Posted in Chronicles in Creation

Writing: Expectation Vs Reality…

I was having a sort out in my room the other day, in the aftermath of nanowrimo and all, and I found something I wanted to share with you all. I don’t … I don’t really know what the lesson is here, but I suppose if we go through it all together, maybe we can figure it out?

So I found my first notebook from way back in the very beginning, at the point when I decided I’d quite like to write the series. Wow, that was a long time ago now…

20180221_145602.jpg

Anyway, I dug it out and I sort of wanted to share it with you? As you can see, it’s a bit battered and it’s definitely stuffed to bursting! I carried it around with me on the ride to and from work, which I bring up because the writing’s weirdly neat for me and my bus-writing!

It wasn’t anything ground-breakingly original, nor anything very complex in it’s conception either. It was essentially just a collection of pictures I’d found online (me having no artistic talent whatsoever and thus being incapable of drawing my own) that vaguely fitted either the general vibe of the stories I was looking for, or an effort to try and get a fix on what I thought various characters looked like, how they acted, what their backstories were, all that jazz…

I started work on it initially, if I remember rightly, because I had some many images and ideas and little fragments and flashes of inspiration floating around in my head and I wanted to tie some of it down in one place. I wanted to see what the common threads where, what my imagination was driving at, and having it all down in hard copy in front of me was very useful in that regard.

20180221_145934

At first it was all pretty well-organised; just a few notes, some snatches of Old English and translations, the odd place-name I’d decided on…

20180221_145640.jpg

20180221_145737.jpg

But after a while, things got a little out of hand! Even the notes were trying to escape the confines of the notebook!

One of the more interesting things about having a ratch through this old thing, after several years of it being tucked away safely in a box, has been seeing what ideas I have kept largely unchanged since the very start of this whole endeavour and what has changed, sometimes quite radically!

Whole character arches have been completely altered and swept away, whole others have only had small additions or subtractions made. Sometimes I’ve even stumbled over characters I came up with way back when which I’d since forgotten about entirely, only to realise I’d been trying to recreate them from scratch because my stories still needed them! Talk about inadvertently reinventing the wheel!

20180221_150016.jpg

I suppose the big question is: Was all this cutting and sticking worth it? Well…

I feel that it would be dishonest to say that this has been a practice I’ve continued into my writing endeavours today. Just as an example, this is what my current notebook looks like!

I know, glamorous, isn’t it?

And you might be thinking to yourself, ‘Oh, but surely that’s just the outside, right? It’ll be full of pretty pictures on the inside, naturally!’

Nope! ‘Fraid not!

(Sorry Mam, I know my handwriting’s … distinctive!)

20180221_150208-e1576771817172.jpg

It’s not pretty, but it works!

But that doesn’t mean that all that work on the old notebook was wasted effort.

For some people, I understand that world-building is quite literally the process of building a whole world from the ground up and then populating it with characters to explore it. For others it’s a case of having a bunch of characters and needing to build a world for them to fit inside of. For yet others (and I realise this might not be how most people think of world-building, but I reckon it still counts) the whole thing starts with the story and they build the world and the characters as necessary for the story to take place.

But none of those broad models works for me at all…

The beginning of my writing journey was a mess of origin stories for people I didn’t know would be main characters (and indeed rather suspected would not!), a single clear crystalline image of three wildly different castles, some flashes of scenes in no particular order, and a smattering of world-mechanics for travel and magic and culture. And through of of this, the certainty that it would all fit together perfectly if I could only find a way to fill in the blank bits!

Filling up a notebook like this was a helpful first step towards filling in those gaps. Getting down everything I knew I knew, not worrying about what order I knew things, not worrying about whether I was being wildly different to everyone else, just pushing all that swirling mess inside my head out onto paper and making space for carrying new ideas… It helped me feel like I was getting somewhere, even if – in the strictest of writing senses – I was doing no such thing!

Come the New Year, I think I’ll be dipping into the old notebook a bit more and sharing some choice chunks with you all! Some ideas that sounded good in principle but just didn’t quite stick the landing, some characters I realised I hated already and they hadn’t even made it through the story yet, and one huge integral feature of world-building that made it through several drafts before I realised I’d almost created a monster I couldn’t make myself stand behind.

After all, if we don’t share out mistakes, other people have to go and make them for themselves, don’t they?

Have any of you found old notebooks lurking long after you’d finished with them? Did you find buried treasure or ghouls best left forgotten?

