancy programs were new and not so user friendly, I concieved of a beautiful way to present fiction to a large audience for free.  Well, okay, me and about a million other people, but, still, I had an artistic vision.  No, really!  My idea was to keep a journal in the manner and style of a character from a fictional world via a blog.  I saw it as a return to the roots of the novel which, in the early days, used things like journal entries and faux personal letters to tell a story.  Naturally, a blog would be a perfect way to do just that.
But, as a curmudgeon and creative person who was not content to just record something in the standard calendar, I set about trying to adapt the blog I was using to a new, fictional calendar.  Sadly, my first efforts met with very limited success, but, then I upgraded to the first version of WordPress and started learning a bit of PHP.  It wasn’t long after that before I had a decent working plugin that would allow me to make my blog appear to be recorded in the calendar used for the Forgotten Realms setting by Wizards of the Coast, formerly TSR.  It took many, many cycles of development and testing before I was satisfied, but, I finally got something that I thought was worth sharing and, then, they did a major overhaul of WordPress.  So, I waited for all the bugs to get found and fixed.  And, I waited and waited and waited some more for good measure.  Then, a couple of weeks ago, I actually found the time to upgrade to the latest version and test my plugin again.  A few minor corrections later, I had fixed all the quirks I could find and, so, without further ado, I present, for your wacky, fantasy blogging pleasure, the Dale Reckoning plugin for WordPress!

Use it in good health and enjoy!


King Kong Found!

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

Well, at least his fossil.
According to this article from McMaster University, an ape that was roughly three meters tall and weighed up to 1,200 pounds was running around Asia at a time when humans also existed. Gigantopithecus blackii, as the giant primate is known in archeological circles, has actually been known for over 35 years, but this is the first time that such a complete specimen has been found and accurately dated.
And, yes, I do suppose that they’re capitalizing on the recent media blitz surrounding the new King Kong movie, which opens in December. I still think it’s cool.


Happy Birthday, Clive.

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

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. In fact, just recently The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe has been made into yet another movie. 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 Lewis at the website endorsed by his step-son, Douglas Gresham, called Into the Wardrobe.

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