NaNoWriMo 2019 Update and Other Stories!

It’s almost the fifteenth of the month! And I am not even a quarter of the way through The Knowledge Stones. Oops.
This happened mostly because I’m figuring out exactly what to put where in the first few chapters that is now completely new. I then also realised that I need to change one of the secondary characters’ fate completely and add another secondary character. Now, he actually does have a true purpose and wasn’t just added because he just pitched up! (Which happens quite often while writing.)
In short, the first chapter featuring Zala has been written – whoohoo! – and I’m now on chapter three. Once these are sorted, though, the writing should go a lot faster.
That said, one of my writer friends and I are going to try and write through the night on Friday (15 November) to see how far we can get with our stories and then basically just sleep part of Saturday.

Other stories popping up out of nowhere

I may have also started another short story (which needs to be done by the twentieth as I want to send it to a publication for publishing) and I’m also excited to be busy writing that. I also got a cool idea for another story. For that one I need to do some research still before I can actually plot the whole thing out, but it’s also going to be fantasy.
A third story I’m pondering writing properly is one which has been rattling around in my brain for a few years now. It’s scifi, but definitely not hard scifi by any stretch of the imagination. The story is rather treading that thin line between fantasy and scifi. The story will be an Afrikaans one (just because I feel like writing an Afrikaans one for a change!), while I also want to translate Pandjieswinkelgoed that appeared in Vrouekeur in 2018 into English and send that out for possible publication. But that will have to wait until after November, I’m afraid.

Also, be sure to check out my Instagram (@carin_chronicles) feed for more stories and updates on NaNoWriMo as I go along. You can also read along some parts of The Knowledge Stones on my Patreon page if you’re one of my Patrons.

That’s it from me for now – hope everyone has an absolutely awesome week!

Where I Disappeared To, Medium Articles, and Fiction

So, I got booked off work for two weeks… Turns out that, without realising it, I’d spiralled down into a depressive episode during the past few months.

As Murphy’s Law would have it, I only really realised that it was depression and not just being tired when I almost hit rock bottom. Oops.

The good news is that I’m feeling better now after some rest and a change to my meds. More good news is that my brain seems to be working again and I feel more creative than I was feeling in some time. Yay!

In other news, I’ve added to my Medium articles one entitled “When You Need a Break Because Of Depression and Burnout” (wonder where I got that idea from…). Here’s an excerpt as well.

When You Need a Break Because Of Depression and Burn-out

A Perfect Storm

I see my psychologist, walking to the office with limbs so heavy I feel like I’m barely moving. It’s tears from the moment she asks me how I’ve been.

I see a GP. Spend the night at my sister’s place. I see my psychiatrist, who manages to squeeze me in between two other patients’ appointments.

My body and mind are drained. I’m burnt-out. Deep in a depressive episode. Anaemic to top it off.

I am booked off from work. My meds are changed slightly.

Other Medium Articles

What you can read at the moment, though, is my articles and pieces on Medium!

The pieces at the moment are two creative non-fiction essays and a writing productivity article. The first of the essays can also be read here on the blog: A Green House and Sweet Peas.

“Offering Tea to a Stranger”, which is the second essay, was actually written on 24 August in one go after an event that happened on that Friday. I really just couldn’t shake it off.

Here is the first part of “Offering Tea to a Stranger”:

“I hate shopping. Not so much the act of buying food, but the number of people at the local shops (which is what you get when you live in an enormous city, I guess). See, I get panic attacks — and, boy, do they like showing up when there are too many people and too much noise.

Last Friday, however, when going to the local supermarket, I saw a woman who must be in her seventies, walk down one of the isles. Tinted sunglasses hid half her face. Her crutch was balanced in the shopping trolley, her hands shaking slightly as she slowly walked towards me.

I got out of the way to let her pass, hearing a soft ‘thanks, dear’ as she moved past me. She went to pay at the till next to the one I’d chosen. As usual, I chose the queue that took way longer than it should have and ended up looking at her again. Memories of my grandfather flooded back into my mind.

I remembered well his shaking and trembling as Parkinson’s slowly took hold of his body and the Alzheimer’s emptied his mind of all memories of his family and the world around him.”

Photo by Jijie Forsythe on Reshot

The Ruon Chronicles & Patreon

I am busy with the outline of the whole of the Ruon Chronicles series, and the first (new) Patreon article will go live tomorrow. Worldbuilding!

