brightknightie: With Hank and Diana in the lead, the children confront Tiamat. (Other Fandom D&D poster)
#10. Recommend a fannish reference resource.

In Dungeons & Dragons (the '80s cartoon!), I heartily recommend the astounding Dungeons & Dragons cartoon encyclopedia! It's everything I ever wanted to do for FK non-fiction, and more and better. If you ever loved this show, it's easy to get lost in delight there, link to link, script to script.

In Battlestar Galactica (the original series!), I rely on The Battlestar Wiki for anything I can't remember where to find in canon (and for what's beyond canon). It has a few blind spots, connected (I presume) to certain Real Life situations (e.g. Serina isn't in the recurring character list, though several less-frequent characters are).

As you probably know, in Forever Knight, I assembled my own reference materials back in the day, including a script-based flashback timeline (a variation on [livejournal.com profile] wiliqueen's phenomenal costume-based flashback timeline, and building also on Dorothy's version), a Crusades/FK chronology alignment, and 7 character FAQs (mainly the S3 characters). I started, but never completed, lists of all named FK places and things and FK characters, and an FK quotation concordance. To this day, I keep print-outs of my timeline and aired-order episode list on a bulletin board above my desk at home.
brightknightie: Janette c.1440-1460, wearing an embroidered net lace veil over her hair (Janette Historical)
([livejournal.com profile] wiliqueen? [livejournal.com profile] lizbetann?)

While I'm sharing articles, here's an exciting discovery of interest to historians, costumers and historical-fiction writers, readers and viewers: "600-year-old linen bras found in Austrian castle" (July 18, 2012; CBS News).

Previously, historians had believed that the brassiere as we know it was invented to succeed the corset.  These artifacts demonstrate that the corset design was instead an interruption between eras of the more sensible brassiere design!  Unfortunately, this article includes just one photograph of only one of the four fifteenth-century bras — which were first discovered in 2008, but the carbon-dating and other tests and investigations took time.

(More interested in what's under pants than dresses?  "Also found at Lemberg Castle in Tyrol was a linen undergarment that looks very much like a pair of panties. But Nutz said it is men's underwear...")

Oh, the things we don't know because no one bothered to write or paint them! :-)
brightknightie: Schanke and Nick at a hot dog stand ("Eating his way across town") (Partners)
NPR this morning played a fun article of interest to writers, readers and viewers of police procedurals: "For Writers, The School Of Hard Cops" (article text, podcast MP3). 

Derek Pacifico, after more than twenty years with the San Bernardino (CA) County Sheriff's Department, runs a company called Crime Writers Consultations, which teaches seminars such as "The Writer's Homicide School."  (They also offer personal beta chats: "Sign up for 1/2 hour or a full hour of one-on-one phone consultation on police procedures or any law enforcement questions you have that will benefit your script, novel or acting experience.")

Between them and Wikipedia and our friendly neighborhood public libraries, let's get things right! ;-)
brightknightie: Nick looking up. (Nick)
This weekend, the radio program Soundprint featured an article, "Sunshine and Darkness," about Xeroderma Pigmentosum.  People with XP, among other challenges, cannot tolerate sunlight.  Within the story of Forever Knight, XP is the most practical, realistic basis for Nick's "sun allergy" cover (we all knew that, I'm sure).

What was new to me was Camp Sundown, a "night camp" offering sun-sensitive children the traditional camp experience, "just on a different time clock."  related FK story concepts )

I think that there is potentially a lot of rich storytelling material there, if anyone might like to take it up.  I might come back to that Schanke idea, myself, someday, but I absolutely do not mean to hog "Camp Sundown" as a font of FK story ideas!  It's available for all.
brightknightie: Nick as US Civil War doctor (Medicine)
In the present day, FK has Nick disguise his inability to tolerate sunlight behind a generic claim of "allergies."  While of course allergies and skin conditions have always been around, I wondered, when was the idea of allergies invented?  What did past generations call allergies?  When could Nick have begun using allergies as an excuse, and what excuses might he have used before that point?  (I once wrote a story in which he blamed mustard gas exposure for his skin's sensitivity. There must be infinite such possibilities.)

Several brief histories of allergies turn up in any search engine (a few obviously heavily plagiarized, unfortunately), but the most extensive and informative seems to be a corporate newsletter's three-part summary of the book Ancestors of Allergy (1994), edited by Estelle Simons: Part 1 (Ancient World), Part 2 (Middle Ages and Renaissance), Part 3 (Modern).  On the skin condition side, the available authority seems to be the Historical Atlas of Dermatology and Dermatologists (2002) by John Crissey, Lawrence Parish and Karl Holubar.

It turns out that the word "allergy" was coined in 1906, and "analphylaxis" in 1902.  How long those words took to enter the common vocabulary and understanding, I don't know, but I would guess that they remained medical/academic specialty concepts for some years.

More History )

At this time, I conclude that allergies are not a highly useful cover for Nick's condition before the latter half of the twentieth century, but that the humoral understanding of skin conditions may yield some plausible excuses.  More research!
brightknightie: Natalie using her microscope in her lab. (Natalie Again)
I've encountered much news coverage of a recently-released study of the state of the medical examiner and coroner systems in the US.  As summed up by Scientific American magazine, the investigative journalists discovered that "only about 20 percent of coroners have forensics certification, and most face limited resources and large workloads."  Of course this is across the border as well as across the years from our favorite fictional Toronto Medical Examiner, but the reports share diverse information and anecdotes about real life in the profession, and I thought perhaps someone might be inspired by the reporting -- besides helping address the Real Life issues, if that's within your sphere, of course! -- to write a new FK fanfiction focusing on the Coroner's Office side of the story, perhaps starring Natalie or Grace.

