Inktober & Owltober 2015

Inktober is an annual art challenge to create one image using ink per day in October. (Or one every other day, or one every week; it's about building steady habits. Also ink.)

Owltober is a challenge to draw one owl per day throughout October.

I decided to combine them this year.

No A to Z...

I'm calling a halt of the A to Z blogging. Tendonitis or something like that, so no typing I can avoid, but I thought I'd make at least this short post.

Blog tags: A to Z 2015


Visiting my mother tends to bring about conversations involving either of us referring to my "home" either as here, or my own flat. That has led me to idle thoughts about what "home" is.

For myself, what I want from my home is that I feel safe. And... my home is my place, where I don't have to welcome anyone I don't want there.

But home is different things to different people, so I'll go poke some of my fictional characters about it.

Brice: When I hear "home", I picture the house I grew up in. That is...not very useful.

Gabriel: Home is a place where I don't have to play a role, or project a certain image.

Daaren: People who trust me, and whom I trust. A community in which I have a place.

Sylvie: Home is where I know the rules.
Nico: Say what?
Sylvie: I mean... I don't have to be afraid all the time about doing something wrong because I know what kind of behaviour is normal, and which is, oh, "fighting words".
Nico: Sounds more like home country?
Sylvie: I guess? Otherwise... home is family.

Dehrai: Yes. Friends that become chosen family, and the place we carve out for ourselves.

Xan: Anywhere no-one tries to kill me is close enough at the moment.

Sylvie: Nico?
Nico: Yes?
Sylvie: You butted in. After that, no sneaking out without answering the question.
Nico: Fair enough. ... Um. Homeplace is wherever I can stash some possessions and myself and be reasonably sure neither gets harmed for a while. Homefeeling is... I'm... I guess it's peaceful. It's hard to grasp. :/

If you want to share, what does "home" mean to you?

Blog tags: A to Z 2015
tagged Eodea


Well, back to the worldbuilding notes. :D

Eodea has goblins among its humanoid species.

They have pointed ears, big noses, and projecting jaws with marked canines. Their hands have two thumbs, one on each side of the palm, and three non-thumb-fingers.

Their sexual dimorphism works out to male goblins being around 3-4 feet tall, and female goblins 5-6 feet. Women are also more long-lived, and rarer - I haven't settled on a number yet, but something in the ballpark of 5-10 males for each female in a population.

So they have a reason for a tendency to protect girls and woman. Also for polyandry. The longer lifespan is a factor for women being most of their leaders, lorekeepers, judges, scholars, etc.

Goblins in general, and male goblins in particular, tend to be very group-oriented. I'm sure there are humans who have interpreted an unwillingness to make important decisions alone as sign stupidity or cowardice.

There is an insular nation of goblins in the mountains of Raaji.

In Konda there are smaller goblin communities integrated into a society dominated by humans. Particularly in the capital they are known as expert craftsmen, usually by the name of their legacy-lines - small teams who work together and trace their training back through generations.

Yrn was a settlement founded by goblins; they still make up about a third of the population, the rest again being mostly humans.

In northern Akadan there's a culture whose makeup by species includes goblins along with orcs (majority), elves, and humans.

What is your personal mental image of goblins?

Blog tags: A to Z 2015


I'll put that behind a cut because it's kinda melancholy, and I don't want to drag down the mood of anyone expecting squeeing about things I love under the headline "Fandoms". Mostly this is reasons why I'm not involved in fandoms.

Blog tags: A to Z 2015


Does the world really need another high fantasy setting involving lots of human, but also elves and goblins and orcs and others? Maybe not, but I want a sandbox like that. :P

It's familiar because it's been written about in many variations, but this one is mine, to put whichever parts I like together how I like, and leave out whatever gets on my nerves.

I can build it without having as end goal having it be the stage for a huge war. I can write about a society that respects women. I can have a fantasy world where forms or democracy are the norm. I can have cultures formed by multiple intelligent species living together, rather than coding some species as Good and others as Evil.

My favourite part, though, is playing with different magic systems. Magic may be the main reason why I'm drawn to fantasy. And if magic is not limited to just a handful of people in the whole world, how does that influence life? Thinking back, the first little mosaic stone that I made up was a mage who was good at shaping wood and living plants, and decent at healing people, but had a marked inaptitude for fire magic - because I didn't want to go with the RPG-formed stereotype of fireball-flinging person of mass destruction.

