Thoughts On Writing Outside Your Genre

If you’ve been following the blog, you probably noticed that most of my stories are fantasy, sci-fi or some form of speculative fiction. So you can understand my trepidation when I learned that the genre for the Jozi Shorts Anthology is contemporary fiction. Well, colour me challenged.

The last non-genre story that I wrote was Pandjieswinkelgoed that appeared in Vrouekeur magazine two years ago.

Luckily we received an extension on the closing date for stories, as I could not for the life of me think of anything to write. Well, at least not anything that wasn’t genre fiction. I did finally get an idea for the story, and ended up still writing some of it on the day the story was due. Oops.

It’s called “The Goldfish and the Astronaut” as I quite like the title and, yes, it does go with the very-much-not-spec-fic story. The astronaut bit actually popped into my mind when listening to “Difference Maker” by NEEDTOBREATHE.

“Difference Maker” by NEEDTOBREATHE

What I learned from writing outside my genre

All in all, though, writing a story that is outside my usual genre did teach me some things:

  • I can actually write outside my genre when I need to (or want to). Writing about “normal” people may just be possible — without ending up giving them superpowers or adding a dragon to the story, or something, I mean.
  • Writing outside your genre takes practice just like writing in your genre does. Boy is that story going to need some editing still!
  • A short story needn’t be a sprawling epic — a few moments of a life can feel “epic” as well. Also, you don’t necessarily need a dragon or other creature to make it epic.
  • I still really struggle with happy endings in short stories. Give me longer pieces and I can do it. Given me a few thousand words and, apparently, I cannot.
  • Waiting for the story to magically write itself is not going to work. You need to start typing or writing to get the story flowing. (Where are those story elves who work through the night cobbling a story together when you need them?)
  • Writing outside my genre does stretch some writing muscles you didn’t know you had. So, much like a new yoga position, you need to practice your muscles if you want to write anything worthwhile.
  • Don’t dwell on it. Much like writing an article about tarantulas all of a sudden and having to do oodles of research, you will need to do some research for your story as well, and may have to dig deep to find the humanity.
  • I will get lost in looking at the gallery section if I go on the NASA website.
  • Even when writing non-genre fiction, my search history will somehow turn out weird. Go figure.

This week I’m back to working on The Ruon Chronicles’ outline and hopefully doing a breakdown of book 2 to see where some changes are needed. I still want to finish this by the end of February, so let me get cracking!

Worldbuilding Wednesday: The Magic System of The Ruon Chronicles

In the world of Airtha-Eyrassa (the world in which The Ruon Chronicles takes place), magic and magical abilities are called Talent or Nith. The nith is further split into four distinct branches, namely Nith, Nithrus, Nithran, and Nith-Eyr.

The Four Branches of Nith

Nith/Ruon Nith

Also called “Ruon nith”, “nith” usually refers to the Talent of the Ruon and their embroidered charms. This includes nith used in healing, guarding and creating armour.

Nithrus

“Nith of the Airus” refers to the Talent innate in the Airus. This includes being able to read the Knowledge Stones.

Nithran

This type of nith is only found in the Tellerassar (shapeshifters) and Water Women and is, like Nithrus to the Airus, innate in them.

Nith-Eyr

Nith-Eyr, or “Nith of the Veil”, refers to the Talent which the Airus and Khalne possess and which they use to “walk the Veil”. The Airus Tarion and Amalia are seen walking the Veil in the story Grove of Graves.

The Embroidered Charms of the Ruon

The Main Types of Charms

The embroidered charms of the Ruon can be divided into two main types – healing charms and guarding charms.

The healing charms may include such charms as those against pain, fever, and to knit bones, as well as those to ensure safe delivery in difficult pregnancies. However, some of the guarding charms may also be used for new mothers and babies; usually in conjunction with healing charms.

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Pain and fever charms combined

Some of the most potent of the guarding charms are those which guard against the Khalver and weapons. These, however, are seen and used very seldom because they are so difficult to make and take such a large amount of nith or Talent (this refers specifically to the Ruon talent gifted to an individual by the Creator (Agrai) and not just the talent to create needlework) to make.

