Tag Archives: Must Love Dragons

Have I Been Wrong About Fan Fiction?

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Art from my First Fan Fiction: Slayers Encore (2002)

Fan fiction: it’s something all writers do (whether they’re aware of it or not). When it’s good, it’s an innocent joyride in someone else’s vehicle. Worst-case scenario, it’s a naive early attempt to be the next ____ (Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin etc.) with new names on the characters and a worn old plot device. In both cases fan fiction is written for the sheer love of a series, created out of a desire to see our deepest fan-desires put into words. There are thousands upon thousands of forums and websites dedicated to fan fiction, probably in numbers to rival the #1 commodity: porn.

While I myself have dabbled in the art of fan fiction, I decided early on, that if I was going to be serious about my writing, I should steer clear of other people’s works and instead concentrate on my ability to write original stories with my own characters and canon. I spent years building the worlds of CRIT! and Skeleton Crew among my other works and I think I did a good job. Fan fiction helped me build those skills, but I was ready to fly on my own now.

So I said goodbye to fan fiction and never looked back. I haven’t written any since 2004. I tell everyone in my panels that fan fiction is a skill builder—an exercise to build story-writing skills without the hassle of creating a new world and characters. It can help form new authors, but no self-respecting author wastes the bulk of their effort on it. Messing with copyrighted works makes publishers uncomfortable and it’s a sign of unprofessionalism.

At least, it used to be that way.

Now more and more big-name franchises are plumbing fan fiction for writers. This decade, entertainment companies have discovered that fan fiction is an untold wealth of hidden talent, and what is more, their fiction is a testing ground for how well they work with a given canon! Doctor Who, Star Trek, and other properties are taking note and are asking to see fan fiction from future writers!

…And I don’t have any.

I’d disciplined myself for so long, with the aim of building my credibility, that I’ve shot myself in the foot. I’ve lost 3 writing opportunities so far because they’d asked for a sample of fan-fiction and I’d had no time to write any.

I’m already struggling to make my mark on the internet. This just seems like an anvil dropped on my head. I also have to admit that I was wrong about fan fiction and lament for the stories I never wrote—ideas that have long since disappeared into the ether.

The game has changed again, and I’m left holding 3 aces in a game of Jenga.

 

 

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Still plugging away

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Now that the Rogue’s Guide is completed and launched, I’m turning my attention more to the Must Love Dragons relaunch and it’s been sloooooooooow going. A lot needs fixing which leads to more fixing and further flaws… you guys ever seen the money pit?

(Property of Universal Pictures)

At least the foundation is good. (I’m laughing as I type this because we just found out we have to replace the house’s trimming and get the roof inspected here at Wineberry House. Plus we have ants.)

In the meantime, here’s a draft of the new cover art we’re going to be using for MLD (some alterations in text, and art etc. pending). Overall I’m pleased with it. I love how Linus looks kind of cool, but also like you want to punch him in the face. We’re going to do similar half-face images for the other 2 books in the works. I like the half-face because it leaves a lot of room for the reader to fill in the rest with their imagination. I hate seeing an image of a character I like and not have it match the image in my head.

(Btw, my brother modeled for this. I think he did a great job)

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copyright(c)monica marier, 2016

 

The only other thing of note text-wise is that Wendria’s name will be changed back to Kiyana to match the CRIT! comic, since Both CRIT! and MLD will be launched by the same publisher, Tangent Artists. The Linus Saga, in essence, will be presented as a “novelization” of CRIT! despite the deviating story-lines. Nothing will change storywise other than the names and a few minor details, but the company feels we should unify the whole setting to better match our existing publications featuring Linus Weedwhacker.

Comments? Concerns? Think I’m out of my gourd? Leave a comment.

 

 

Back to the Mill

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I’m very pleased to announce that Tangent Artists has sent our newest book to the printers! This month at RavenCon we’re going to launch our newest book, Steal this Tome!

