Tag Archive | fantasy

World-building – an obvious google search

I don’t know how I have never found this before. I’ve been on the SFWA website before. (It’s actually pretty cool there.) I’ve even posted articles from there.

However, I found this for the first time.

It’s a world building questionnaire.

And it is totally awesome. It has everything, from how big is a town, and how did humans get to the world.

If you write sci-fi or fantasy, I would seriously check it out.

I would also check out this persons rants about what makes bad world building and the following comments. The interesting thoughts there that I saw are:

1) Rulers usually throw money at people who can heal people and people who can destroy people. So why don’t healers (magical of course) get more money?

2) If the magical people have magical power and can throw fireballs at whoever, why isn’t a magical person king?

Oh, and if you were wondering, my google search was world building questionnaire. Don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.

So–tell me about your character?

I took this out of my textbook for creative writing, then added a question to handle the science fiction / fantasy character’s that I typically deal with. It’s actually kinda cool how it comes out. I did it for two characters so far and it was rather fun. Especially for the one chararacter that I just randomly started writing for.

What is your character’s name?  What sounds right for this character?   What fits? What does this name suggest about your character’s personality?  Does your character use  his/her given name or a nickname? If so, why?  Has your character ever had a nickname?

If you were going to buy a casual outfit for this character, what would you buy?  What image does he/she cultivate?  What does this image say about him/her?

If your character could have three wishes granted, what would they be?

Likewise, what three things does your character most want NOT to happen to him/her?

Does this character have any special skill or ability; if so, what? How did he/she discover this ability? How did he/she train? What limits does he/she have on this ability?

If you were to enter this characters’ bedroom for the first time, what would you notice? Name four objects that immediately stand out. What are the dominate colors of the room? What sounds do you hear?. If you were to spend an hour snooping in this room, would you find anything hidden? If so, what?

What obsessions does your character have?

Describe your character’s belief systems–or lack of belief system–and sketch out how he or she came to believe these things.

Your character is in an uncharacteristically honest mood. How would he/she finish these statements?

To understand me, you first need to understand….

I don’t usually tell anyone this, but when I was a kid… 

If I had a million dollars I would…. 

Where does your character work?   What specifically is his/her job?  How does your character feel about this job?  How long as he/she worked there?

Describe your character’s average Wednesday? Where is your character at 8AM, 10 AM, noon. 3 PM, 6 PM and 10 PM? How does this compare to an average Saturday?

How much money does your character have in the bank or in investments? Where did this money come from?

What are your character’s most substantial character flaws or shortcomings or personality? Does he or she recognize them?

What are your character’s most significant character strengths?

Does your character have any brothers or sisters?   If so, which one is his or her favorite and why? If your character only has one sibling, what does your character like best about this person and like the least?  If your character is an only child, did he/she ever want another sibling? Why?

How many closes friends does your character have? Name them.

Who is your character’s closest friend and why? Describe their history as friends.

What is the worst thing your character has ever done? What is the worst non-illegal thing your character has ever done?

Describe your character’s relationships with his/her parents.

If your character were in to die today, what would he or she be most like to be remembered for?

List three things about your character that will most likely NOT be included in your story.

Styles of Writing

What kind of fiction do you write?

What kind of fiction do you wish you could write but know you don’t have enough experience/knowledge to write about it?

To have colorful clothing.

I’m a little on the strange side. See, (and this has nothing to do with writing) I decided to knit a blanket on my 42 hour bus trip. I wanted to knit it out of cotton. Problem is that cotton is about $2 for 2 ox and I need almost 40 oz (meaning $40). I don’t have the money for that.  So I got brilliant idea of dying it with red cabbage. My mom said that would make it be a giant indicator blanket, meaning that if I spilled soda on it, it’d turn green. So I tried to look it up to see if that is the case.

I never actually found out, but I discovered the world of natural dyes. Now, finding dying instructions are very hard. The best I can figure out, you want to make a tea out of the object you are using to make the dye, that will make a colored water, and then you soak your item in the liquid with some salt, vinegar or alum to get the dyes to stay.

So, that being said, here is a list of all the natural dyes. Reason why I am showing you is more of the fantasy side of things, instead of the science fiction side.

Dandelions make a pretty pale yellow dye. The roots make either brown or red.

And, I should probably mention that I pretty much failed at dying things. I got a pretty yellow dye from dandelion flowers, but it was really pale. (Pretty, but pale.) Then I tried lilac twigs and I got the same color as the dandelions (and forgot it was suppose to be yellow), tried red leaves and I got a yellow color that I didn’t even try. So so far, I’m good at dying things yellow. Not so good at any other color, which is terribly disappointing.  I do believe I am going to cheat on my knitting and dye it with regular, store bought dye.


One brief moment of celebration for myself as a side note. Yesterday, I had my 2,000 blog visitor. *throws party* So, thanks to you all for reading, and for more importantly, coming back.

bugs for medicine and other old practices

We all know that we didn’t start with all of our medical advances. Fact is that many of them had to be discovered. What we used now, however, might have actually been used hundreds of years ago.

A leech on a leg

We’ll start with leeches. Leeches are used now to encourage blood flow, most commonly in a reattached finger. The reason why they use leeches is the leech will inject an anticoagulant (something to keep your blood from clotting) into just that area of your finger, so you don’t get something so systematic. If they don’t use leeches, they’ll probably use a drug called heparin.

