Monthly Archives: April 2007

Are you planning to write a fantasy novel?

If so, you maybe want to be doing this first:

The Exam

  1. Does nothing happen in the first fifty pages?
  2. Is your main character a young farmhand with mysterious parentage?
  3. Is your main character the heir to the throne but doesn’t know it?
  4. Is your story about a young character who comes of age, gains great power, and defeats the supreme badguy?
  5. Is your story about a quest for a magical artifact that will save the world?
  6. How about one that will destroy it?
  7. Does your story revolve around an ancient prophecy about “The One” who will save the world and everybody and all the forces of good?
  8. Does your novel contain a character whose sole purpose is to show up at random plot points and dispense information?
  9. Does your novel contain a character that is really a god in disguise?
  10. Is the evil supreme badguy secretly the father of your main character?
  11. Is the king of your world a kindly king duped by an evil magician?
  12. Does “a forgetful wizard” describe any of the characters in your novel?
  13. How about “a powerful but slow and kind-hearted warrior”?
  14. How about “a wise, mystical sage who refuses to give away plot details for his own personal, mysterious reasons”?
  15. Do the female characters in your novel spend a lot of time worrying about how they look, especially when the male main character is around?
  16. Do any of your female characters exist solely to be captured and rescued?
  17. Do any of your female characters exist solely to embody feminist ideals?
  18. Would “a clumsy cooking wench more comfortable with a frying pan than a sword” aptly describe any of your female characters?
  19. Would “a fearless warrioress more comfortable with a sword than a frying pan” aptly describe any of your female characters?
  20. Is any character in your novel best described as “a dour dwarf”?
  21. How about “a half-elf torn between his human and elven heritage”?
  22. Did you make the elves and the dwarves great friends, just to be different?
  23. Does everybody under four feet tall exist solely for comic relief?
  24. Do you think that the only two uses for ships are fishing and piracy?
  25. Do you not know when the hay baler was invented?
  26. Did you draw a map for your novel which includes places named things like “The Blasted Lands” or “The Forest of Fear” or “The Desert of Desolation” or absolutely anything “of Doom”?
  27. Does your novel contain a prologue that is impossible to understand until you’ve read the entire book, if even then?
  28. Is this the first book in a planned trilogy?
  29. How about a quintet or a decalogue?
  30. Is your novel thicker than a New York City phone book?
  31. Did absolutely nothing happen in the previous book you wrote, yet you figure you’re still many sequels away from finishing your “story”?
  32. Are you writing prequels to your as-yet-unfinished series of books?
  33. Is your name Robert Jordan and you lied like a dog to get this far?
  34. Is your novel based on the adventures of your role-playing group?
  35. Does your novel contain characters transported from the real world to a fantasy realm?
  36. Do any of your main characters have apostrophes or dashes in their names?
  37. Do any of your main characters have names longer than three syllables?
  38. Do you see nothing wrong with having two characters from the same small isolated village being named “Tim Umber” and “Belthusalanthalus al’Grinsok”?
  39. Does your novel contain orcs, elves, dwarves, or halflings?
  40. How about “orken” or “dwerrows”?
  41. Do you have a race prefixed by “half-“?
  42. At any point in your novel, do the main characters take a shortcut through ancient dwarven mines?
  43. Do you write your battle scenes by playing them out in your favorite RPG?
  44. Have you done up game statistics for all of your main characters in your favorite RPG?
  45. Are you writing a work-for-hire for Wizards of the Coast?
  46. Do inns in your book exist solely so your main characters can have brawls?
  47. Do you think you know how feudalism worked but really don’t?
  48. Do your characters spend an inordinate amount of time journeying from place to place?
  49. Could one of your main characters tell the other characters something that would really help them in their quest but refuses to do so just so it won’t break the plot?
  50. Do any of the magic users in your novel cast spells easily identifiable as “fireball” or “lightning bolt”?
  51. Do you ever use the term “mana” in your novel?
  52. Do you ever use the term “plate mail” in your novel?
  53. Heaven help you, do you ever use the term “hit points” in your novel?
  54. Do you not realize how much gold actually weighs?
  55. Do you think horses can gallop all day long without rest?
  56. Does anybody in your novel fight for two hours straight in full plate armor, then ride a horse for four hours, then delicately make love to a willing barmaid all in the same day?
  57. Does your main character have a magic axe, hammer, spear, or other weapon that returns to him when he throws it?
  58. Does anybody in your novel ever stab anybody with a scimitar?
  59. Does anybody in your novel stab anybody straight through plate armor?
  60. Do you think swords weigh ten pounds or more?
  61. Does your hero fall in love with an unattainable woman, whom he later attains?
  62. Does a large portion of the humor in your novel consist of puns?
  63. Is your hero able to withstand multiple blows from the fantasy equivalent of a ten pound sledge but is still threatened by a small woman with a dagger?
  64. Do you really think it frequently takes more than one arrow in the chest to kill a man?
  65. Do you not realize it takes hours to make a good stew, making it a poor choice for an “on the road” meal?
  66. Do you have nomadic barbarians living on the tundra and consuming barrels and barrels of mead?
  67. Do you think that “mead” is just a fancy name for “beer”?
  68. Does your story involve a number of different races, each of which has exactly one country, one ruler, and one religion?
  69. Is the best organized and most numerous group of people in your world the thieves’ guild?
  70. Does your main villain punish insignificant mistakes with death?
  71. Is your story about a crack team of warriors that take along a bard who is useless in a fight, though he plays a mean lute?
  72. Is “common” the official language of your world?
  73. Is the countryside in your novel littered with tombs and gravesites filled with ancient magical loot that nobody thought to steal centuries before?
  74. Is your book basically a rip-off of The Lord of the Rings?
  75. Read that question again and answer truthfully.