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The Rogues Book (somewhat vandalized by Bart)

This book is presented as a policeman’s instructional vandalized by a young thief and republished as his own work and is the 3rd installment in our Wolf Press class guide. If you loved the Handbook for Saucy Bards and the Cleric’s Guide to Smiting, you’ll enjoy the same snappy writing, irreverent humor, and (of course) a gripping short story featuring the cast of CRIT!

We’ll be hosting a book-launch tea-party at Ravencon with snacks, prizes, tea, and silly voices.

Inktober Day 3

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Here’s Day 3 of Inktober. I drew Linus from CRIT! He’s actually tossing a D8 over his shoulder, that part’s not put in yet, since my mathematical perspective is strictly non-euclidean. Media is Pen and Ink. This is going to be on a big CRIT! banner at some point. I like how I managed to get more scar tissue on his skin.

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Linus Weedwhacker, by Monica Marier

Inktober Day2

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Day 2 of the Inktober Challenge, and here is an attempt at Quince the Barbarian. Big Muscley men are very strange to draw because their proportions always seem, just WRONG. I even did this with a photo-reference and I remember looking at all the photos of muscley men and thinking they just look like cartoons, and made of clay. Oh well. Minimal lines, since I intend to colour this. See you all tomorrow.

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The Ranger’s Book (An Excerpt)

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I thought it would be a fun April Fool’s Day thing to post an excerpt from the upcoming Tangent Artists Class Handbook, which will be part of our series that includes “The Handbook for Saucy Bards,” and “The Cleric’s Guide to Smiting.” I now present this excerpt from “A Ranger’s Instructional or: How Not to Die Alone in the Woods.” The funny part is that this information is actually useful and we’re not kidding around.

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CHAPER XX

WHAT DO I WIPE WITH?

Let’s not get shy here; it’s a fact of life—even the Majestic Elves and Powerful Wizards have to crap in the woods sometimes. ‘How’ is an age-old question uttered by new Rangers and adventurers alike since time immemorial. You will at some point be confronted with the urge, a bush and little to no guidance. Ignoring the urge is not an option.

The first part is easy, once you overcome your shyness and accept that this is part of the job you took. The key is to be at least 200 feet from where you’re eating or sleeping, and away from your water source. Take your spade, and dig a hole about 6-inches deep and “go” in there (or as close as you can get it). The ground might be rocky or tough or whatever—just do your best. The bottom line is to keep your business away from any scavenging animals to a) hide your presence so your meat won’t be scared away, and b) keep your meat from eating it. You never know if you’re going to have to eat something that may or may not have just eaten your own feces. Best to avoid that option if at all possible. “Never shit where you eat” as my gran used to say.

The second part of this (getting clean) is not always as easy and has led to some hilarious stories through the years that the publishers have forbidden me from elaborating on. NOT wiping is not an option as it can lead to yeast infections, jock itch, and a lot of bad illnesses and rashes (not to mention embarrassing staining you’ll have to explain later). Fortunately, you have a plethora of options open to you if you plan ahead. Don’t assume everything you need will be right by you, because it never will be. TRUST ME.

RAGS: Many first timers will try to prepare for this moment by rooting through mummy’s rag bag for fabric scraps to use. This may seem like a good idea but it’s ultimately doomed to failure. Your supply will never be limitless and little things like illness or too much fiber will usually deplete a well-calculated stock. The flipside being that if you DO plan ahead you will have a lot of extra weight with you and when it’s gone unexpectedly (as always happens) you’ll have to make do with other rags. Everyone will know too. You’ll be the daft bugger walking into a town with no shirt sleeves or socks.

PAPER: Similar to rags but much more practical and comfortable, and one small book, with thin soft pages, can last several days. I highly recommend the unabridged “Miles Reyner’s Handbook for Saucy Bards.” It’s been said that thin paper was our most treasured contribution to peace talks with the Elves and I believe it. Those poor bastards had to do with leaves.