As a note, most biting bugs (on Earth) inject an anesthetic, so you can’t feel them, and an anticoagulant, so they can suck your blood better better.

Moving on, we’ll look at maggots. I actually heard of this one from House (the TV show)  but I think that it is more widespread than they made it seem.

Maggots Cleaning a Wound

Maggots like to eat dead tissue, so when they are placed on an area of dead skin, they’ll eat the dead skin and usually kept the healthy skin in tack. A negative side of using them is that I’ve heard you have to stay awake during it, in case they touch or eat a nerve. (Then again, it’d be the same as an angiocardiogram, where they inject dye into your heart to observe  if your vessels are clogged or blocked and they must keep you awake in case you have a heart attack.)

So, we’ll move away from bugs now and onto dysentery. Basically, dysentery is diarrhea caused by some kinda of infection, be it bacterial, protozoal or even viral. There was a lot of dysentery during the American Civil War. And what would they use to treat it?  Morphine actually.

A poppy plant, where morphine comes from.

See, morphine has one very common side effect and that is constipation.  Since the Civil War was in the early 1860s, they could do a lot of the things we would do today. (Antibiotics or  antiprotozoal as indicated, rehydration, ect.) But they gave morphine and supposedly, they had just as many people addicted to morphine because of dysentery as they had because of wounds.

This last one isn’t as interesting as the rest. But, just in case you need an anaerobic chamber, I’ll tell you. What scientists used to do, if they wanted to get a place without any oxygen, was light a candle and put it in an enclosed container. The candle would use up all the oxygen and so long as their specimen was inside the container before they lit the candle, they created a (mostly) anaerobic container. Pretty smart if you ask me.

So, like I always say, don’t know if you can use these or not for a story. Maybe you were trying to figure out how to get someone an anticoagulant after their ship crashed and ruined all of their medical supplies, although, honestly, I was thinking of these for more fantasy themes. Anyway, hope you learned something interesting today.

Concerning Magic

Just a friendly little reminder for all of my fantasy writers, although I’m sure that this can be applied to realms of science fiction as well.

It’s not enough to create magic. You have to create a price for magic, too. You have to create rules. — Eric A. Burns

what if or why I write science fiction

I suppose I more write a combination of science fiction and fantasy, since I’ve now written two fantasy books (Dragon Slayers and Giant’s Wife) not to mention ETOLT with a friend. However, my first love and the real reason i write is because of science fiction.

I suppose it’s reasonable enough. I started writing, after all, because of star trek. Then it moved into science fiction thanks to a story in Mars, followed by a series of books that was meant to be similar to Star Trek without the copyright problems and other things. After discovering that worked just as poorly as my star trek story, I totally changed everything and began writing stand-alones.

But why do I write science fiction? I write it, now, because of the control I have in the universe. Before, I wrote it because I didn’t really have to study much of anything. So what if the police force is totally inaccurate? It’s not Earth. Who cares?

Slowly,  I began to discover the beauty of having your own universe. It’s not the fact that I can get away with inaccuracies but more that I can make commentary about problems that may not even happen. Based on recent elections in Massachusetts and other surveys, I would have to conclude that universal health care will probably not be passed in the near future. So either I can come up with an elaborate scheme along the lines of Obama gets his friends at ACORN to totally screw with the election results this November, all of Obama cronies get elected into office, he totally brainwashes the media and the US passes universal healthcare. Or, I can create a different country, similar to America but one that readily embraced healthcare fifty years ago and is now reaping the problems associated with it. The latter sounds not only less complicated and more likely, but keeps me from automatically sounding like an “anti-Obama stupid conservative.

Not only that, but I can try things by writing science fiction. My stories are slowly switching over into a case of asking “what ifs”. What if Earth was taken over by aliens? What if a doctor discovered how to give telepathic powers to individuals? What if cars were banned? If I write just general fiction, there is not as many what ifs because they have to fit in the narrow frame of here and now.

Another reason is I love creating universes. I have the ability to formulate things and to describe things on a whole new level. It’s like I have a paintbrush in my hand and given the proper time and the proper imagination, I can create a beautiful picture. Because of this, themes that I don’t normally realize I see in the world are show.

Yes, I do still write science fiction in part because of the inaccuracies. I don’t have to do extensive research on every single aspect of my story. But I also can portray so much more than just mere fiction can portray. All because of asking what if questions and going from there.

Dragon Slayers!

So, I started a story called Dragon Slayers that I’ve mentioned earlier. If’s just a short little book. Technically, I could do a lot with it later on. There are so many spinoffs that one could do with it, but I doubt I will at this time.

Anyway, today, I finished the rough draft. I am so happy.

NOw, I’m not as excited about it as I was when I finished Darkness Swallows. But, I do think that it has potential. I’m not quite sure how to end it exactly, or where, because it ends up being a huge tear jerker with no hope if I end it where it should be ended. I’d like for there to be some hope in the ending.  But I don’t want to have too much.

Anyway, it’s pretty cool. I need to do a lot more with characters and such and how the characters think and act. There isn’t a lot of emotion in the characters and I don’t like that. But it might not be as bad as I think.

Final count for now is 1,000 words and 19 pages. I’m rather pleased. But now i must go to bed before it gets too late here. I do have school (and a test) in the morning.

(Oh, side note: I finished the second paper edit of DArkness Swallows, just in time too. That is due this Friday.)