Most of the knowledge of making them was also lost in the Great Burning, during which all but a tiny handful of the books of the Ruon were burnt and their knowledge subsequently forgotten. The hiding cloaks some of the Ruon can make are also counted among the guarding charms because they are mostly used to hide a Ruon from the eyes of those who are not Ruon and specifically those who are the enemy of the Ruon.

How the Charms Are Worked and Where They Are Worn

The charms may be worked on any fabric and in any thread, though specific thread and fabric are usually used in Ruon Haliern and manufactured there especially for this use. The reason why the charms may be worked on any surface is that it is not the fabric or the thread which is magical, but is only endowed with a certain amount of nith by the Ruon while the charm is being constructed. Some thread and fabric – those which are stronger and have a higher thread count – may, however, last a bit longer and the fabric may also be used more than once to make either the same or different charms.

As can be seen in the preview of The Ruon Chronicles, the charms may be worked on clothing and not just on charm cloths carried by the wearer. These charms which the strongest Ruon (like Ruaha and Ruenna) wore, were in many ways as tough as armour while still allowing the Ruon a free range of movement. To make such an outfit, however, required a very large amount of both nith and time and, unlike metal armour, would only last until the threads lost integrity as the nith locked within the threads were used.

Those worked over Ruaha’s heart kept her alive not only because of their strength, but also because of the placement. While the charm could not deflect the blade of the knife, it could stop the blood from exiting the wound, thereby making the body “think” that it is still whole and not wounded to such a degree. Ruaha also kept these charms hidden because she knew that they would give her the upper hand should she be injured. Nith from the other charms she wore could be moved to the charms over her heart because she was a Ruon and she was using it herself. This is why the rest of her dress started to fade and those charms break first. Once all the other nith was used up, the charms over her heart was at last used and lost their integrity. If it had been a less severe wound she could have been saved by using this method to keep the wound from bleeding.

Order in Which the Charms Are Worked

The charms must further be worked in a specific order in order for the charm to function. For instance, when working a pain charm, the first “layer” of stitches will be the lines crossing the circle. Next the circle itself will be worked as the second “layer”, whereafter the lines crossing the first layer will be worked. These stitches hold the nith within the charm and anchors it to the thread. Once the thread is knotted and cut, the thread will turn a deeper colour as the nith is fastened to it. This is one of the few ways in which a true Ruon charm can be discerned from that of a fake one when it is being made. For instance, a non-Ruon may work the same pattern as the Ruon, but the charm’s colour will not change and neither will it contain any of the nith required to work.

Colours in Which the Charms Are Worked

The colour of the thread is not of such big import, but coloured thread is used in order to see whether 1) the nith is fixed to the charm and 2) when the charm is fading and losing integrity. Traditionally red, blue, and green thread is used to create the different charms. Different colours may also be used in the same charm when there are different “layers” present. This is especially done by those only learning how to make the charms, but is also sometimes done for aesthetic reasons when worn on items of clothing.

More detail about the different nith can be found on my Patreon page, along with other worldbuilding and story notes.

Musings On My Writing

“Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one” – Terry Pratchett.

I truly believe that by reading and writing fantasy – and sometimes scifi – I get to explore more than if I didn’t write any genre fiction. Fantasy delves into so many fields; linguistics, archaeology, history, etc. that I learn a lot more about the world than I otherwise probably would have!

That said, I do think that this quote by Pratchett is perfectly true. So many times I’ve been told that fantasy is worthless/for children/not ‘real’ enough. I think those that believe this haven’t read fantasy (or at least any good fantasy that really makes you think).

But I’m not going to allow them to keep me from writing what I want to write! Even if some people dislike stories that can be classified as Noblebright, which The Ruon Chronicles are. There’s so much hurt and hate in the world that I think we need more hopeful stories and less Grimdark ones.

That doesn’t mean that characters are without flaws and live in Happy World, though. For me it means getting inspired to face reality and make the choice that would leave the world a better place than before.

What about you? Do you like Noblebright stories or Grimdark? Or somewhere in-between?

