Category Archives: • Spice Traders

Do I have writer’s block?

So, I wrote myself into a corner and can’t get out.

The story is stuck.

My little band of adventurers has once again failed to locate Agrimon, who is never where he’s supposed to be. But I feel that they’ve been chasing after him for far too long now. Something else needs to happen. I need CONFLICT!

But I have conflict, don’t I? After all, they DID get attacked once on the way to some city!

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Things to learn

I’m currently reading Sentence of Marriage by Shayne Parkinson and as I sat on the commuter train with my Kindle, it suddenly struck me that my own writing lacks sufficient description of details.

In the novel, Amy shows a nurse into a bedroom for her to have a lie-down, and she folds back the covers for her. My own recent writing wouldn’t have included that detail, it would probably have gone something like “…showed the nurse to the bedroom and left her to have a rest.”

But folding back the covers brings the whole scene to life. I could see her in my mind, folding the covers back. It wasn’t too detailed either. I don’t know whether the bedspread is green or red or patterned, or whether the bed is standing under the window or not. But it’s an offhand detail that makes the whole thing seem more real.

I definitely need to work on that. I tend to describe either too much (where the bed stands and what colour the blanket is), or too little (no mention of the bed at all).

On a different note:

I’m really enjoying this novel. Check it out on Amazon!

Getting back on the horse

I totally slacked off and didn’t write anything related to the Spicers in a long time.

I had another project happening, as well as taking on a second job that takes up quite a chunk of my time after coming home from my regular fulltime job.

So how do you get back to writing after slacking off for weeks on end? I had the weekend off, with nothing to do, and I resolved to sit down and write. I then spent the entire morning staring at a blank screen and not writing anything, while thinking about the sunshine outside.

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Character Sheets

I’ve been introduced to the idea of character sheets for writing quite late into the process. I knew character sheets from gaming, where you record the strengths and weaknesses of a character, and note changes like level ups and so on, but for writing this never occurred to me.

I did have a list, though.

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Tuunish Saltkale (the recipe)

Tuunish Saltkale features in the spicer stories. It’s a kind of salty stewed kale that you either love or hate.

My friend Pepper asked me if I had a real dish in mind when I wrote about it, or whether I just made it up. Actually, at first I made it up and it was called Ripple Stew. I changed it later on, after I found myself thinking about dishes I know that separate foodies over how good or bad it is.

So here’s the actual recipe. You’re welcome.

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Decisions, decisions…

In my plotline, one of the characters travelling in a group gets separated from the rest and has to strike out on her own. So far, so good. When I first came up with my plotline, she got separated quite early on in the story. It provided me with two separate storylines that I could switch to and fro, breaking up the monotony of just following one story all the time.

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Ten chapters into a short story…

…and no end in sight.

The Spicers story is so much fun, it’s mutating into a novella. I’ve just completed chapter ten, and I have drafted chapters eleven to nineteen.

I’ve drawn maps and made calculations about mileage for ox carts, have come up with some villains and  made a culinary point. Oh yeah, and I managed to mention pirates as well as dragons. Boojah.

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Aaarrgh, it’s gone!

I’ve misplaced my map.

Aaaaaaaah !

I have a map of the places where my Spice Trader stories take place, where I note their route as they go along, and draw in places that are mentioned or referred to, alternative routes, and so on. Read more »


I didn’t have a working computer for three weeks. It was horrible. While I can easily live without facebook or google for a while, it deprived me of the ability to type. Why do I always have the best ideas when I’m not in front of a computer? Usually it’s not a problem, as I mull them over in my head, and when I have time I go and type them up.

But no typing up stuff for THREE WEEKS? Read more »

Magic is fun!

There’s a lot to be read online and offline about the system of magic in world-building.

Alright, maybe not that much, but all of it is very interesting to me. I like magic. Always did. When I was little I was always in awe of fairy godmothers and sourcerers who could change the physical universe with a wave of their wand or a smart rhyme.

The success of Harry Potter and the popularity of Gandalf in recent pop culture just shows that I’m not alone there. But coming up with a system that makes sense in itself is an artform. Do wizards just know how to do stuff or do they have to go to school? Is using magic physically exhausting? Can you buy or sell magic? Can you use some magic but not other magic? Does it require a wand or a potion, or only the right thought or word?  Read more »