New to this blog? Check out some of my other series down here:

Ghosts and Gowns Icon 4 - Small

Oddities in Oxford Logo- BotGar

Posted in Chronicles in Creation, Nanowrimo

Nano-Wrangle: Week 3

Well, folks, we began Week 3 with me thoroughly paying for running myself into the ground last week. Seriously kids, don’t push yourselves so hard, it never works out in the long run, and one day I shall learn to practice this instead of constantly ending up as the demonstration model in why we keep teaching it…

So yes, writing while battling through the migraine brought on by exhaustion and far too many far too late nights? Not fun. Don’t be like me, kids.

Nano - buddy2Something I forgot to tell you all last week was that I now not only have one nano-buddy, but two! Yes, another mutual friend heard us chatting about it and has bravely undertaken Nano this year as well. To both of them go the full credit for encouraging me to stop beating myself up about my writing and actually make time to sleep, and for this I cannot thank them enough. We often talk about writing buddies as people who encourage us to keep writing and finding inspiration, but I feel that we must also give them the credit they deserve for encouraging us to take care of ourselves and stop undermining ourselves. Thank you both so much!

So writing progress this week has been… mixed.

Nano - week 3

Very mixed.

It’s fine, I managed to get at least a little bit of writing done every day, so that’s good, and at this point I’m just aiming for being comfortable in my writing rather than giving myself grief for not churning out a consistent amount every day.

Speaking of things which are different from last week – and indeed speaking of things that I’m not beating myself up for anymore! – I’ve also relaxed a bit on only having one Nano project on the go.

Some things you only learn about yourself the hard way, I suppose, and one thing I have most certainly learned over the course of this month is that I do not deal well with only having one writing project on hand. I’d previously assumed that my tendency to have upt o five stories running through my head at a time was some form of procrastiation, where I hid from difficult bits. And you know, maybe it is? But to steal one of my favourite character descriptions from John Le Carré for a second, I have “a mind like the back of an envelope” and I seem to be far more productive when I hop between stories whenever I have a brainwave or feel in the mood for a different tone of story, than I am when I force myself to keep staring at the same story every day and wind up hating the very idea of it. Or worse, the mental toll it takes on you when you do give in and work on a different story for a while, and then spend that time feeling bad because you’re working on ‘the wrong story’ all the time.

You shouldn’t hate your own stories while you’re writing them after all. That’s what editing is for…

(Thank you again to Icklespan and lsilverlock for helping me reach this realisation and showing me that it’s not a bad thing to have multiple stories to tell!)

If you are like me and need to have a few things on the go at once, and you want to do Nanowrimo and thus need to keep track of your word count, this is my Top Tip:

Nano Word Counting

Have a random unsaved and untitled document open and keep copying and pasting your words and paragraphs into it as you write. No order, no worrying about paragraph breaks if they don’t copy over, no nothing. You’re not keeping this, after all, all you’re going to do is delete it all at the end of the session. All you need is for all the words to be in there at the end of the session or day of writing. Then just note your number down and enter it in! It will save you the headache of needing to juggle a lot of different numbers and you’ll get that nice sense of accomplishment in seeing all your hard work in one place.

This also helps me when I’m back filling parts of a story too; if I’ve had several chapters or sections in a story and I’ve known the start of every one of them, then I can get all that down, then go back and work out how each section progressed from that flash of inspiration.

And I’m happy to say that the results have certainly paid off because instead of just sort of enduring Nano for the sake of feeling like a ‘real writer’, I’ve relaxed a lot and had a bit more fun and a sense of progress. With the additional reward of another badge!

Nano badge - 7 days update

Now, in terms of the main Nano project, i.e. The Book, we have hit a bit of a – what do they call these in workshops and things? Oh yes – a learning opportunity/experience. So I’ve been trying to figure out why I’ve been struggling so much with large chunks of the book, because it can’t all be due to the foolishness of trying to write the book 18 months after I wrote the plan. (Don’t do this to yourselves, kids! Don’t be like me and get scared of your own story…)

Ch.14 Making Men of Myths - Part 2Anyway, what I realised eventually was that for all that I knew how the story was going to go, I’d competely lost sight of my fairy characters. (If you’ve been here for a while, you might remember me talking about creating them back in the day, but if not, here’s Part 1 of 3) Like … I’ve completely lost them. All the stuff I need to know in order to write conversations: how do they talk, how do they address each other, what gestures do they make, which of them is a pacer and which of them sits perfectly still and barely blinks? All those things? Not a sodding clue!