NaNoWriMo 2019 News!

The weeks have been absolutely flying by — along with all the deadlines that come with the last stretch of the year when you work in magazines. With the worst of the deadlines behind me now (I hope, because, wow, we were extremely busy), I realised about a week ago that NaNoWriMo is literally a few days away. And, in the spur of the moment, I signed up.

NaNoWriMo Plans

Now, I’m not planning on starting a new project for NaNoWriMo, but will try to finish The Knowledge Stones. Basically because I’ve been saying that for months now, but have completely fallen out of my writing routine. So I am seeing NaNoWriMo also as a way to get back into my writing routine. Will I reach 50K words though? Yes, if I manage to finish The Knowledge Stones! Actually, it should be a bit over 50K, but I’ll first focus on just getting the book done as opposed to simply hitting a target.

The first two days of NaNoWriMo didn’t go quite as planned, though. On Friday I was simply too tired after a week of deadlines and one crisis after another at work. I may have also had pizza for lunch and that also made me very lazy.

Then, on Saturday, it was the final match of the Rugby World Cup (South Africa vs England) and I spent part of the day listening to the match on the radio and, when we won, the street erupted with the sound of vuvuzelas, which was quite unexpected — and didn’t help my headache at all.

I ended up doing most of the chores on Saturday afternoon before starting to write. But this at least means that I can spend a glorious Sunday writing most of the day.

Peanuts GIF celebrate party

Updates for NaNoWriMo

I won’t be doing a lot of updates on the blog though, but will be doing updates on Patreon (where you’ll be able to read along if you’re a patron) and Instagram. Come say hi!

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

It actually feels great to be getting back into the swing of things, especially writing-wise.

Though I can feel the remnants of the anaemia still, I am doing so much better. And writing at a proper pace again, which is — to say the least — awesome.

The one thing I do like about warmer weather is the longer days. Indeed, it’s getting much easier to get up earlier (or at least get out of bed earlier and not sit and read, thinking that it’s a lot earlier than it actually is!).

This, in turn, means that I get to work much earlier, leaving myself time to write before I start on emails and all the rest.

On Flash Fiction and Short Stories

Good news! Last week, my story “The whispers of forgotten phone calls” was published on Paragraph Planet (be sure to check them out, they have new fiction every day!) and I’m also very close to being done with “The White Road to Cremation”.

“White Road” is another flash piece that I got inspiration for when I read “the white rose and carnation” wrong. It was really small print on the screen, ok? Ha!

It’s set in a secondary world of some sort, and I think I may have also taken some inspiration from Porselein for it. Porselein, by the way, is still coming, I just want to get The Ruon Chronicles’s Knowledge Stones and Grove of Graves done first.

I think if I’m going to try and write in too many secondary worlds at once, my head’s going to implode in any case! It seems that I work better when busy with one big project at a time and just adding little projects like flash fiction or short stories to it. Otherwise it’s kind of like me trying to juggle a whole lot of burning torches — not a good idea.

What I’m Reading At the Moment

I’ve also grabbed some new — or newish — books to read or finish reading. (But, I’ll admit it, I usually forget to update Goodreads when I start or finish a book.)

Anyway, one book which I’ve finished is The Story Solution: Re-Write Your Life* by Sean M. Platt and Johnny Truant. It’s copyrighted 2018, but I’ve actually only glanced at it while on Kindle or Kobo until a few weeks ago.

I’ll do a proper review of the book probably next week, but, in short, I really enjoyed it and it came at a very good time in my life as well. (Not to mention being an affordable little volume, cough-cough.)

The book that I’m currently busy reading is The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface*, by Donald Maass. I’d bought it a while ago already, actually, but have only read the beginning up until now. The “problem” is that the book is so dense (in a good way)  and has so many wonderful exercises, that you want to savour every page!

Once you start reading, though, the pages just fly by. I’ll also do a proper review of this book once I’ve finished it.

*Both Story Solution and The Emotional Craft of Fiction were bought by myself on KOBO and Kindle.

