Preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo April 2019

Camp NaNoWriMo

in which I tell a bit about Camp NaNoWriMo and my cabin NaNoEUFantasy&SciFi

Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp NaNoWriMo is an event where you can join a virtual cabin with 19 other writers and enjoy a month of writing frenzy, inspiration and much more.

What is camp all about?

The main thing, of course, is writing. You’ll set up a goal you want to reach this month and try to achieve it. And you meet up with several writers in an online cabin.

Your goal

Your goal can be set in words, hours, minutes, lines and pages, unlike in November, where the only goal is in words. You can chose a lesser amount than the normal 50.000 words NaNoWriMo November has. And of course, if you really wanna go for it, you can choose an even greater goal.

What will you write?

During camp, you’re free to write anything you want. While the goal for NaNoWriMo November is to write a novel, during camp you can edit your drafts, work on world building, plot your next novel, do research or basically anything else you’d like to write during Camp.


What are these cabins about? I’ve heard that question often. Basically it’s a virtual cabin where you group with 19 other writers. At Camp NaNo you enter your project details and you state if you’d like to be added to a cabin randomly or you can set up your own cabin. If you don’t want to start your own cabin and do not want to be entered to just some cabin, you can also look on the forums for a cabin to join.

Camp activities?

Are there any camp activities? Well, that all depends on the group. In the groups I’ve been in, we have regular chats in the weekends and we’re quite active during the week as well. Once camp’s over, we even have our own (closed) Slack group where keep in touch.

NaNoEUFantasy&Sci-Fi cabin

For several years and camps I’ve run a fantasy cabin especially for those who live in Europe or are especially active during our writing hours. This year we’ve added Sci-Fi as well because a few of our long standing members are writing more sci-fi this camp.

Our cabin is, two weeks before camp starts, already full! And because of that, we decided to start our themed chats. the cabin is very active already and I love it!

Tergaenae news report: Queen Aeghtine and the Dragon Rider King will meet and more

Tergaenae News January 9, 2019

This news reached me earlier today:


I was cautiously happy about your positive responses after the first time I decided to share news from my world #Tergaenae with you in your world.

I spoke about it with some of our royals and the unanimous decision was to tell you more about our world. So, here’s again some Tergaenae news:

Our #pargansae queen Aeghtine agrees to a visit with the Dragon Rider King.

Prince Finlay has been spotted near a brothel in Dragon City.

It is said the missing daughter of Dragon City’s Master Blacksmith has left because she wouldn’t become the next Master Blacksmith.

Winds have been fair and have brought lots of merchants to Trader’s Port.

I thank you for your attention.

Your #pargansaereporter

Tergaenae news report: White wolf and more

Pargansae Reporter with Tergaenae news on January 2, 2019
#pixiereporter has brought it to my attention, through @Katie_Masters29, that we can bring news from our world to yours. Even though we #Pargansae rarely seek out humans, together with the Hedgehog I am here to bring you news from #Tergaenae.
A rare white wolf has been spotted south of The Big Lake
It’s warm near Devil’s Gulf. Ideal for harvesting silk
Rumour has it a certain Healer may have met her man
Preperations for Sauin are in full swing
Your Pargansae reporter

WORLD BUILDING: Eating Utensils

Roman Eating Utensils

in which I take a quick look at what my characters could possibly use as eating utensils.


A post shared by Ilse Mul (@ilsemulauthor) on

Every day items: eating

Some things may not be thought of before writing a story, but in the end you just might need that tiny detail. After all, when your hero arrives in a tavern and she doesn’t have any eating utensils with her and is served soup with bread, how is she going to eat it if everyone else assumes she brought her own utensils? So, today I answered this question for my own fantasy story:

How do your characters eat?

Nowadays we’ve got forks, knives, spoons, sporks (spoon + fork), knorks (knife + fork; or is there another word for it?), chopsticks and possible some other utensils I haven’t mentioned. But how was that several centuries ago? What did the medieval men and women use to eat. Well, from the old ages there were the knives and spoons. At some point the picker made it’s way into the household (the top utensil in the above photo). It was quite a while later that forks were introduced and made common.

In Fantasy

Even though The Infinity Saga is a fantasy story, any utensils I introduce have to fit in the setting. I decided not to have forks as common items yet. Which means my characters will have a knife and spoon and probably a picker, like in the above photo. But forks is a whole other story. Forks are more of a status symbol. You may find these strange devices in some courts, but many people don’t see the use of a double toothpick claiming it doesn’t work.

eating utensils
eating utensils

Dragon Riders & Forks

Some of the #dragonriders may be at least familiar with forks since they may have visited various courts. At the #Dragon City court, though, forks are to be thought amusing toys to play with, but not ideal eating utensils. Why use a complicated thing when you already have the ideal tools for the job?

Mages & Forks

Some #mages see forks as tools for their craft, but certainly not something to use for eating. Most of them laugh when they someone trying to eat with such a weird thing.

Common people & Forks

Common people don’t use forks. They think it’s for those uptight noblemen and -women and as one of them said:

“To be ‘onest wi’ ya, it ain’t easy at all, no missy! Be careful, or yo’ll get tha’ pointy end in ya tongue!”