I’m still figuring out the exact timeline for The Knowledge Stones and should be able to finish that this weekend. It’s turning out to be not as much a rewrite as “adding stuff to make it better”.

I’m also adding another POV in order for the reader to be exactly in the know as to what is going on where in the world.

Grove of Graves will then flow out of The Knowledge Stones before book 2 of The Ruon Chronicles starts. I was planning on creating the first full and revised draft of Knowledge Stones by the end of September but, alas, after my two weeks’ rest there is no way I’m going to push myself that hard.

More info will follow on my Patreon page, where you are also able to read the first draft of Knowledge Stones almost in full.

Other Fiction News

In other fiction news, I did write a story for Paragraph Planet and am now waiting to hear if it will be published. Keep an eye on my Twitter feed!

Now that I’m feeling better, I should be back to a normal blogging schedule (not to mention writing schedule), including writing some worldbuilding posts, Friday stuff, and other cool bits and pieces.

Patreon Is Up and Running!

Well, at last I’ve updated the Patreon page! Both the summary and the tiers have been updated (although tiers still start at $1).

Here is the summary in which I also show where The Knowledge Stones and Grove of Graves fit in.

The summary of The Ruon Chronicles

During the Achtarion War between the Airus and Khaldun, the Knowledge Stone was found by the Airus Ira-laleth. Keeping the stone, which was imprinted with the very words of creation, secret from the Khaldun, Ira-laleth found that she had received the gift to add and imprint other knowledge on the stone as well.

Safely sequestered for three thousand years, the Keepers of the Stone was at last attacked in their shrine — but not before the stone was broken into many pieces to be taken to safety. Given to Airus who fled into the wilderness in order to keep the stone’s knowledge secret, the Khaldun set out after them, slaying many and taking the slivers of stone for themselves. It was also at this time that Ira-laleth and her entire family was slaughtered by the Khaldun. 

The remaining Airus heeded a call in their dreams to flee to the Midlands and the Sanctuaries there and, so, most of the Knowledge Stone pieces were saved when the First Sundering tore through the lands of the Airus and Khaldun, and much of the land sank beneath the waves. After the Sundering, many of the Airus went into hiding throughout Airtha-Eyrassa, fearing that they would still be hunted by the Khaldun. Yet none forsook their oath to keep the stones safe.

The Age of Blood and Sorrow dawned on the lands of Airtha-Eyrassa, only ending with the Second Sundering.

***

Many years pass while the Knowledge Stones become a part of Airtha-Eyrassa’s legends and folklore. With the pieces of knowledge stone now scattered throughout the lands, the long search of the lost Stones by the Seekers of Knowledge begins.

When two Seekers find a Stone that contains knowledge about the Khaldun and how they could once and for all be defeated, a fire is kindled in Airtha-Eyrassa.

  • The Knowledge Stones takes place
  • Grove of Graves takes place

What were only legends suddenly become truth and plunges Airtha-Eyrassa’s lands into war. 

The Ruon Wars covered the Midlands, the enemy led by the Vidolf Elame; a Ruon turned against her own kind to follow the Khaldun. Finally, Elame and her captains are captured and locked inside a pillared prison on an island to spend the rest of their days.

But when the pillars of Elame’s prison fall and those inside are set free, Selena Tellah and others of the Ruon must find a way to stop the dark forces once again amassing against them.

Time is running out and across the Midlands and rumours spread of the Airus returning to remake the Stone. The rumours also talk of the ghosts of Sjahra that will return and set in motion the events of the Third Sundering.

Enter the world of The Ruon Chronicles

To see what my Patreon is all about or to become a Patron, head on over to my Patreon page.

On Finding Time to Write, Compiling an Editorial Calendar, and Outlining a Series

Most of my deadlines for July is now past, and I’m looking forward to August! I always feel around this time of the year that we are now only on a runaway train headed for Christmas, which is compounded by working on summer articles when it’s supposed to still be winter. Yes, I am still saying that this is a very mild Highveld winter. And I’m still living in summer clothes, with perhaps a shawl or light jersey on my way to work.

Two somethings that went wrong

Speaking of work; those who follow the blog will know that I usually write before work (I also miss all the traffic in this way. Two birds…). However, I’ve become very lax indeed in just getting up on time. I’ve been blaming it on the darkness in the morning, but have had a feeling that it’s something else. It turned out to be two somethings. 