What Writing This Week Holds

This week I’ll be working on finishing up “The White Road to Cremation” as well as a few Medium articles. Over the weekend I’ll then focus on Knowledge Stones and all things Ruon Chronicles. There is also an outline that I want to do for a new Speculative Grammarian essay. Mwahahaha!

To read my other Medium articles, you can click here.

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.

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!

End-of-March Writing Update: Ruon Chronicles, Ghost Stories, and Other Stuff

Okay… so that was March flitting by faster than a Will o’ the Wisp…

To say that I didn’t do everything I wanted to this March (fiction writing wise) is an understatement. Well, okay, word count-wise it was a flop. Thinking about stories and outlining Stuff was much more productive.

Turns out that I did not get to write for The Mighty this month, but neither did I have a chance to finish my homework for my writing course (which is more important, honestly).


Porselein

If you’re new to the blog (hello!), I’m writing the Afrikaans novel Porselein (”Porcelain”) for the course, but I reread the notes on the ending and decided to change it somewhat. There’s no Big Reason other than it having sucked a bit, honestly. It just seemed too easy. So, a rewrite it is!

I also brainstormed another plot piece at the beginning a few months ago and need to incorporate that into the part I’ve already written. Unfortunately I can’t say much more as it will give away some spoilers. But, trust me, the second round of outlining — or is this the third? — is turning out so much better than the first one.

Ruon Chronicles – The Knowledge Stones and the Chronicles as a whole

The updates to the first chapter of The Knowledge Stones (it was first known as The Box of Secrets) is going well and I should have them up on Patreon after the weekend.

As for the Chronicles as a whole, I’ve slotted in another novella — see how I didn’t say “flash fiction” — after Grove of Graves and before Charms of Life and Death. The outlining for that one is sparse at the moment, but it takes place during the Ruon Wars and is a continuation of sorts of Grove of Graves. I’m thinking of it as a “Children in Need Doctor Who Special Episode”, where it’s awesome to have seen, but you’ll still be able to follow the story just fine if you end up missing it.

The reading order for The Ruon Chronicles will be:

  • The Knowledge Stones (novel)
  • The Grove of Graves (novella)
  • The yet unnamed novella
  • Charms of Life and Death (novel) 
  • The rest of the novels

Charms was supposed to have been “Book 1”, but then Outlining and Brainstorming happened. Which is why I realised I can’t be a pantser and try to write epic fantasy! Groves is also a standalone story (okay, sort of) which just needs some editing before I can finally republish. However, I am first going to write draft two of Knowledge Stones before finishing Grove of Graves.

Ghosts and Spooks and Paranormal Thingies, oh my!

I think I’ve again been listening to far too many paranormal podcasts. Not only do I have ideas for various ghostly short stories (and the radio drama I still desperately want to write), but I now also want to finally write the “Ghost Flower” story which I started all the way back in 2017 when I’d just started my new job. Which I now realise is not really “new” anymore. Luckily I still love the job, so yay!

Peanuts GIF celebrate party

To this end, I’ll use April to outline these stories and then decide which to write first. As they are all short stories, they will be a lot easier to fit in-between writing Porselein and Knowledge Stones.

To read “Ghost Flower” as it stands at the moment, you can go to this link.

That’s my update for March, really. I did decide not to take part in April’s Camp NaNo as I’ll basically be outlining, so no shiny badges for me, I’m afraid. I can’t wait to see what everyone else gets up to, though!

How did your March go? And are you taking part in Camp NaNo? Tell me in the comments!

Coffee break gif

My Current Writing Research Sources

I thought that it might be interesting to show the type of books and sources I use for research and to up my writing game. These are not all of the books and sources I use, mind you. But they do give an idea of what I’m referring to at the moment.

The Ruon Chronicles/The Knowledge Stones

The Knowledge Stones is rapidly nearing its final scene, and now I’m starting to worry that everything that needs to pay off, won’t. Which I guess is a good thing as I will then make sure that they do pay off instead of just writing “The End”.

I bought The Last Fifty Pages by James Scott Bell over the weekend as an extra reference to read through before writing the very end of the book. The main reason for this is that part of the book was written through pantsing, and I don’t want the ending to feel like that.