Thankfully, that detailed plan continues to be useful, because I could sit down with it and highlight all of the scenes which are just the humans doign things and I’ve been concentrating on that. It’s avery disjointed way to write a book, I’m not entirely sure I like it the longer I do it, but at the very least it means that I am still writing something for the book rather than sitting there feeling lost and stranded in Chapter 2…

So yes, progress is being made, but not always in the way I was hoping for. But all progress in our creative endeavours is worth celebrating and cliched as it is, sometimes the most valuable thing really is the lessons you learn along the way!

Nano - progress wk3

How’s everyone else’s Nano going? Does anyone have any tips, especially for conversations? But also just generally anything helpful you’ve discovered during Nano this year that you want to share, do leave them in the comments below!

New to this blog? Check out some of my other series down here:

Ghosts and Gowns Icon 4 - Small

Oddities in Oxford Logo- BotGar

Posted in Chronicles in Creation, Nanowrimo

Nano-Wrangle: Week 2

Greetings friends!

So, Week 2 was always going to be harder than Week 1… I mean, for one thing it’s a lot longer than just two days!

Anyway, Day 3, I learned from Day 2 and knuckled down straight away to finish the 767 words to finish off Chapter 1. Something to check right off the list from the get-go.

Putting in that word-count straight away was a nice feeling; it meant I didn’t spend the day feeling anxious that I wasn’t achieving anything and also prompted the Nano website into giving me the badges I really should have got on Day 2:

Nano Badge - 2 day streak

This one I was expecting, though I’m still confused about why it waited until Day 3’s updated wordcount to ping up. The ways of websites are confusing, I suppose!

The one I had forgotten was a possibility was this one though:

Nano Badge - 5000 words

Sadly this meant having to sit staring at my plan for Chapter 2 and try to remember what I was thinking when I wrote the notes up. Even going back to the earlier more detailed notes didn’t help much. The motto of this mini-story is this: don’t write up your notes and think you can just pick the story up again six months later. No matter how detailed they are, they will still end up looking back at you as if a martian wrote them…

In general the middle of this week has been a masterclass in why I have never managed to finish Nano before. Work exploded into chaos, through no fault of its own, but sometimes things just happen, my drama group finally decided what they wanted for costumes, but had some very tight turn-arounds and of course at my ancient age, the days when sleep was an optional extra are long gone!

And this is both the good and bad thing I find about Nano, because having told all of you lovely people and my friends about how I wanted to do it, even though I didn’t make my target for the day, any writing I could do was a little bit of writing, you know? Some days I manged 255 words, or 200 words and that wasn’t a lot but it was something.

But on the other hand it also meant that I had insane days where I’d done a full day of work, worked straight through my lunch break while I was at it, then made costumes after work, arrive home very late and very tired, made myself dinner and rather than go to bed would sit up and start writing. And kids, let me tell you; that’s no way to go through life, not even temporarily. By Thursday I was dead on my feet and had to have a stern talking to myself in the mirror about how this was supposed to be a fun thing to do, rather than an endurance challenge.

Side note, I can’t remember if we had a daily counter graph in past years, but I wish there was a way to make it disappear so much…

No matter which form it’s in, there was nothing like this graph to make me feel bad that I wasn’t writing as much per day as I was last week. If you’re like me and you get stressed by not meeting totally imaginary targets, this graph? Don’t look at it. That’s a Top Nano Tip from the wyvern this year…

Nano word count 2

Anyway, Day 9 – being a Saturday – was much more successful! Having gone to bed early on Friday night, reasoning that burning the candle at both ends – during the academic term no less – was a quick way to make myself ill, I woke up with a lot more coherency, and decided rather than beating my head against the brick wall I was stuck on, to try a totally different bit.

And guess what? It worked!

I managed to churn out over 7000 words in one sitting before I looked up and realised that it was past lunchtime and I was still in my pjs! So the graph of failure looks a little bit more friendly!

Not to mention another badge was won without me expecting it (look, I’m bad at maths, so I never keep in my head how far along I am for total word count until a badge pings me:

Nano Badge - 10,000 words

So if nothing else, the detailed plan of details has proven itself to be a very useful bit of work after all! It doesn’t matter that I can’t do Chapter 2, because I could go for Chapter 7, which I can picture very clearly and tackle that instead and then fill in the blanks at a later date. Sure, there’ll be a few continuity and style issues from writing a story in such a disjointed fashion, but that’s what the second draft is for, right?

