Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So, You Write Fantasy?




] Don't usually see you at these things.

} *swig*  I hate crowds.

] Oh. What do you usually do after exams?

} *swig*  I go find a coffee shop and write.

] *blink*  *frown*  So you what, write essays and stuff?

} I wrote essays back in high school. Always hated them. Putting the thesis in the first paragraph was the worst idea humanity ever had. Rather swim a mile in bacon grease. I write books now. Books are fun.

] *squint* ... books?

} They're kinda like long essays without a thesis in the first paragraph.

] Thanks, ass.  *swig*  But how do you, like, write a whole book?

} The same way you get through a night shift—one page at a time.

] You're clever.

} Not clever enough.

] *sigh*  Yea, the test was hard.

} The tests are always hard. They're designed to kill the ego before it grows heads and tails. Biggest risk with this group.

] Yea.

} *swig*

] What kind of books?

} *cringe*  *deep breath*  Fantasy.

] Seriously?

} Yep. I call my style fantastic realism. It's like fantasy but believable. Like if there was a dragon in my book, it would need the appropriate wingspan to lift his mass. In fact, I once spent a whole afternoon calculating out the wingspan required to loft a human-sized object into the air with a flapping motion—none of that gliding crud for this scenario—we're talking bonified flying humans.

I based my calculations off Quetzalcoatlus. It was tedious. I almost died.

] Quetza-what?

} Quetzalcoatlus northropi. It was the largest flying animal ever recorded. Ten meter wingspan...probably. It might have been double that. Hard to say at this point. And the bigger trouble is that the weight estimates for the darn species are all over the place. Some journal articles said that these protobirds weighed about 70 kilos. Others said they were nearer 250 kilos.

] That's a pretty big variance.

} Your tellin' me. But I still want to give these human-sized flying objects wings—and I'm not gonna abandon my principles of fantastic realism—so I Emailed the scientist.

] You Emailed the….wait, the scientist?

} Yea, the one who discovered the fossil.

] Seriously?

} Yea, believe it or not, you can do that. I said I was researching for a book. He was chill.

] He was...but it was for a fantasy book.

} Wasn't a need to know factoid. Besides, he didn't ask what I was working on. I used my old school address. Freakin' free pass to knowledge, that thing.

] So what'd he say?

} Said the problem I was hung up on was the wrong one. Said that as the flying animal gets larger, it needs to stretch its mass out more linearly. Said humans didn't have long enough necks. Said he started researching the buggers for that very reason. Wanted to see if humans could fly. Dude went to college, went to graduate school, did his post-graduate research, and published on the topic. Then he was at an airport bar in Seattle. Started this conversation with what turned out to be an aeronautical engineer. The engi-nerd blew his entire life's mission out of the water with a complimentary pen and a napkin. Man can't fly, he said. He doesn't have the diffusion of mass necessary for the deed.

] *swig*  Bummer.

} For the scientist dude, yes. For me, it was an easy fix.

] How?

} I threw in some magic. A linearizing spell. Works like a charm.

] But...I thought you said your style was fantastical realism. Isn't throwing in some magic cheating?

} *swig*  Of course. But the most important thing you need to remember about reality is that everybody hates reality. Reality is full of daylong exams and triplicate forms and car payments and Fleet enemas dribbling out the backside. No one complains when you bloody up the bastard a bit. Heck, some'll even pay the price of admission.

] That's rather unsettling.

} So is bourbon.  *swig*  Yet, we order it over a Shirley Temple every single time.

] True... *frown grows*

} Now what?

] It's just...fantasy? You're a medical student. Why are you writing fantasy?

} I need to get my swings in. I know I'm losin' this fight, but I'd rather go down like Porkins.

] I'd rather be Wedge Antilles.

} *smirk*  One death star run isn't enough?

] What can I say, the Force is for lamers. I like to work with my hands.

} Have you considered surgery?

B.

[Don't read too far into this short. It ain't real, and the actual convo didn't happen. I'm just working out some writer's cramps.]

15 comments:

Cathy B said...

OK, that just made my morning. :D

Anonymous said...

Me to only thing I think of to make it better is a Godzilla reference

B. Justin Shier said...

@Cathy B.: Thanks! I recommend pairing it with a Tanzanian peaberry and a heavy maple scone.

@Anon 6:27: I'm saving the oversized monsters for my radiology rotation ; )

B.

Andrew S said...

Thanks for the laugh. This canceled out the soul crushing feeling I got when I opened my 1400 page study manual that was delivered today.

B. Justin Shier said...

Just tell yourself it's mostly whitespace. Mostly.

Anonymous said...

Isn't denial a bad sign?

And "I am Godzilla and you are Tokyo b#&!@" is just a line that is begging to be used.

B. Justin Shier said...

Suppression is good; repression is bad (or so says First Aid for the STEP I).

I feel we should save that line for the movie : P

B.

Anonymous said...

What about any monster squad references? Like "The Wolfman has nards!"?

Anonymous said...

Ah the wing-human-equation.... It is interesting to note that fantastic realism will if it has not yet happened, grow to be a new style. On a personal opinion, I think that you as Doctor -to-be should include a House reference.

Anonymous said...

Are we going to ever see the Doctor from the first book again that got Dieter into Elliot?

B. Justin Shier said...

That would be interesting, wouldn't it? ^_^

B. Justin Shier said...

As you've probably noticed, not five pages will go by without some sort of esoteric reference. (It's a nasty habit I've developed growing up on Buffy.) I'm thinking a reference contest might be warranted.

B. Justin Shier said...

Planète grew fantastic realism (where Borges got his start) into a thing; I guess I should quickly declare fantastical realism as my own.

House might get a reference, but the Hospital already has (in book 3).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067217/

Derek Edgington said...

Good stuff. Fantastic Realism. I'll restrain myself from stealing the term. I've always disliked the repression and endless strictures evident in essays. No room for creative expansion, and the damn teachers always want their essays structured differently. Now books- books have a nice, logical arc, with their important bits where they should be --> at the end.

I wonder if the majority of writers have an aversion for crowds... interesting, this requires further thought. Good luck with the cramps. I'm currently trying to bull through second- time jitters. Don't want to screw up before I begin. Which also reminds me of another thing I should be pondering.

Anonymous said...

I once learned that humans would need some sort of protrusion at the sternum (for much more pectorial muscle) and an open symphysis at the os pubica to fly. And pneumatized bones for lesser weight. And maybe even a cloaka for... you know.
But they don't teach that at university, at least not back then when I was there...

(Talking about fantastic realism: I once started writing a fantasy story about angels, but taking all that above into consideration... not romantic. You have to stick with the mystic "Well, somehow they can fly...". And NEVER mention they would actually have six extremities with arms, legs, AND wings. Just not working.)
-Helen