Archive for December, 2019

Announcing Of Metal and Magic, Compendium One

First, in terms of logistics, I wanted to let you know that I’m taking next week off (I mean, there is the off chance I will draw a landsquid and post it, but I’m not making any promises).

Anyway, I wanted to let you know about a new anthology that I’ve got a story in! This was a lot to fun to do–it’s a shared universe, which you guys know I love. And the compendium is neat because it mixes short stories with “historical” documents and the beginnings of longer stories to come.

Here’s the description:

Forged from the abyss by the elder gods, the history of Soria spans over 10,000 years. In this time, the people of the world have seen bloody wars, the rise and fall of divine empires, pitched struggles between dragons and unicorns—the very children of the gods who created men. Though the seed of civilization was planted on the continent of Elitor, people crossed the wide oceans to other lands, and to divergent evolutions. Today the world revolves around two great powers: Telsemar in the east, and Drumnaught in the west. It is from the dusty volumes in the duty halls of these cities’ grand depositories, that we look back on the tumultuous history of Soria and the tales of Metal and Magic

It’s available here: ( paperback | Kindle )

If you don’t hear from me otherwise, I hope you have a lovely whatever you celebrate (or just a nice week), and I’ll see you right before we roll over into the new year (goodness!).


Picking a Theme Going Forward

It’s that time of year when everyone gives up on the current year and starts looking at the next one. (Which I totally get. I’ve got four days til Winter Break and then all Hell breaks loose.) So, of course, there’s been emails and blog posts and whatnot, all about how best to select your goals and make 2020 your best year, and all sorts of niceties.

But I did read one that I found interesting. It was over at Writer Unboxed, and the idea was that, instead of making resolutions and whatnot, you choose a one-word theme for the year, and have your goals stem off of that.

It’s an interesting idea, certainly. And while I hesitate to start doing my year-end wrap-up and move onto 2020 (though I will admit that I have made my active project list for 2020 already), I found that a theme popped into my head almost immediately.


Admittedly, I am often taking classes and trying to expand my skills, but there’s a lot I want to focus on in that direction in the near future.

  • I plan to read the writing books I’ve been accumulating and take a few online courses in areas I feel less confident in.
  • There’s the programming and, if it feels like that’s not going to work in the long run, UX/UI classes. (Or both, I suppose, to see which is a better fit.)
  • I’d like to focus on improving my art skills, especially if the picture book thing gets rolling for real. I’ve been accumulating new supplies that I need to learn how to and practice using.
  • I would really love to write some cozy mysteries. Outside of scifi/fantasy, they’re my favorite thing to read. Mysteries have always felt so…out of reach, but I would like to give them a try.

There’s probably other things that I’m not remembering right now. But those are the main ones, anyway.

I guess, now that I’ve identified my theme, the idea is that goals will kind of automatically flow from it, once I get there. (I am not there yet. I feel like, if I make my goals for January or 2020 as a whole now, I’m going to mentally write off the rest of December, which I’m not prepared to do yet. We’ll see how we feel come Friday and Winter Break.)

What do you think about identifying a yearly theme, squiders? Do you have one you’ve selected for 2020?

I Realized Something Today

Good news, squiders. I’m making some progress on World’s Edge, the story I worked on for Nano this year. Over the past two days, I’ve written 2.5K, which is approximately 17% of my 15,000 word goal for December.

But all November, and the past two days, the flow of the story has felt…different than normal. And I wasn’t really sure why. But I’ve finally figured it out.

You guys know that I like to try new things for Nano, and that this story features a non-protagonist viewpoint character for that new thing.

But something else is different too.

There’s only one viewpoint.

I’ve never written a single viewpoint novel before. Short stories, even novellas, yes–but 100,000 words is a lot of story to rest on one character’s back.

(I would point out that I have written a single viewpoint in novels I’m not writing by myself. That tends to be the way I work collaboratively, with me taking one viewpoint and my co-writer taking another. But there’s still more than one viewpoint in the story.)

When you have multiple viewpoints, you can switch between them, picking who is the most appropriate for different plot points or subplots, plus you can add in relational conflicts and tell each side, and generally show more of the world.

Poor Marit’s got to tell everything all by herself.

It’s got me thinking. I write third person probably 90% of the time, but most single viewpoint novels are told first person. I mean, I’m not going to switch point of view 55K into a novel, but should I rewrite to first person when I’m revising?

The only single viewpoint novel I can think of off the top of my head is Harry Potter, which is, admittedly, not a terrible thing to compare to, but even the HP books have occasional one-off scenes at the beginnings in someone else’s or an omniscient viewpoint.

Things to ponder, I suppose, but not now or all forward momentum will stall out, and that’s the worse.

What do you think, squiders? Can you have a single viewpoint third person story, or is that passe and first person is the wave of the future?

