MALLORY DUNCAN, Arts, Etc. Asst. Editor
Stefan LeBlanc enters a world every day that not many people can: the science fiction/fantasy world.
Having already authored three books, his most recent work, “Diamond Duster,” has been featured on iTunes in the front page of the action and adventure section since last week.
LeBlanc, a fifth-year senior, is following one of his favorite sci-fi shows’ mantra—Star Trek’s “To boldly go where no man has gone before”—by mixing two genres in his writing. His first two published novels—“Dungeon Crawlers: Episode 1” and “Dungeon Crawlers: Episode 2—combine fantasy with science fiction.
“The reason why I like science fiction is because it’s a good escape from standard society,” LeBlanc said. “We’ve got cars and whatnot here, but you can go into a world where there’s flying airships. There’s magic and someone flinging fireballs all over the place. It’s a good place for your mind to wander.
“I tend to take a more fast-paced view of science fiction. I take the fantasy world and blend it with the science fiction action,” LeBlanc said.
Besides gleaning inspiration for his novels from Star Trek and other sci-fi shows and video games, LeBlanc uses real scenarios from playing Dungeons and Dragons with his friends.
Dungeons and Dragons is a dice game where people take on imaginary personas and go on adventures with other people.
“It’s funny what a bunch of guys in a room hopped up on Mountain Dew and Cheetos can actually come up with in the middle of the night,” LeBlanc said.
Zach Heider, a junior, participates in the games with LeBlanc.
“(Playing the game is) a really cool atmosphere, like a campfire, where someone’s telling a story and you get really into it,” Heider said. “It’s storytelling where even though it’s totally geeky and nerdy, it envelops your entire imagination.”
LeBlanc uses his interactions with friends during gameplay to add another important element to his novels: comedy.
“I’m one of those people who likes to sit back and relax and laugh,” LeBlanc said. “A lot of times during the day I just want to be entertained, and I want to bring that entertainment to my writing.”
LeBlanc has many different talents besides writing. He’s tried his hand in juggling and, just last summer, he played semi-professional football. But, at Butler University, before switching to his journalism major, he was a theatre major.
Growing up in Vancouver, LeBlanc toured around with the Vancouver Youth Theatre, performing student pieces. He even used some of his own works for auditions later in his theatre career.
Although LeBlanc doesn’t know exactly what he wants to do, he knows that all of his various hobbies will help him in his future career.
“I feel like I can use all of my interests in some point in my life,” LeBlanc said. “Everything I’ve done so far I feel like I can contribute towards whatever career is in front of me.”
Heider also agrees that life experiences help with LeBlanc’s writing.
“I think that is going to help immensely by just broadening his knowledge base,” Heider said, “especially when you’re writing fiction and anything goes. If you have a general knowledge and you can turn it into something fantastical, even if it’s not realistic, that’s great.”
LeBlanc is a world traveler. His treks have influenced every piece of writing he creates. Besides growing up in Canada, he volunteered in Latin America for six months and has travelled around Europe extensively.
“There’s so many different cultures I’ve seen,” LeBlanc said. “There’s a blend of different cultures in Dungeon Crawlers, one person will be eating sushi, another a hot dog.”
For right now, LeBlanc is focusing on his writing. Working in the genres of fantasy and science fiction, LeBlanc is always creating new intricate scenarios in his mind that are a part of another world.
“I have a hugely active imagination. I’m always writing in my head when I’m standing in a line or doing nothing,” LeBlanc said. “I sometimes see a tree and I can just think, ‘Wow, I wonder what I can do with that.’ And all of a sudden in my mental image I’m seeing monsters swinging about or some battle going on and the tree collapses.”
LeBlanc’s mind is always working, so much so that he never has writer’s block.
“There’s never a point where I get stuck. My problem is that I get distracted very easily. I’ll start a sentence, like ‘he raises his sword,’ and think, ‘Maybe I should play Super Smash Brothers,’” LeBlanc said. “I almost feel bad for some of my characters because they’ve been holding up a sword in the air for two weeks.”
Dungeon Crawlers Episodes 1 and 2 feature characters in a world far different from our own, a world completely built from LeBlanc’s extensive imagination. But he said the characters keep the novels grounded.
“There’s definitely a sense of realism in there,” LeBlanc said. “If you’re writing believable characters, the audience will believe the book, even if the world is completely extraordinary.”
His characters, Lars and his brother Izlude, are as normal as people in our world. Lars has a sense of adventure, while Izlude tries to hold him back from doing anything too crazy or dangerous.
Since his writing isn’t traditional, it seems fitting that LeBlanc’s writing tactics are just as unique.
“I feel like for writing, it’s bad to just sit up holed in a room and just write,” LeBlanc said. “Just go out and have a good time, you never know when an idea is going to pop in your head.”
With the three books he’s published, his tactics, however different from the “norm,” seem to be propelling this young author toward success.