ConDor convention and the Making Magic Believable panel.

Another hour, another panel. The panel was split on the Twilight books and movies. Some liked the books some liked the movies, and some didn’t any of them. I’ll let you guess who writes vampire books.

One panel member talked about how his wife was reading a book to their child. It was about a snowman that came to life. The snowman plays with the child, plays games and runs around. When the snowman flies the wife couldn’t handle it. There is a line and if your story crosses the line then the story is no longer believable. If the reader falls out of the story you the author have lost. That line is different for every reader.

One panelist brought up the term Mary Sue. The panel defined it as when the author inserts themselves into the story (usually as the hero) with lots of power and no explanation of where the power came from. You run into this in fan fiction a lot.

Another panelist mentioned a person with multi-personality disorder that when one personality took over the person’s eye color changed.

They also talked about Magic Denial. Common in urban supernatural stories.

They did not talk to much about having rules for a magic system such as the Randall Garrett’s books. In them a magician could do some things but there was a cost and a process.

Also they did not talk about having a ridiculous magic system or a magic system where there were rules but the rules are never given away such as the Terry Pratchett books. Mr. Pratchett’s books are funny and that makes up for a lot.


The workshop on telescope making.

it’s been years since I’ve made a telescope. Things have changed. The parts are cheap and available on ebay. I think the instructor made it look and sound too easy. Still for much less than I paid for a lens alone you can make a usable telescope. It did throw people that most telescope users see the havens upside down.

Personal story. My friend built a 6 inch mirror type telescope (a Newtonian). This was long before Dobsonians style telescopes were invented. When he finished the telescope we set it up in his drive way to adjust it. For a quick test I told him to sight on the brightest star he could find and adjust things till he got a pin point of light. He had measured things carefully and built the telescope and its base well so it should have been close and need little adjustment. After trying for a while he gave up saying that the star would not come to a point. I tried for 20 minutes then I noticed that there was a gap in the image of the star. A little bit of adjusting and I had an image, it was Saturn and I had spotted the gap between the rings and the planet.

I have had plenty of fun with a three inch telescope and binoculars so don’t thumb your nose at a small scope.


Write on, draw on.  Professor Voltage.

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