In a bad mood?

Then may I suggest Year Zero by NIN at a nearly unnacceptable high volume?

(Well it’s working for me)

Ignore that last post…

… as stuff seems to have been ignored in favour of other stuff (kind of hard when only one is prepared to deal with the problems faced, instead would rather wait until it’s forgotten)…

So instead you have my try-and-occupy-myself-with-media-fest-weekend posts (or not, depending how the mood swings and sways)!

First up, Girl Disappearing is easily one of Tori’s best songs, shame the album it belongs to is not getting much better…

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – I put it on last night as a switch-off flick and was actually forced to turn it off after an hour, due to boredom. for an action-adventure, it’s pretty slow and dull, even with the mighty Johnny Depp (me still loves undead monkey though)!

Torchwood – Series One: Episodes 6-9
I’ve actually watched these over the last few days and am really starting to enjoy the show. Episode Six bordered on excellent but for the fact I got the twist a little too quickly and that Supernatural actually did the story better earlier.

Supernatural – Series Two: Episode 19 – Folsom Prison Blues
This was rather a good episode, going back to the basic roots of the show. I am getting kind of worried that with only a few episodes left we are going to see a third series. I feel like this is one show that needs to end on a high and every time a new series comes along, the more pessimistic I get about this.

Doctor Who – Various episodes from Tom Baker’s incarnation (at the behest of erybar)
I’ve watched the first two episodes of Genesis of the Daleks and the first episode of The Deadly Assassin. I remember The Deadly Assassin from my childhood and barely supressed a shudder when the TARDIS appeared in the museum next to a grandfather clock…

Genesis of the Daleks seems to be an interesting story but I still have problems with the Baker-type hamming it up… I know I should just go with the flow but that is proving hard.

That’s your lot so far…

Was going to write…

… and then couldn’t…

Stuff; it’s going to be a stuff weekend.

Doubt you’ll hear from me for a few days.

Due to stuff.


Bandwagon, me?


Oh, you meant that…

Just call me Mr. Prolific (only if you want of course)!

For it has come to pass that I’ll be joining the likes of


in the mighty:

Black Box

next January and considering how bloody brilliant Shadow Box was, I’m right suited about this one!

*takes a bow*

That speech thang last night

I mentioned having the speech last night, which went well, there’s even a bad quality pic of me in action:

Impressed aren’t you? I can tell!

An interesting question I got after the talk was regarding the network of Live Journal and how my mutual friends list were, in terms of geographical placement. I couldn’t answer the question as I’ve never done the hard maths (maths = syntax error) but I said I would find out as I was interested and so it’s here for your enjoyment:

U.S.A.: 52 of 120 = 43%
Australia: 35 of 120 = 29%
England: 13 of 120 = 11%
Sweden: 5 of 120 = 4%
Canada: 4 of 120 = 3%
Finland: 2 of 120 = 2%
Northern Ireland: 2 of 120 = 2%
Assyrian: 1 of 120 = 1%
German: 1 of 120 = 1%
New Zealand: 1 of 120 = 1%
Norway: 1 of 120 = 1%
Russia: 1 of 120 = 1%
Scotland: 1 of 120 = 1%
Sri Lanka: 1 of 120 = 1%

As you can no doubt see, these are not exact figures as the total is 101% but me not being a maths type, liked the round numbers better.

Well what a shocker, last night I told the audience that I didn’t know the ratio but Australia were easily on top. It seems I forgot you yanks are everywhere! (This list is based on where I understand you to come from and not where you live.)

So there you have it, that’s all I have time for now (what a day it’s been!).

Leave in an orderly (and quiet) fashion…

Heroes Casebook has been updated

If you run along to

now you’ll get my thoughts on Monday’s episode (19).

If you are not up to that episode yet then don’t read the post as there are mucho spoilers waiting for you!

Brilliant stuff!

You know when you hear great news and it just makes you dance around like an idiot?

But then you forget about it all[1] so that when you find out again you want to do the same all over again?

Well today I just found out[2] that Radiohead[3] will be releasingan album this year! Get in!

[1] 2006 Brain [TM]
[2] again
[3] A weird bit of Radiohead came to light today and that’s regarding No Surprises from OK Computer. If you play me that song on the right day I am likely to get caught up in its melancholic melody, wistfully smiling at its beauty. If you play it on the wrong day there is a good chance I will go on the rampage with

‘s orange gun, causing mayhem and covering your friends, family and other innocent bystanders in citrus ammunition. Just so you are aware.


New ‘super-Earth’ found in space