I'll say one thing, though: If your aim is wholesale destruction by way of an epic war, at least it gives you a basis to hang a plot on.

Do you read high or epic fantasy? What do you like or dislike about it?

Blog tags: A to Z 2015


I wanted to write a bit of flashfic featuring dragons, but that isn't happening today.

If you don't want to read about depression, including examples of negative self-talk, stop here.


Blog tags: A to Z 2015

Constructed Languages

If constructed languages are required for worldbuilding these days, I'm done for. I've tried on occasion, but it seems to be too much work for too little reward.

Grammar is overwhelming. I mean, I remember the general shape of the declension and conjugation tables back in Latin, and depending how you count it, German has half a dozen or a full dozen of different ways to construct plural forms, and worst of all, when you can speak a language you do not think about grammar much.

But I at least try to have some consistency in the sound of names from the same area (or at least have a reason when I don't... the area Sylvie is from, for instance, is a bit of a melting pot that involved three major langauges, at least), or come up with rough frameworks or little quirks that might inform how someone talks in a second language, or thinks about certain things.

Like, Raaji doesn't have different words for "curse" and "gift"; they are both "qualities bestowed on someone by someone else". There's a contrasting word meaning "inherent trait of a person". Being afraid of cats because as a kid you were accidentally locked in a shed with a cat that got angry and agressive would be the former, as would be being good at embroidery because your grandfather taught you. Being afraid of spiders because you find them just creepy, or being able to get stuff off high shelves because you are tall the latter.

Also, whatever word they use for "yes" starts with R, so when speaking English (or a language I render as English because translation convention) using "right" instead of "yes" seems a likely habit.

Second-language quirks are something I can observe in myself sometimes. For example I don't use "must not". German has the expression "musst nicht". "Musst" alone would be "[you] must", "nicht" would be "not", but put together it means "need not". The English logic is "you must (not-do-that)", the German "you (must-not) do that".

I think scraps and fragments and rough ideas are enough for me. I can't help thinking I should get more systematic about inventing names, when I don't just lift real-world ones.

What's something interesting you noticed when you learned a foreign language? When considering secondary world fiction, what do you think of fantasy names vs names you find in the real world, too?


Recently I'd been thinking about talking about a bad-mood day, and got distracted thinking about colours.
I mean, the customary expression is "feeling blue " , right? But that doesn't click with me.

If depression has a colour, it's the dirty brown-grey of greasy dishwater. It stinks, it drags you down, and you have to reach inside it to pull the plug, and even if you get rid of it it'll leave a dirty film on your hand, and the sink, too.

Blue, by comparison...

The sky on a sunny day is about as clean and open as anything gets, thought the palest blue that is the sky reflected off fresh snow may get close.

There's a grey-blue of faded jeans, comfortable and dependable.

Deep indigo and midnight blue are calm and reassuring.

Ultramarine, deep and vivid... now, that's a well to the heart of world to draw strength from.

Can't say I understand where the blue = sadness association comes from.

How do you feel about blue? Or do you have a particular strong association with any other colour(family) you'd like to share?

Blog tags: Thoughts A to Z 2015


So, I've decided to try the Blogging A to Z challenge again. Last year it was drabbles, and I finished in December. This year I'll write about whatever, though I'll try to get in worldbuilding or writing related things primarily. We'll see how it goes. Onwards!

Believe it or not, despite mostly posting and writing unrelated flashfics, there are a few bigger worlds growing in the back of my brain. Most of them are pretty vague yet. Wanting to picture them a bit more clearly I guess is a good reason to write more.

Probably the wildest universe I've dubbed Aetherworld. The basic idea is a universe not filled with nothing, but with something that can support specialised life - yay for space whales! - and even, up to a degree, with the right equipment, oxygen-breathers like us.

Another aspect is that gravity may work differently from "planet" to "planet", meaning there can be flat worlds, or hollow worlds with the inside surface of a sphere being habitable.

Partly it's an exercise in "what if" - change some of the basics, then consider the consequences and build something that is internally consistent - that I like about speculative fiction. There are things I still need to figure out - what does the border between atmosphere and "space" look like, for example.

And then there is the imagery. One of the seeds this idea crystalised around was people sailing into the sky to catch fist-sized stars in fishing net.

Exploring this universe should be fun; it lends itself to stories centering on discovery.

How weird and wild and removed from reality do you like your fantasy, whether it's what you read or what you write?

Blog tags: A to Z 2015
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