Also I am fully aware that this day is a total fluke; it’s not going to be my output for next week by a long shot and I have firmly promised myself that I will stop beating myself up about Nano targets.  Some days will be good days and some days will be bad days and it will all average out just fine in the end, and sleep is a non-negotiable feature of my life!

We’ll see what the next week brings, but despite everything we’re still a little ahead of where we should be, and the month’s nowhere near over yet!

Nano Progress - week 2

New to this blog? Check out some of my other series down here:

Ghosts and Gowns Icon 4 - Small

Oddities in Oxford Logo- BotGar

Posted in Chronicles in Creation

Ideas for Extras; Real-Life Shakespeare!

I’m very fortunate in my work, as I don’t just scribble away randomly on my own, I have a lot of friends who write in various genres and mediums too. And one of the things that we all agree is a lot harder to do than you expect is the writing of interesting and entertaining ‘extras.’

Ch.14 Making Men of Myths - Part 1You know, the tiny bit characters that may or may not even have a speaking line in your story, but need to be there so that your story doesn’t give the impression of taking place in massive empty halls? They might not ever do anything especially vital to the plot, but they help flesh out the world you’ve created and give a bit of colour and life to your story’s surroundings.

Of course, they can certainly do more than that. Shakespeare’s plays always have a little recurring cast of extras in the background, and while they serve the practical purpose of giving the principal actors a bit of breathing space to chance costumes or allow the stage hands to move scenery around a bit, they can also serve more thematic purposes. They can bring comic relief, yes, or deliver small but important messages, sure, but they can also reflect or satirise the actions of the principal cast and bring out extra nuances too.

They may even give a sense of stakes to whatever your crisis is too; when everything goes to hell in Harry Potter and Diagon Alley is affected, the best way J.K. Rowling could illustrate that was to say that Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour has closed because Fortescue has disappeared under suspicious circumstances. As readers, we knew exactly who Florean Forescue was, how he let Harry sit in his shop for hours and do his homework, how he would help him out with the answers. He wasn’t a major character, and he never affected the plot in any large or small way, but we knew him and were fond of him and his loss is real and tangible because of this.

The downside of these characters: they can be surprisingly hard to create!Ch.14 Making Men of Myths - Part 3

I mean, it could just be me, but whenever I sit down to make some up I either put too much thought into them or too little. Too much effort and they end up trying to become main characters in places which have absolutely no need for them; ending up like the awkward creepers at a party constantly trying to slide into conversations no one wants them in and blissfully unaware that they have nothing interesting to say, and refusing to just go away. Too little effort and they never look the same twice and they just hover around not really doing anything; ending up like very badly written NPCs in a video game, standing stock-still in the back of the shot and very occasionally blurting out an odd out-of-context sentence or two.

Well, sometimes – gloriously – real life comes to the rescue with a bit of inspiration and just as I will doubtless benefit from this in future when having something for my background characters to do, so too did I want to share this with everyone.

So, on top of all the usual chaos that summer brings my workplace every year, we’ve been having building work done to the building I work in. It’s been … delightful. I’ve loved every crash and bang and clatter, and the days where I don’t have any windows in my office and there’s up to three men all standing on my window sill.

20190813_193559.jpg
It’s the plants’ scaffolding now, sorry. No take-backs allowed here!

And to give you an idea of how long we’ve had building work going on, this is their scaffolding right now (left).

Side Note: I’m kind of looking forward to the moment when they’re all done with replacing all the window frames, and they want their scaffolding back. Is it just me, and my slightly pagan concerns, or does anyone else think that they’re going to need to make some kind of bargain with the nature god that has gone and claimed the scaffolding frames as their rightful territory?

Anyway, for all the dust and the noise and the fact that my plants have all taken sick in protest to being showered with debris constantly, one thing has at least 70% made up for it all: The workmen!

These fine gentlemen could absolute be their very own BBC sitcom, and I mean that entirely seriously. Obviously, I can give you no details about them; no names, photos, not the name of their firm. But let’s be honest, the complete lack of context here is only going to add to the charm!

20190821_113215.jpg
The ideal stage for our brave performers, no?