(In "Cherry Blossoms," Natalie says: "I'm sorry, Nick. It's been a bad day. They've cut my budget all to hell. I've got to lose two of the attendants from my shift, and they've all got families. Worst of it is, they've got nothing to go to. Working in a morgue doesn't really qualify you for anything else.")

The extensive Scientific American article is "Real CSI: Patchy U.S. Death Investigations Put the Living at Risk" by A.C. Thompson, et. al. (February 1, 2011).  The PBS Frontline documentary is now available online.  And NPR has broadcast numerous reports, including "Autopsy Cutbacks Reveal 'Gray Homicides'."
brightknightie: Natalie using her microscope in her lab. (Natalie Again)
I've tended to picture Natalie's lab as a simple rectangle, but of course it's not.  Varying a little season to season and episode to episode, it's usually arranged about like this: Map of Natalie's Lab )

What caught my attention is that it's not the walls jogging in and out that my memory had oversimplified.  Instead, in conversation with [personal profile] celli about her [community profile] femme_fic story, I realized that I have habitually, mistakenly, imagined the exam table as parallel to the counter (with the desk thus on the same wall as the counter)!  I went back through many screenshots (most courtesy of Knight Watchman) and worked out the map above, pushing and pulling at my longstanding mistaken impression.  Why had I pictured the exam table sideways?

Wide shots of the lab are rare, of course, but that's not the key.  I concluded that it really comes down to FK's tete-a-tete filming style, in which conversations between two characters do not usually show both on screen at the same time when that would require the camera to back up to capture both.  Instead, the camera more often flips from framing one character's torso to framing the other's, showing each against his/her own background throughout the conversation.  Of all the scenes in Natalie's lab, so many frame Natalie against her desk and Nick (or Schanke, Grace, Tracy) against the counter, with no hint of the wall space between.  My imagination had discarded the "missing" wall, the one with the chalkboard on it.
brightknightie: Toronto sunset cityscape (Toronto)
A few weeks ago, [livejournal.com profile] endcredits asked why North American writers get so many "Britpicking" resources, but so little exists in the reverse.

Perhaps you already knew this, but it just occurred to me today to look: Wikipedia has a fairly extensive Canadian English entry!  I'm sure its quality is erratic, like most wiki productions, but it nevertheless appears to be an easily mined treasure for those of us who write stories set in Canada, yet are not ourselves Canadian.  The vocabulary subsection looks especially helpful for keeping our characters sounding properly at home.  (There is also a US English entry. Its vocabulary subsection is unfortunately not as handily organized.)
brightknightie: Tracy in her kitchen, while Vachon is in her fridge (Tracy)
Because I posted about it a few weeks ago, I want to follow-up and say that the FanHistory.com experiment has turned out unfortunately.  Its problems most importantly seemed to include violating the value of not posting real-life information against people's wishes.  If you're interested in all the details, this initial summary here with follow-up here was recommended to me by a good friend.

There is some talk on forkni-l about Gaylin's FK Wiki as an alternative.

For myself, just personally, I think I'll stick with working on my own site and ongoing projects for now.  I have a lot of work to do on the Character Directory, FK Universe List, and Quotations Concordance -- as well as stories to write!  As long as FK is forging on, I'm happy in fandom.

brightknightie: Schanke in a Hawaiian shirt at the Dolph Inn (Schanke)
Recently, in FK on my Friends List:

  • On July 16, [livejournal.com profile] amilyn posted "Somewhat Useful," a traditional drabble (100 words) featuring Schanke and Urs.  (Yes, you read that right.  It says, "Schanke and Urs."  Honest.  Credit the prompt to [livejournal.com profile] wiliqueen.)

  • On July 14, [livejournal.com profile] ithildyn made remarks about a FK/Iron Man, Janette and Tony crossover idea.  I can only assume that egging her on would be a positive step, even though the story could never be posted to fkfic-l (rules, rules).

  • On July 11, [livejournal.com profile] abby82 posted her Schanke vid "The Rockafella Skank" to a song by Fatboy Slim.  I am not familiar with this music genre, but the Schankeness is pure.  It's a light-hearted, totally pre-"Black Buddha" production.  (And it's the first vid she ever made.)

As for me, after a hectic, horrid, work week, I've used up just about all my hobby time this weekend reading and remarking on [livejournal.com profile] oldschoolfic ficathon stories by my fellow players, and thanking those who kindly replied to my story.  What I want to be doing now is taking [livejournal.com profile] greerwatson's advice and adding a "Relative Reality" column to my Places & Things of the FK Universe list.  Honestly, when I began it, I meant to list only the fictional things unique to FK (e.g. the Borchiver Award from "Can't Run, Can't Hide").  But I blundered into some that are quite real (e.g. Humbar Nurseries from "Only the Lonely") and [livejournal.com profile] greerwatson is very generously sharing her Toronto expertise to make the distinctions for the benefit of FK writers.  I hope to get that scrubbed and up this week, if not this weekend.  (What is it with Real Life, eternally interfering with fandom? ~g~)

Are there other FK-eligible ficathons on the horizon?  If not, I've promised [livejournal.com profile] much_madness that I'll try to address her taste for ficlets (101-1000 words) in some way.  And I still owe [livejournal.com profile] hearts_blood that NCIS/FK unbirthday crossover.

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brightknightie: A blue and white stylized Toronto skyline, circa 1992-1996 (Default)
Amy R.

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