Well, it turned out that I’ve been so ill because of a med that was upped and did not agree with me at all at that level and that it wasn’t just the normal side-effects you get the first week or so. That’s sorted now, though. Ah, the joy of psychiatric meds sometimes! (Please don’t comment with reasons why I shouldn’t be taking meds.)

The other something was that my iron levels had plummeted again as I didn’t take iron while I was ill from the other med. Oops. So, for the past four days I’ve been drinking my iron capsules again and am slowly getting my energy back. I’m just glad my iron isn’t iron-transfusion-low again. Sometimes I think my body is hallucinating that it’s 100-years-old.

But enough about boring medical stuff and on to the point that I’m actually trying to get to. Seeing as how I’m well on the mend again, I looked at the work that I’ve been doing (well, the fiction writing) and saw that it wasn’t as much as I had thought. So I knew I had to make some changes if I actually want to get The Knowledge Stones out in the next few months…

Carving Out Time for Your Writing & an Editorial Calendar

A few months ago, I got the course Carving Out Time for Your Writing by Dean Wesley Smithas part of a Storybundle bundle. The first time I watched it, I already felt that I could definitely get more writing done, and then the above happened. So, now that I’m feeling human again, I’ve watched the course again to see what I could do and habits I could change to get my writing done and stop tinkering about.

This course is absolutely wonderful and definitely doesn’t sugar coat the different ways in which you can carve out time to write and how much you can actually get done if you just use your time wisely.

The main thing I think I need to do is to do better time management … it kind of fell by the wayside these past few weeks and I’m completely out of my normal routine. I’ve also been spending far too much time scrolling away on Instagram and Twitter again without doing much of anything on the platform but lurking.

I’ve also made an editorial calendar and actually wrote it on the wall calendar in order to follow it while also seeing the bigger picture. Before I’d write what I’d need to do in my diary, but I would not see the big picture; only what I needed to do on those specific two days (it’s a page-a-day diary). Now I just need to force myself to keep to the calendar, get back into my routine, and let it become habit again.

Outlining a Series

Okay, so I’ve also been honest with myself about the reason why I can’t seem to just sit down and finish the outline for The Ruon Chronicles. It’s not so much not knowing how to outline, it has more to do with being scared that it’ll suck so bad that anyone who downloads a copy will have their screen melt right in front of them. Yes, I’m being that dramatic.

So, to that end, I’ve given myself August to outline the series. That’s it. Thirty-one days to an outline of the series. And then I have to finish the writing of The Knowledge Stones by November so that I can write book two for NaNoWriMo and actually know what I’m going to write and not just pants the thing.

The good thing about the outline is that I basically have The Knowledge Stones (book 1) and the following novella (Grove of Graves) in the bag when it comes to outlining. What I really need to work on are the books that will come after Grove of Graves.

I already have a lot of the story in my head, though, so it’s not just me thumb-sucking everything in The Knowledge Stones and hoping for the best. And this already makes me feel better. I’ll also give my outline to some of my writer-friends to have a look at to see that it actually makes sense and doesn’t just make sense to me.

Patreon updates and early chapters!

I will then post the chapters of The Knowledge Stones — along with some notes — on Patreon as I go along. These will be Patron-only posts, but will be open to everyone; that is to say from the $1 tier. Patrons will, therefore, get a proper behind-the-scenes look as the book unfolds.

This will only happen from mid-August, though. I also need to update my Patreon page to show these changes, which I will do during the first week of August. So I’ll do a shoutout on the blog when my Patreon page is ready.

Medium articles

Lastly, I have also included Medium articles on the editorial calendar. I already have quite a few ideas for these articles. Unlike the blog which has mostly fiction, I will post my creative non-fiction and non-fiction on Medium. As I’m new on the platform I’m still very much finding my feet, but I’m loving what other people and specifically other writers are doing with their Medium pages.

Bring it on, August!

Basically, as you can probably tell, I feel energised and motivated and also have energy to do some proper work on my own projects again!

Blog header image July Writing Update

July Writing Update — Flash Fiction, Ruon Chronicles, and LectureNotes

We’re in the heart of a (very mild, if you ask me) highveld winter and I’ve been plotting away and typing away on various projects. Although I did not get half done of what I wanted to get done, I have to admit that I was ill for most of the month. My brain just said no to fiction a lot of the time.

I also discovered a new note-taking app that I’m now using a lot, but more about that later in the post. First up: the fiction writing.