Here are some of the highlights that have come through my window from the past few months:

[During the initial building process] “Look, whatever ‘appens, those balls have gotta come off, remember.” Also, same day: “There’s no hat-wearing on d*cks!”(At the time, I was halfway through a Very Serious phonecall, and I think I actually bruised a rib while trying not to laugh down the phone, sure that I could never explain any of this…)

I was working and couldn’t transcribe, but at one stage one of the senior builders literally stood on one of the upper-levels of the scaffolding, while all the others stood on the ground looking up at him while he delivered a whole TED Talk the socialising involved in building up a pliant workforce, combining themes of supply-and-demand, wage-fixing and the allotment of free-time/holiday hours. I was in no doubt that he knew exactly what he was talking about, but for a spur-of-the-moment topic of conversation, he was extremely eloquent and prepared to share his wisdom. I definitely felt as if I was in one of those supporting/illustrating scenes from the film, in which the side-characters provide on the nose commentary on the actions of the villains/anti-heroes. Like, this was meant to show how the plot affects the world-building or something…

Ch.22 - So You Want To Draw A Map - Part 2[Accompanied by the sounds of frantic rummaging around inside a van] “I’m not 100% sure what I’m looking for, but when I see it I’ll know.” Honestly? Same, mate. Same. Not sure it’s what I wanted to hear while they built scaffolding, mind…

One entire morning of music-less karaoke. The greatest hits of Britney Spears, Beyoncé and the Spice Girls particularly stand out in my memory. Eventually I gave into the inevitable and played whatever was being sung out through my computer speakers to join in. If you can’t shut out the noise, own the noise, right? (In the on-going play that is my working life, I guess we were singing to drown out the noise of the scenery being changed? I assume so anyway…)

One day there was a concert going on in a neighbouring music hall and the sound is wafting straight across to us, though primarily only the more bass-like notes. It sounds like it’s something big and classically epic. What promptly ensued was amazing to behold: Picture, if you will, five grown men in hi-vis vests, shorts and hard hats – and basically nothing else because it was so hot! – engaged in a massive and extremely heated argument about what film’s soundtrack they recognise the music from. As is to be expected, the lack of clarity in hearing the music only adds to the confusion and also the vigour of the … debate. Insults to parentage, cultural education and film-viewing are thrown around in the midst of all the arm-waving and foot-stomping. A particularly choice quote that I will never forget remains: “It were from f*cking Amadeus, you tw*t!” The last time I saw people get this involved in a film-debate, they certainly weren’t scaling scaffolding like Les Mis actors at the time! Once again, I have to take the minutes of a meeting and pretend I can’t hear this happening right outside the window, and there’s a terrifying moment when I think that the academics I’m minuting will actually abandon their Very Serious meeting to join in through the windows. What even is real life anymore?Ch.21 Hide and Seek MacGuffins

On another, much calmer day, there was a Very Serious Indeed conference centring around Our Dave’s garden design choices. Apparently there was to be a pond and everyone’s thoughts needed to be contributed regarding it ideal placement and surroundings for full aesthetic appeal. The debate between ‘Natural Feature’ verses ‘More Modern, Like’ raged long into the day (with interruptions from work) and swayed frequently over into “What are you thinking of for the patio?! ‘Ave you not seen that rubbish they tried makin’ Mike’s out of?! Nah, mate, you need {unintelligible as I was printing at the time and therefore only vaguely listening.}” Dave’s brother was swayed in the end, I think. Certainly natural features was eventually judged to be the superior choice, as it will require less upkeep; a plus in the busy life of a working professional. I’m mildly convinced that the gardens at Kew had less planning and consultation involved in their making… Special highlight award going to the line “I ‘ate bloody topiary, if he sticks any of that in there, I’m setting it on fire!”

And finally, the day I all but screamed the place down as I carried my (full, naturally) mug of tea back to my desk while filing and listening to a favourite podcast, and then a body suddenly popped through my window to ask me what I was listening to and could he make a note of the link. I mean, I was happy to supply him with it, once I’d calmed down, but normally in order to appear through my window (unless you have feathers) you’d need a good ten feet of ladder, so this was not a Thing I’d prepared for at all!

Anyway, that’s enough random nonsense for today! Let me know if you’ve had a band of players in your life that would make excellent side-characters in the adventure novel of your life? I don’t know what story these fine gentlemen will be staring in yet, but they can only benefit whatever tale they do appear in, no?

New to this blog? Check out some of my other series down here:

Ghosts and Gowns Icon 4 - Small

Oddities in Oxford Logo- BotGar

Posted in Oxford Odditites

Judging a Book By its Cover…

Friends, today’s post is short, but I need to share something with you all. Partly because I need sympathy, and partly because I have so many questions!

OK, so this is the Oxfam Bookshop in the middle of Oxford.

