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!
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.
Murphy’s Law would have it, I only really realised that it was depression and not just being tired when I almost hit rock
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!
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.
“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.”
The Ruon Chronicles &
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.
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
The summary of The Ruon Chronicles
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.
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
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.
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.)
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
to Faerie” will, however, be sent around for publication, so it won’t be posted
on the blog.
Chronicles: The Knowledge Stones
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.
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!
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.
(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:
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
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!
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:
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.
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.
(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
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…
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:
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
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!
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.
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
So, hopefully, during June, I’ll be more productive again — huzzah!
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
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
Or, writing and stealing from history while you’re
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
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?
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
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