Flash Fiction

I’ve at last written some flash fiction in new worlds again. The speculative fiction stories are “The Path”, “The Stairs” and “The Statue”, and was written as part of a challenge in our writing group.

“The Path” actually links to another story I’m busy with (okay, slowly busy with) that is also about Faerie and starts with the line: “We half expected him to turn into dust when he found out, you know”. The working title for the story is “Return from Faerie”, but I really want to change it to something a bit more … not that title. It just doesn’t feel like the right title. But it will do for now.

I can’t quite remember what I was reading when the idea popped into my head, but this photo I took at an antiques shop in Parys (the Free State town, not the French city) a few years ago:

Parys Antiques Shop, Backyard

“Return to Faerie” will, however, be sent around for publication, so it won’t be posted on the blog.

Ruon Chronicles: The Knowledge Stones

I’m still busy fleshing out the final outline. I know, I know. I was supposed to put Knowledge Stones on the back-burner, but after I saw that there was no way I could finish the radio drama properly — not just finish it, mind you — in the time left, I decided to pull Knowledge Stones closer.

My main worry at the moment is getting the beginning right in such a way that it’s neither an infodump nor simply a mess of names with no one knowing what’s going on.

I’m now actually beginning the book with the finding of the Knowledge Stone instead of starting with Aaron taking Trevian away as apprentice and already carrying the stone. Man, I made a lot of work for myself by completely pantsing the first draft. That will teach me! Ha!

You actually get to see Zala’s mother (Hanita Khaldun) as well. Zala’s role is also being fleshed out, or I should rather say that Stuff doesn’t happen off-stage anymore. This will also allow me to show more of her personality.

You may wonder if I got another idea for a short story while outlining the opening chapters of the book — why yes, I did. Though this one is truly a short story, not a flash-fiction-piece-turned-novel!

Creative nonfiction

Behold! My first creative non-fiction piece is live on the blog! It’s called “A Green House and Sweet Peas” and is also posted over here on Medium. I’ll give some feedback on the creative non-fiction books that I’ve read in another blog post. Here’s a taste of the post in the meantime:

They painted the house brown. Not a nice brown, but a muddy, dull brown that took away any personality it had had before. Before — when we had been living there — it had been a kind of sea green, a comforting colour. A true colour of nature, one of movement and life and sound. Not of slow erosion and memories long forgotten.

Click on the link to read the rest of “A Green House and Sweet Peas”.

The note-taking app to rule them all

(This is just me rambling on about products I love, not an affiliate product or advert.)

I found LectureNotes quite by chance (or was it chance…) while searching for something completely different. I checked out the trial version and bought it a few days later. Yup. It’s that good an app for me. It’s kind of a mini version of Scapple, but on your phone or tablet. Ok, that’s how close I can come to describing it before realising I can just embed the product video here:

I’ll admit that it is on the expensive side — at least, it is in local currency — but it was money well worth spending on my writing, methinks. I also added the voice recording (paid) and PDF (free) app. As I’m not actually recording or planning lectures with it, I don’t feel that I need the other apps right now.

One of the great things about this app is that I can import my maps and other images as I need to. I also use the typing setting more than the writing one simply because I mostly use it on my phone and not on my tablet. It’s like the people who created the app read my mind and created exactly the app that I was looking for.

While I still write a lot in my notebooks, I find that random ideas and snippets are many times easier to type out than to write down. It’s then also easy to export the pages of the LectureNotes notebooks and send it off to some writing friends to have a look at.

By the way, for desktop use and for making mind maps I can highly recommend Scapple as well. It comes with a 30-day non-consecutive trial, so you don’t have to buy it immediately. I use it for brainstorming stories and articles and find that it works very well. Especially since it integrates with Scrivener and was created by the same company.

Here is Scapple’s product video:

Are there any helpful apps or software that you use when writing? Or do you keep it all analogue with pencil and paper? I’d love to know!

Writing Wednesday Blog Header

Writing Wednesday: “Ruon Chronicles”, “Porselein”, and “All the Things I Forgot”

I’m back from my birthday long weekend (during which I tried to do as much writing or at least planning as possible). Because thank you, headcold.  Here’s what I’m currently busy with and some exciting news for the release of All the Things I Forgot.