While I was at it, I also got 27 Fiction Writing Blunders by the same author– because sometimes you need someone to call you out on something stupid that you’re busy doing in your writing and not realising you’re doing — this one I’ve yet to start on, though.

Books:

Porselein

The world of Porselein has more of a Renaissance feel to it than Ruon Chronicles and, to that end, I have to read up a lot about the period. The first book I turned to was The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy by Jacob Burckhardt; a book I’d read (okay, scanned) during Literary Theory at varsity and about three years ago found at a library sale. (This book was first published in 1860, so there are more than enough free versions on the internet and Kindle if you’re interested.)

I also downloaded The History of the Renaissance, edited by Ross Johnson and Manners, Customs and Dress During the Middle Ages and During the Renaissance Period by P.L. Jacob (both from Kindle). These three books should give me a good place from which to extend my research. Luckily I had known quite a bit about the Renaissance already, so it wasn’t that I started writing Porselein completely blind!

Next is Porcelain Through the Agesby George Savage; a 1954 book that I found at an antique shop after reading about it somewhere else (on the internet … that’s as much as I can remember). It was quite a find and, even though it has some foxing, etc. I bought it with glee. One of those serendipitous moments! 

I’m still busy with The White Road: A Pilgrimage of Sorts by Edmund de Waal; which I also bought on Kindle. You can read more about this book over here.

When it comes to audiobooks, I’ve listened to The Rival Queens: Catherine de’ Medici, Her Daughter Marguerite de Valois, and the Betrayal That Ignited a Kingdom by Nancy Goldstone — although this one wasn’t started as much for Porselein as me being curious! Some elements might find their way into Porselein, though.

Books:

The Problem of Starting a New World

Or, Do Other People Also Get Imposter Worldbuilder Syndrome?

So I’m busy pottering away at Porselein, which is set in a world very much unlike The Ruon Chronicles, and I’m struggling like mad to get anywhere with the worldbuilding when it hits me.

I’m afraid.

Afraid of failing in making this world as believable (even to myself) as Airtha-Eyrassa. For goodness’ sake! I chide myself. The world doesn’t even have a name yet! At the same time, I know that this is silly, as I’ve written in various other worlds while being busy with Airtha-Eyrassa. But — and here’s the big but — nothing on this scale.

My other stories usually take place in the space of a thousand — or a couple of thousand — words. But, suddenly, a whole new book of at least 50 000 words are staring me straight in the eye. I’m also sure that it’s holding a taser just in case I write something crappy.

It’s not that I’m not excited about the world in which Porselein takes place — quite the contrary. It’s more a case of being afraid of people really really disliking the whole concept. Which I’ve kind of gotten over with The Ruon Chronicles as I’ve had guys tell me that they’re excited to read it and, I mean, it’s got quite a bit of Embroidery ‘n Usually Womenly Work Stuff in it. Yes, I know there are awesome male knitters like BrooklynBoyKnits and awesome male crocheters like KnotBad, and also awesome male embroiderers, but seeing as how a lot of fantasy readers are still in the mindset that women can’t even write fantasy *rolls eyes* I do sometimes worry that people won’t give Ruon Chronicles a chance because of the Women’s Work.

However, now I suddenly have to make a mind-switch to research Other Stuff like how porcelain is made. And it’s like I forget that I wrote a Googleplex of pages on Norse myth in Afrikaans and Dutch literature and I actually know how to do research. Ok, it was like 200 pages, but it still feels a lot more.

Anyway, the point is that it’s so easy to forget what you’re actually capable of when you go into a stress spiral of everyone-is-going-to-hate-what-I-write-so-why-am-I-even-doing-it. Because, honestly, even if people hate Ruon Chronicles, for instance, I’ll still write it simply to a) find out what happens and b) because I want to write it and it makes me happy, that’s why.

And maybe I should try to take that stance with Porselein as well even though it’s still in its infancy. At least, next to the world of Airtha-Eyrassa it feels like Porselein is still in its infancy!

After all, if I’m not going to write it, it’s hardly going to get written, now is it?