Trying To Keep With It

Last week I laid out my tentative plans for the month. As we discussed, December’s always a bit of a pit for me, creatively-speaking. Too much other things to focus on, burnout from November in one way or another, a new year and new possibilities looming…

…and yet, I always try. Maybe one year I’ll take the month off and just…watch Christmas romances on Netflix or something.

(I’ve actually read two Christmas romances in the last few weeks, so…)

As a reminder, here are my goals for the month:

  • Write an additional 15K on my Nano story. Historically it has been hard to keep going on the Nano story post-Nano, but every time I hold out hope that this is the year that it actually happens.
  • Put out my fourth nonfiction book (this one is on writing consistently) and its associated workbook.
  • Finally finish updating my email list and its automations.
  • Start drawing now–don’t wait til January.
  • Read 4 additional books, which will get me to my yearly 50-book goal.
  • Outline next SkillShare class.
  • Start programming again.

We’re a week and a half in, so how are things going?

  • I’ve written maybe 300 words on my Nano story. I mean, the month is young, 15K is ten days of 1500 words, but…well, we’ll see.
  • The pre-order for the fourth nonfiction book is up (here) and I’ve made the cover and gone through my beta comments for both it and the workbook. Next step is to do the final edit on both and write the book descriptions.
  • I finished updating my list! My automations are going, I’ve fixed a few bugs, I’ve managed my audiences, and frankly, made more progress in the last week than the other two years I’ve had the list. (If you’re interested yourself–I’ve got the list streamlined by different books, with free short stories for each–click “get updates” in the header up above.)
  • I started drawing! I took a class on making any animal cute, and am currently working on a coloring class.
  • I’ve read five books. And I’ve got more than half the month to go! This might explain why writing’s not really happening.
  • I’ve picked a topic for the next SkillShare class–planning writing time into your schedule–but that’s as far as I’ve gotten.
  • I did a practice exercise in Python, but the test program kept rejecting it. Finally looked at the solution, and for the life of me, I don’t see the difference between my program and the solution. Which is about how programming typically goes for me, which is perhaps an indication that I’m barking up the wrong tree.

I bought some watercolor pencils off of Amazon on Black Friday, but I don’t think they actually are. Watercolor pencils, I mean. I used them to color the tiger and the squid, and then I tried to activate them on the tiger, which, as you can see, did not happen. (It mostly smeared things about.) So now I’m just using them as normal colored pencils, and my mother gave me a set of watercolor pencils she’s not using at the moment.

(I tested them and they work as expected. Lesson here is to not fall for Amazon’s lightning deals, though I needed colored pencils so it’s not a complete loss.)

(I mean, they came with a paintbrush and everything, they just don’t work. I don’t know.)

I’ll force December to be productive yet! How’s your month going? I’m actually fairly on top of holiday things too, which almost never happens.

The December Blues

First of all, I apologize for this not going up yesterday. We had an area-wide Internet outage that lasted for eight hours. I may have gone a bit stir-crazy, because of course everything I needed to be working on required the Internet in some way or another.

(I ended up playing three grand prix circuits with the smaller, mobile one on Mario Kart and reading an entire 400-page mystery novel.)

As I alluded to last week, December is always a rough time for me, creativity wise. I mentioned Nano burnout, but I’ve since realized that it’s a combination of that plus the looming new year. A new year, despite being an arbitrary measurement of time, brings the promise of new things and new accomplishments.

(I’m trying not to get ahead of myself, but I’m toying with the idea of reading specific books each month–one book off my over-burdened bookshelves, one book related to writing in some way, that sort of thing.)

(And also starting some sort of regular drawing practice. To justify the amount of fancy pens/pencils I have bought lately.)

So I’m a little burned out on writing because of pounding out 50K in November, and I have ideas of things I want to do but don’t quite feel like I can, because it’s not January yet. And it leads one to a weird limbo state that is, honestly, a creative sinkhole.

That being said, I have made goals for the month. They are:

  • Write an additional 15K on my Nano story. Historically it has been hard to keep going on the Nano story post-Nano, but every time I hold out hope that this is the year that it actually happens.
  • Put out my fourth nonfiction book (this one is on writing consistently) and its associated workbook.
  • Finally finish updating my email list and its automations.
  • Start drawing now–don’t wait til January.
  • Read 4 additional books, which will get me to my yearly 50-book goal.
  • Outline next SkillShare class.
  • Start programming again.

I bought a Python bundle from Humble Bundle last month, and I’ve only done, like, two exercises and I’m already frustrated with it. But practice makes perfect, right? Or provides more aggravation. Time will tell.

Of course, December is also a wash because of lack of time in general. Family things, and Christmas prep, and all that jazz, eating my life. (I think I’m going to make fabric bookmarks for people this year, but that does mean I need to get supplies and get sewing, if so.)


What do you think, Squiders? Do you feel like December is a black hole, eating all your time? How do you deal with the weird limbo state between the new year and the old one?