Ruon Chronicles — The timeline and The Knowledge Stones

I’ve been doing quite a lot of work on the timeline and rewriting some parts which no longer fit into the larger narrative of the Ruon Chronicles. Most of this has to do with the initial Knowledge Stone and how it was broken and the pieces scattered. I also needed to work on the timeline of The Knowledge Stones and The Grove of Graves as I moved everything closer together rather than having a 200-odd-year gap between The Grove of Graves and the book with the working title Charms of Life and Death. Action! Drama! Intrigue! Adventure! And, of course, embroidery!

Talking of which, I finally drew what I imagine the “hiding cloak” charm looks like:

Hiding Cloak Charm from The Ruon Chronicles

Now, picture a cloak absolutely filled with these charms and you get the idea. I’ve tried some other designs for charms, but I’m not quite happy with those yet. So far I haven’t had to specifically write about them, luckily, which makes things a lot easier.

Porselein & the Ghost Story

I’ve honestly not worked on Porselein in weeks unless you count a bit of research on medieval and renaissance guilds. I did put in some time on the radio drama over the weekend. The idea has changed a bit, but it’s still a supernatural/ghost story with the working title “Moet vergeet” (”Must forget”). The drama is in Afrikaans (like Porselein) and I’m still hoping to finish it in time to enter it into a local radio drama competition. That said, I’ll work mostly on this drama over the next few weeks and put Ruon Chronicles and specifically The Knowledge Stones on the back burner.

All the Things I Forgot

One of the great things about self-publishing something, is that making changes is a lot easier! All the Things I Forgot is not a new story, but a new jacket for Forgotten which, looking back, just didn’t work. The new title also suits the story a lot better, methinks.

Cover for All the Things I Forgot

June news — Time for winter writing spells

The Ruon Chronicles

Finally the first draft of the new first chapter of The Knowledge Stones is finished! Huzzah! Basically the first and third chapters are brand new in order to flesh out the story and and characters and, you know, not pants the whole novel. I’m posting the first part on Patreon tomorrow, so if you’re a Patron, you’ll have access to that post of many others that are only available to read there.

Winter is (more) properly here now

With it being nearly mid-winter, the days are now getting colder (Well, colder for me. Apparently I have anti-freeze in my blood and basically live in my summer clothes right through the year). But, with the longer evenings and dark mornings come some vacation days that I’ve taken around my birthday and which I am planning to spend writing and crafting and just resting.

That said, I am busy designing some more charms for The Ruon Chronicles that I will embroider throughout June and post here and on Instagram. Now I just need to figure out what all the charms mean…

Pain and fever Ruon charm combined

Maps! And moar maps!

While the main map for the world of Airtha-Eyrassa has already been drawn by hand, I’m now digitising the map and some of the other maps that go with The Knowledge Stones. Well, okay, doing it with software rather than just scanning the map into a PDF and working from there. I do prefer drawing with pencil and paper still, though. I very much doubt that I will suddenly turn into a digital art maestro! I don’t mind importing it afterwards and making it a more crisp image that I can use otherwise, however.

Here’s an example of one of the maps I have tried digitising:

May Update: Worldbuilding, a Ghost Story and Tinnitus

Worldbuilding The Ruon Chronicles

I’m really enjoying returning to the beginning of the world of Airtha-Eyrassa to make sure that everything for The Ruon Chronicles slots into each other perfectly. It’s also forcing me to make sure that the magic systems, etc. are working the way I want them to.

For instance, in the next few weeks I’ll be working on the embroidered charms and how the knitting, tapestries, etc. fit into the magic system. See, so far it all works in my head, but writing things down usually shows where the holes are. Some of the worldbuilding will be posted here, with some of it only available on Patreon.

I hope, also, that I will have time to actually embroider some of the charms to see if they work like I want them to when translated into thread during the few days that I’m on vacation in June. Keep an eye out on Instagram for them as I’ll post them there first!

A ghost story

Ah, the radio drama. So… I have the ending. Apparently lying awake while feeling like crap helped with that. Now I just need to fill in the other blanks and actually write the whole thing in the correct format before end of July. It is still going to be a ghost story, though.

I also still have some interviews (okay that sounds a lot more formal than I mean for it too) before finalising the story. Some ghost stories that I’ve been told or at least paranormal encounters I’ve been told about. While I don’t want to use them as is, I still want to write them down or record them as part of my research for the story. All I can say for the moment is that they are (mostly) hospital stories.

