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Literature

NaNoWriMo 2017: What You Need To Know

NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is an event that takes place annually in november. The event has been running since 1999 and in that time the company responsible for the event, also called National Novel Writing Month, has become a nonprofit. But what exactly is NaNoWriMo and what can you get out of the event? We’ve written about this event several times, but we’ve never written a sort of primer on how to get involved, or what you need to know. If the idea of writing a novel in a month sounds like a blast, a terrifying prospect, or something you find slightly curious – Then read on, as NaNoWriMo is a beast that should be taken on by all comers!

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Top 10 – Righteous Heroes

GeekOut Top 10s

The Righteous Hero is someone who has a rather strong sense of justice; to the point where you question how they can be so… Well… Righteous! They’re often overbearing, self-promoters who talk a big game. Worse still, typically these do-gooders know how to back themselves up.

But hey, you’re here to see who our favourite Righteous Heroes are – So buckle up, this is our latest Top 10!

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Top 10 Shocking Deaths

When you’re engrossed in a work of fiction, nothing is certain. From what direction the antagonists are going to take the story, to the sudden, tragic loss of a major character that you’re deeply invested in. Many of us have watched series, played games, or read books where a character is taken away from us just far too soon. We’re here to share with all of you our Top 10 Shocking Deaths in all forms of media.

GeekOut Top 10s (more…)


TopCast, DMing 101 & Jewellery Making For Your Costumes Panel

GeekOut Top 10s

We were very busy last week, as many of you will be aware. We enjoyed seeing some incredible cosplays; we loved to attend panels; Joel and Sarah hosted a panel each; we all got involved with a TopCast, our first ever recorded Top 10 (which lead to last week’s write-up). Overall, we were incredily busy people at Kitacon last week and we seriously loved every minute of it. Although yesterday was the last specific Kitacon article, this article is just showing off three new videos: Our TopCast for the Top 10 Half Breeds, Joel’s DMing 101 panel and Sarah’s Jewellery Making For Your Costumes panel.

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Top 10 – Dangerous Elderly Characters

GeekOut Top 10s

Rule #1: Do not act incautiously when confronted by bald, wrinkly, smiling men.

This rule applies to all elderly people who smile knowingly in the face of danger. It’s always worth listening to walking sticks to check for hidden swords, or observe hairpins for potential weaponization. Are those slippers for shambling slowly to the bathroom, or for whupping young whipper snappers into shape? Do they still have their own teeth? Either way it’s bad news.

Join us as we take register of the residents of this old folks dojo and secret underground retirement facility. This is our Top 10 Dangerous Elderly Characters.
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Top 10 Traitors

GeekOut Top 10s

Turncoats, deceivers, double agents, and no good saboteurs; No one likes a traitor, unless of course they’re betraying the bad guys, then it’s fine I guess. We’re here once more to share with you our Top 10, where this week we’re looking at the Traitor. A powerful plot device, a great way to further a story – But all in all, always something you least expect… Or at least, we hope you didn’t see all of these traitors coming, as otherwise you may have been disappointed by the writers choices to make them traitors in the first place! Anyway, here’s our list for this week! (more…)


Top 10 Flamboyantly Ominous Characters

GeekOut Top 10s

Last week, our vote was a tie. Usually what we do in these situations, is roll a die for odds/evens and whoever calls it gets the one they choose. This time, Timlah said to Joel: “I think we can do this”. Lo and behold, we managed it. We combined the tied votes to create a brand new Top 10 that you all voted for. Perhaps the will of the people wasn’t to do this, but the votes sent us this way.

Flamboyant characters can be hard to judge: they’re often more than just a bit player in their franchise. Often they’re scary, in fact, they’re usually a little bit ominous. They stand out in a realm of “the norm”, they dress fancy, they talk differently and their minds are wired in a very unique way. They’re dangerous but fabulous, they’re ominous, they’re flamboyant… they’re in our Top 10 Flamboyantly Ominous Characters list!

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Lists & The Basics of Sci Fi and Fantasy

I’ve been trying some list writing lately, a means of putting dozens of idle and fragmented ideas into some kind of order, and aiming for a nice round number gives me the drive to come up with something new. Things like:

10 Mimics

  1. Ladder leading to a trap door, the mimic strikes when a creature is halfway up.
  2. Corpse with a gleaming sword in the back.
  3. Freestanding mirror that gives slightly inaccurate reflections.
  4. Chest in a shipwreck. Because who’s going to check while holding their breath? AHAHAHAHAHAA ~cough~
  5. Writing desk with locked pigeon holes, or possibly with a map spread across it.
  6. Vault door embedded in a stone wall.
  7. Table or shelf stocked with fresh food.
  8. Shovel stuck in a freshly turned over mound of soil.
  9. Music box with key, it chimes intermittently to coax creatures closer.
  10. Velvet upholstered throne occupying a low plinth.