20190813_193940.jpg

It sits just across the road from my workplace. It is also one of two in Oxford, and the other one was five minutes walk from my old workplace. I have never been more than ten minutes walk from one or the other of these in my whole time in Oxford, and I’ll be honest, there’s the vaguest possibility that this may be ever so slightly connected to my massive hoard of books and my lack of money. Maybe.

It’s OK to despair of me, my family is right there with you…

Anyway!

So I was walking past the window on the way to work one morning and this piece of majestic-ness is sat in the front window!

20190509_181308.jpg

I mean… Just look at it!

I have so many questions! How do these creatures go together in places that aren’t this blog?

Only in Oxford, am I right?

Long-time readers of this blog will know that we of course have a tiny dragon in the office, getting into my stationary and judging me when I’m not writing and generally causing trouble. 

And if you live in Oxford then you also know that ducks get everywhere. They keep nesting in college quads and then causing chaos once the ducklings have hatched, because no mama duck ever has apparently thought to herself prior to building a nest, ‘Hmm… I managed to reach this nice quiet nesting site in this fox-free space by flying. But my ducklings, they will not be able to fly straight out of the egg. Is this site, therefore, a good idea?’Ch.9 - Duck and Cover

So Trinity (Summer) Term is one long saga of students with cardboard boxes chasing down ducks and ducklings to help them all reach a nice body of water. It’s probably character-building? At the very least, it’s a distraction from looming exams, I suppose.

Also, if you have twitter, and you don’t already follow Twitter of then please go and check them out, they are an absolute delight and treasure and I can think of nothing which so wonderfully summarises so much of what is good in Oxford. It’s ducks, it’s literary puns, it’s madcap adventures sometimes; frankly I don’t know what else you could possibly ask for, but even that is probably to be found right there on that feed.

The annual duck-related shenanigans naturally has made it into the Ghosts and Gowns series, if you fancy checking it out?

Anyway, so obviously I had to read this book and find out a few answers. Was it separated out into poems about dragons and poems about ducks? Were there poets about dragons and ducks together? Did these two groups of agents of chaos finally join forces and inspire great sagas commemorating their epic deeds? Were they eternal enemies locked forever in combat from whence there is no end or escape? What?Ch.14 Making Men of Myths - Part 2

And now, I know, I know that we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s – frankly amazing – cover, but I regret to say that we can only speculate about the hidden potential behind it. For now, alas, we come to the saddest part of this post…

You see, the bookshop does not open until 10am, which is notably after the time I need to be in work. So I waited, eagerly, patiently I waited until my lunch break. Who needed to go to eat lunch? Who needs sandwiches when there is a book to hunt down? That book must be mine!

And then… disaster!

By the time I reached the bookshop, the book had been sold already! I missed it!

In hindsight, I suppose it was inevitable; with a book so inherently amazing, someone probably pounced as soon as they could get in…

Never will I read the epic adventures of ducks and dragons… *Sniff…*

On the other hand, I now can’t stop thinking of other amazing book titles! I have several ideas already:

Knights and Kittens – in which either the knights are often rescuing kittens from high perches in castles, or possibly doing battle with terrifying and fearsome kittens? (If this sounds unlikely, please check out the British Library’s post about knights battling snails! If it sounded totally legit on first thought, check out the pictures of knights battling snails anyway – I promise you that down that path lies only magnificent and wonderful things!)

Knight V Snail1
Knight v Snail III: Extreme Jousting (from Brunetto Latini’s Li Livres dou Tresor, France (Picardy), c. 1315-1325, Yates Thompson MS 19, f. 65r)

Mice and Magicians – In which a band of brave mice help and advise an apprentice magician as they journey through a series of challenges to reach the great magic tournament. Think the Knights of the Round Table (Round Cheese? Keep work-shopping that…) assisting Merlin, with side quests including the Green Squirrel, the Lapwing of the Lake, narrated throughout (naturally) by Gerbil of Monmouth…

Seagulls and Sphinxes – Neither side of this title will make much sense, but only one will eat you while you’re alive? But no seriously, this is really the perfect pair-up, since I don’t think that sphinxes can fly, but obviously seagulls have that down, and if you’ve ever been mobbed for your food by seagulls then you will know that seagulls would absolutely ask you impossible riddles if it got them more food somehow! I don’t know what their adventure would actually look like yet, but I’m working on it…

Anyone else have any suggestions? It has to be a team-up between a fantasy character/creature and a non-obvious tiny mundane animal… And if possible, do chip in with what the adventure story would look like!

New to this blog? Check out some of my other series down here:

Ghosts and Gowns Icon 4 - SmallChronicles In Creation - Banner (large)