A ringing irritating as heck

In other news, while I’ve been productive, I have not been as productive as I could have as my ears are having a field day driving me mad. I was diagnosed with Menière’s Disease in about 2007, but the tinnitus hasn’t been this bad in a long time. I mean, it’s always there, but right now it’s loud, it’s irritating, and, along with my other symptoms like vertigo and nausea, makes me feel really crappy. I have now discovered that a fan and quite loud music together drowns out the damned sound — yay! I do feel a bit guilty for having a fan on in winter, though, as I’m just wasting electricity, really, but I am at the end of my tether.

So, hopefully, during June, I’ll be more productive again — huzzah!

Worldbuilding Airtha-Eyrassa: Knowledge Stones, Part 2

Read the first part of this series here: Knowledge Stones, Part 1.

Worldbuilding the Knowledge Stone

During the early stages of developing the world of Airtha-Eyrassa — that is to say, before the Major Overhaul I started end of (gasp!) 2014 — I already had the idea for a kind of knowledge stone. It was, however, more like a passing fancy than something I could actually make fit into the story. Then came the “flash piece” A Box of Secrets. Which became the novel The Knowledge Stones. ‘Cause that’s how I roll, apparently.

Suddenly pieces that had either been glaring plot holes or which I’d thought of just abandoning fell into place. If I had been in the bathtub at that time I probably would have at least shouted “Eureka”. Rather, I think, I had one of those weird writer-stares where your brain is running a million miles an hour plotting, while you’re waiting to pay for milk and also still trying to act like a human.

From the beginning, though, the knowledge stones were green (I guess because it’s a pretty colour? *goes in search of symbolism dictionary*), and now they became part of the very mythology of the world as well. Because a world needs it’s myffic stuff.

In the previous part of this series I already mentioned that I picture the original Knowledge Stone as looking something like the Code of Hammurabi:

The Knowledge Stone, however, had to be broken to keep it safe, which meant that pieces and even splinters of the stone was carried away from the hall where the Stone was kept. These pieces may have had writing on them, or have been plain. It was, however, the ones with the writing on that Lewjan and his followers were most intent on finding and taking for themselves. Many pieces were captured in this way by the enemy, but many valuable pieces of the broken stone was kept safe because there was no writing on it.

However, what makes the stone so special in actual fact, is that knowledge can be imprinted into the stone by those who have the Talent called Nithrus. The stone, therefore doesn’t have to be inscribed in order to be filled with knowledge. Only those with Nithrus can read the knowledge locked within the stone. At first only some of the Airus had Nithrus, but, later, some of the half-Airus, half-humans also had Nithrus and could read the stones. It’s these Airus and “Airahna” that mostly become the Seekers of Knowledge.

Worldbuilding Airtha-Eyrassa: The Knowledge Stone, Part 1

Or, writing and stealing from history while you’re at it

While all fantasy ‘steals’ some elements from primary world sources (Game of Thrones and the War of the Roses, for instance), it’s usually done in a ‘stealing for fun and profit’ kind of way. Many of the influences and references writers aren’t even aware of while they’re writing. I mean, you usually go out and research Stuff, but you never know when something you read fifteen years ago will suddenly pop out its head in your fiction and you don’t even realise it until the piece is already published (or at least polished). And then you vaguely remember the lecturer mentioning it in class once and you thought that it was quite cool back then and it stuck.

Stealing from history because you go looking for something

On the other hand there are the times where I actually go and look for primary world inspiration for a secondary world. For instance, when cementing the look of the Knowledge Stone (and later stones) in my mind once and for all.

I already had the idea of the Stone being covered in runes (not the Futhark; runes I made up), but looking more like Mesopotamian tablets (think Sumerian and Babylonian); only bigger. And green. Enter the Code of Hammurabi.

The Code of Hammurabi and the Gudea Cylinders

The first time I saw a photo of the Code of Hammurabi, I was bus reading something about the Old Testament. (Can I remember more than that? Can I recall which book I’d taken from the shelf? Alas, no.)

While the photo was small, it stuck in my mind, and now popped up again when I went to look for inspiration. And, thank you, Wikipedia, because I also came across some of the Gudea Cylinders from Mesopotamia that further influenced the look of what I had in mind for the stone.

Here is the Code and the Cylinders:

Now all that’s left is to finish building the important scenes around the Knowledge Stone and its breaking. This takes place loooooong before the actual novel The Knowledge Stones, so I just need to outline it basically, and keep from falling into the worldbuilder’s disease trap!