LEAVES: Corn lily, dock, wooly lambs ear, mullein, and other leaves that are large and flat make good wiping leaves. Use them in a stack of three or four, with the vein sides out for added scrubbing power. If you’re passing by a bush take some leaves with you to keep on hand (or to thaw them out if it’s cold out). Plants like mullein and lambs ear are additionally popular because of their velvety fuzz. It’s like being cleaned by an angel’s wing, but it’s not for everyone. Some people’s skin can be irritated by the little white hairs and break out in a bad rash. If you’re not sure, test it out on skin that’s slightly less…er… vital.

MOSS and GRASS: several varieties of moss are good if you use the green spongy side and use a cloth to pat it dry. Drier moss like Old Man’s Beard (which hangs from trees) is a tried and true standby in the wild, and it’s often used by lady-travelers during their “monthly visit” (sorry if that’s indelicate, but I have daughters and a wife and they told me to address this). Cattails are also useful for both purposes.

Grass, if you’re so inclined can be gathered in folded in half to make a “scrub brush” to use accordingly. Just make sure the grass is soft and not the hard knife-edged variety with serrated edges.

HAND: This was Man’s first loo roll if you think about it. It’s also a testament to mankind that we evolved— rather quickly at that—other methods of cleaning ourselves that don’t involve getting poo in our fingernails. This might be considered a last resort, maybe if you’re in a desert or something. Just remember which hand you wipe with and be consistent. And don’t let me shake hands with you. I heard Orcs prefer this method which explains a lot and why I don’t shake hands with Orcs.

ROCKS: A smooth water stone, flat but round with a conical end is good, but it’s not going to be very absorbent, still it’s better than plants if you’re not an expert herbologist.. This is a method preferred by Dwarves, but I’m not positive—I’ve never had the courage to ask one.

SNOW: Want to really wake up on a winter’s morning? Try a handful of snow up your arse. In all seriousness, this is actually the most hygienic and least annoying methods if you’re traveling in winter. This works best with snow that packs nicely, like the kind for snowball or snowmen. Too powdery and your hands get dirty; too wet and it’s suddenly no fun.

IN GENERAL: Make sure to bury your waste and your wipers as best as you can. If the ground isn’t cooperating, build a little cairn over it, anything to keep it out of sight and free to turn back into the earth.

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after every time you go. It helps to have a friend place the soap in your hands so you don’t have to root through your pack with dirty fingers. Also, help eachother out. If you spot some good leaves or stones or whatever, tell your friend too so they won’t be out of luck when it’s their turn.

For added fun, tell the company’s Bard to use pinecones. Tell him that all the great woodsmen use them. It’s hilarious, trust me.

ADVENT CALENDAR DAY 18

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Stave Four: The Last of the Spirits
The Phantom slowly, gravely, silently approached. When it came, Scrooge bent down upon his knee; for in the very air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery.

It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. But for this it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night, and separate it from the darkness by which it was surrounded.

He felt that it was tall and stately when it came beside him, and that its mysterious presence filled him with a solemn dread. He knew no more, for the Spirit neither spoke nor moved.

`I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.’ said Scrooge.

The Spirit answered not, but pointed onward with its hand.

`You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened, but will happen in the time before us,’ Scrooge pursued. `Is that so, Spirit.’

The upper portion of the garment was contracted for an instant in its folds, as if the Spirit had inclined its head. That was the only answer he received.

Although well used to ghostly company by this time, Scrooge feared the silent shape so much that his legs trembled beneath him, and he found that he could hardly stand when he prepared to follow it. The Spirit pauses a moment, as observing his condition, and giving him time to recover.

But Scrooge was all the worse for this. It thrilled him with a vague uncertain horror, to know that behind the dusky shroud, there were ghostly eyes intently fixed upon him, while he, though he stretched his own to the utmost, could see nothing but a spectral hand and one great heap of black.

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`I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.’ said Scrooge. The Spirit answered not, but pointed onward with its hand.

`Ghost of the Future.’ he exclaimed,’ I fear you more than any spectre I have seen. But as I know your purpose is to do me good, and as I hope to live to be another man from what I was, I am prepared to bear you company, and do it with a thankful heart. Will you not speak to me.’

It gave him no reply. The hand was pointed straight before them.