You get the idea (and feel free to use those by the way). I’ve been spurred on by people like Raging Swan Press or the Hyper Halfling’s Book of Lists, as they’re immensely useful and a great inspiration for any fantasy based game. I’m also trying to write some for sci-fi based games as I can’t seem to find many free resources that aren’t bound to a particular universe – and I have a Borderlands RP under way – and here’s where I’m coming undone.

It’s actually amazingly easy to write for generic fantasy compared to how difficult it is to write for generic sci-fi because there is no generic sci-fi. Fantasy draws from various mythology and the Tolkein stereotypes wrought from old Norse mythology, elves and dwarves, dragons, giants, demons, the gothic horror classics like vampires and werewolves, mages and witches, knights and brigands. Science fiction is broadly missing these fundamentals to fall upon, with every new sci-fi writer bringing in their own interpretations and semi-original concepts.

We covered a few of the old sci-fi stereotypes a few years ago, and I can build upon this a little with the observations of other students of the genre. We tend towards a human-centric universe with common races either representing some aspect of human society, or being copies of fantasy stereotypes. Minbari, asari, vulcans, and eldar can all be accused of being space elves, narn, krogan, and klingons are space orcs, and Warhammer has abandoned pretence and given us actual Orkz. Fall-back phrases to use when creating generic sci-fi resources might include the use of robots, technology, the advanced aliens, the ancient aliens, the militaristic aliens, any form of descriptor that might set a species apart, but even then it leaves you with little to work with, a very narrow foundation on which to build.

For example, I’ve been attempting to write a fairly common list type, 100 trinkets. Now this can’t include anything that might give a character a major advantage, nothing that can be used as a weapon, but perhaps a curio that highlights some of their backstory, or carries its own story. Something that can easily be shoved into a pocket or doesn’t take up too much space in a backpack. Shouldn’t be too hard right? For fantasy it’s not a problem, there are thousands of items between the various lists on my computer or on my bookshelves:

8. A small sea conch with the words “From the beginning” painted on the lip. – Elemental Evil: Trinkets; Dragon+ Magazine, Wizards of the Coast
51. (Dr) Blood and Laughter, author’s name is an unintelligible symbol. A terrifying collection of scenes involving torture victims and gruesome deaths. It is difficult to tell whether the volume is historical or fictional. – Books; The Hyper Halfling’s book of Lists
6. The red flowers painted on this ceramic vase bloom, wilt and die over the course of a day. – 20 things to find in a bag of holding; Raging Swan Press

Well so far I have forty sci-fi trinkets. In the mean time my collected encounter tables, unique treasures, and cruel encounters all keep getting expanded upon. Despite a dearth of sci-fi properties to inspire and steal from I find myself falling back upon tiny single-purpose robots, holograms, galactic curios, and assorted technojunk. Still I persevere because little projects like this encourage creative thought and give me something geeky to moan about.


Top 10 Mad Scientists

GeekOut Top 10s

Ahahaha! Ahahaha–!!!

… Ah. There really wasn’t much to laugh about, was there? Anyway, welcome back to our weekly Top 10, ladies and gentlemen, where we take a topic that you choose and we choose the best of the best in that category. Today’s subject is a little bit experimental, as we’re going to be looking at our Top 10 Mad Scientists and write up our thesis about their potentials for the top spot. We’ve taken a lot of candidates and we felt like we’d do something a bit different for this one. We’ve put a pinch of this and a dash of that together to give birth to a list which shows off the best of the best of these mad scientists. Creation is a powerful tool; so let’s see what these scientists can bring to life! (more…)


Top 10 – Fictional Celebrities

GeekOut Top 10s

Worlds filled with fictional characters require people to fulfil every role. While we may follow the riveting adventures of school children and taxi drivers, they remain fascinated by popular characters that are only popular to them. You’ll never see a film starring these actors, nor read the works of the authors listed here, but to someone who doesn’t exist they’re very, very real.

If that made any sense, plough on gentle reader, through our Top 10 Fictional Celebrities. (more…)