Archive for December, 2009

New Job.

So I recently accepted a new job as many people have heard. While I gave 2 weeks notice, due to my access my manager was kind enough to walk me out that day (thanks mick).

This means I’ll get paid for the next 2 weeks per my notice without actually having to work. I just want to be clear that this is *AWESOME*, not rude or lame.

New job will be as a Linux/Tomcat administrator. sure, my drive jumped from 15 minutes to 25 minutes, but it’s worth it for a number of reasons:

  • Pay bump
  • More Tech focused (EPI was moving me to a more paper-pusher type role)
  • Open Source Focused (EPI was moving away from Opensource in an effort to cut costs by replacing a well known free opensource technology with a relatively unknown proprietary technology that will cost a small fortune. It’s ok tho, i’m sure there’s no difference in the talent pool.)

Anyways, yesterday was my first day on the new job and so far it’s going good- I set up apache, mysql, openldap, phpldapadmin, mediawiki, svn, webdav and some self-signed certs. It was a good first day, and I have a good feeling about the job and the team. Alright, off to work.

Anachronistic Idioms In Fantasy Writing

“The petrified dragon hit the ground like a freight train, sending ripples across the field and shards of stone in all directions.”

It’s a simple enough saying, yet Ziggy can’t say it. Why? Because in his world, there are no freight trains. Now, while Ziggy’s brain has been shattered into a million pieces, and he often sees glimpses of other worlds, there are problems with him using the phrase. I’ve thought long and hard about the best course of action whenever I’m writing and this phrase comes to mind. Idioms and metaphors are essential writing tools, but I find myself constrained at times by keeping things “in line” with the world I’m writing about. If Ziggy starts talking about his Twitter Feed in the book, it’s gonna seem out of place. The same thing goes for the metaphors/idioms he uses.

  • Use it anyways: It may be amusing for Ziggy to speak about cars and radios and coppers, and within the context of the book it might even lend to his instability (in a deadpool 4th wall sorta way). The problem is it may throw unsuspecting readers as sloppy writing.
  • Use another common Idiom: Things like “hit like a ton of bricks” are well known in our world and make sense in his, so the common dialog makes sense. Good luck finding a free Idiom Thesaurus.
  • Create a parallel: Replace “Lets get shit-faced,” with “Let’s get orc-faced.” While visually I can see Ziggy making an orc-like face while drunk, parallels can feel forced or false. Perhaps I’m just not good at them.
  • Avoiding them altogether: Use more generic metaphors like ‘rammed like an angry goat.’ I suppose ramming something like an angry goat isn’t really more generic, but ultimately it may give you more creativity.

So where does that leave me? I judge it on a case by case basis. Sometimes you can take the bull by the horns, other times it’s best to just get orc-faced and forget about it.

Burmat the Useful

One of the characters in my book is a wizard who is only allowed to stay in Willis because he knows no “battle” spells- i.e. fireballs, fire shield, etc. Now as many DnD players know, sometimes the best offensive spell is a simple utility spell- Grease, Floating Disk, Shatter, Spider Climb, Sepia Snake Sigil, illusions, flying, haste, teleport, etc.

So, I have a 17th level mage who can only have utility spells, and he needs help a silver dragon defeat a much larger red dragon. Which spells should he have on-hand? Keep in mind that the red dragon will be immune to most magical attacks, so it’s really about finding a way to outsmart the dragon.


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