`Lead on.’ said Scrooge. `Lead on. The night is waning fast, and it is precious time to me, I know. Lead on, Spirit.’

The Phantom moved away as it had come towards him. Scrooge followed in the shadow of its dress, which bore him up, he thought, and carried him along.

They scarcely seemed to enter the city; for the city rather seemed to spring up about them, and encompass them of its own act. But there they were, in the heart of it; on Change, amongst the merchants; who hurried up and down, and chinked the money in their pockets, and conversed in groups, and looked at their watches, and trifled thoughtfully with their great gold seals; and so forth, as Scrooge had seen them often.

The Spirit stopped beside one little knot of business men. Observing that the hand was pointed to them, Scrooge advanced to listen to their talk.

`No,’ said a great fat man with a monstrous chin,’ I don’t know much about it, either way. I only know he’s dead.’

`When did he die.’ inquired another.

`Last night, I believe.’

`Why, what was the matter with him.’ asked a third, taking a vast quantity of snuff out of a very large snuff-box. `I thought he’d never die.’

`God knows,’ said the first, with a yawn.

`What has he done with his money.’ asked a red-faced gentleman with a pendulous excrescence on the end of his nose, that shook like the gills of a turkey-cock.

`I haven’t heard,’ said the man with the large chin, yawning again. `Left it to his company, perhaps. He hasn’t left it to me. That’s all I know.’

This pleasantry was received with a general laugh.

`It’s likely to be a very cheap funeral,’ said the same speaker;’ for upon my life I don’t know of anybody to go to it. Suppose we make up a party and volunteer.’

`I don’t mind going if a lunch is provided,’ observed the gentleman with the excrescence on his nose. `But I must be fed, if I make one.’

Another laugh.

`Well, I am the most disinterested among you, after all,’ said the first speaker,’ for I never wear black gloves, and I never eat lunch. But I’ll offer to go, if anybody else will. When I come to think of it, I’m not at all sure that I wasn’t his most particular friend; for we used to stop and speak whenever we met. Bye, bye.’

Speakers and listeners strolled away, and mixed with other groups. Scrooge knew the men, and looked towards the Spirit for an explanation.

The Phantom glided on into a street. Its finger pointed to two persons meeting. Scrooge listened again, thinking that the explanation might lie here.

He knew these men, also, perfectly. They were men of aye business: very wealthy, and of great importance. He had made a point always of standing well in their esteem: in a business point of view, that is; strictly in a business point of view.

`How are you.’ said one.

`How are you.’ returned the other.

`Well.’ said the first. `Old Scratch has got his own at last, hey.’

`So I am told,’ returned the second. `Cold, isn’t it.’

`Seasonable for Christmas time. You’re not a skater, I suppose.’

`No. No. Something else to think of. Good morning.’

Not another word. That was their meeting, their conversation, and their parting.

Scrooge was at first inclined to be surprised that the Spirit should attach importance to conversations apparently so trivial; but feeling assured that they must have some hidden purpose, he set himself to consider what it was likely to be. They could scarcely be supposed to have any bearing on the death of Jacob, his old partner, for that was Past, and this Ghost’s province was the Future. Nor could he think of any one immediately connected with himself, to whom he could apply them. But nothing doubting that to whomsoever they applied they had some latent moral for his own improvement, he resolved to treasure up every word he heard, and everything he saw; and especially to observe the shadow of himself when it appeared. For he had an expectation that the conduct of his future self would give him the clue he missed, and would render the solution of these riddles easy.

He looked about in that very place for his own image; but another man stood in his accustomed corner, and though the clock pointed to his usual time of day for being there, he saw no likeness of himself among the multitudes that poured in through the Porch. It gave him little surprise, however; for he had been revolving in his mind a change of life, and thought and hoped he saw his new-born resolutions carried out in this.

Quiet and dark, beside him stood the Phantom, with its outstretched hand. When he roused himself from his thoughtful quest, he fancied from the turn of the hand, and its situation in reference to himself, that the Unseen Eyes were looking at him keenly. It made him shudder, and feel very cold.