Photo credits

Instagram embedded photo ©: History Answers
Featured photo ©: National Education Network
Other: Unknown photographer

#amwritingfantasy #turtlewriters #writersofinstagram #amreadingfantasy #writingcommunity #writerscommunity #igauthors #authorsofig #authorsofinstagram #writersofig #inspiration #writinginspiration

What do your characters use as eating utensils? Why those items? Share it in the comments below!

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Happy 2018 everyone!

Happy New Year 2018

in which I reflect a little bit on 2017 and where I’m looking forward to all that’s ahead of me in 2018.


2017 was an interesting year for me. I started with My Peak Challenge, I continued working on my novel and I learned on a lot of new and interesting things.

It’s not always been an easy year, but that’s all part of life. I’ve made the decision for myself to look at the good that happened.

My Peak Challenge

My Peak Challenge is both a physical challenge as a mental/creative/anything you like challenge. I’ve worked on my physical challenge (Yay, I can now eat bananas and pears and my asthma has gotten better!) and will continue to work on that in 2018.

I’ve met an incredible group of peakers here in the Netherlands who are amazingly supportive. With them I’ve done fun things like Mermaid Swimming!

Mermaid Swimming
Mermaid Swimming with the Dutch Peakers, Courtesy Amfion Fotografie

We have done a lot together in 2017 and I’m very much looking forward to everything we do in 2018.

New & Interesting Things

I’ve learned several new things about history, rituals and about world building. There is so much to learn from history and from current events, plants, animals and such. It’s incredible! Did you know, for example, that we can now help wild animals who’ve lost a limb or part of a scale?

And that’s not all! What happens to spiders when fields and such are flooded? They search for higher grounds and make huge webs there:

And there is so much more to learn! Keep an eye for these amazing tidbits of information that just might rock your world!

My novel

I’ve worked a lot on my novel in 2017. It was mostly world building and that’s okay. I discovered I was sometimes stuck on a story line because I hadn’t worked out a few things good enough in my world building. I’ve developed my complete story line for book one. The story line for the other books is something I’m going to work on when the first draft of my first book is finished.
And I’ve been working on my map. I can show a small preview, but you’ll have to wait for the full version, cause I’ll show that later on!

Teaser of the map
Teaser of the map

This is just a small portion of the entire world. I will not tell you which part it is just yet. You’ll have to wait and see!

You will see more of my world building in later posts!

Looking forward

Like I said, you will see more later. There are two things I can reveal to you today:

  • The new book series title
  • My plans for 2018

I won’t do it in a normal blog post. Nope. I’ve decided to give you a video in which I reveal both. Have fun!

What are your writing or reading plans for 2018? Share them below in the comments!

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NaNoWriMo November: Are you participating?

It’s that time of the year again. Autumn is slowly showing signs of breaking through, which means NaNoWriMo is almost around the corner. Are you participating? Let me know!

What is NaNoWriMo?

The National Novel Writing Month is an international writing event where you write, in your own favorite writing place, 50.000 words of your novel. It starts November 1st, 12:00AM and ends November 30th, 11:59PM in your own timezone.

Why Participate?

NaNoWriMo offers you the possibility to just write, ignoring all mistakes you make (shut out that inner editor!), just keep on writing. It helps you to get  into a daily habit of writing.

Additionally, there are literally tens of thousands upon tens of thousands of people participating at the same time. You will get support through the forums, Facebook, Twitter and more!

HOW much do I have to write a day?

50k words translates to 1,667 words per day. I know, it’s a lot! I’ll give you tips on how to break this down and start a daily writing habit before November 1st. If you have any tips, share them here!


NaNoWriMo 2017 Prep: Outline & Magical World Builder

Magical World Builder

Are you preparing for NaNoWriMo2017? I am. Luckily my preparations seem to go at a steady pace. Are you looking for things to prepare? Perhaps the Magical World Builder is something for you besides outlining.

Okay, so, yesterday I didn’t report any progress, but I did make progress. After some bad news I received, I just wasn’t in the mood to write about it anymore. Now I’m doing better so I thought I’d share my progression with you.


One of the things on my checklist is to finish the outline of my first draft of my first book, since I’m still writing that. Today I finished that outline! It also became quite clear that I’m not yet halfway with writing my book, but that’s okay. Once my first draft is finished, I can always edit and remove things I don’t like 😀

Later on this month I’ll make the outline for Book 2. First, I’ve got other things on my checklist to do.

NaNo goal adjusted

I had originally thought to start with book 2 on November 1st. Now I think I might not have finished the first draft of book 1 yet, so I’ll continue with that first in November. Once that’s finished I’ll continue with book 2. #Challenge

Magical World Builder

Magical World Builder
Source: Inkarnate

The above picture hardly looks like a proper world, now does it? Let’s see, there’s a castle, a LOT of ocean and apparently some mountain ranges . And the rest is empty…..

Rest assured, this is NOT the map of my world. There will be so much more on my map. And my map will be much bigger than this. There is so much to include.

And World building is so much more than only drawing a map. A map is handy to see if your characters should go north instead of south. It would, after all, be a shame if they end up way deep in the south when the city where they needed to be is way up north. Could be an interesting story line telling your reader why they ended up in the south, but all in all, a map could come in handy.

But that is not all what world building is about. It is one aspect. But there’s so much more, like the government system, the culture, what kind of clothes do your characters wear, what kind of industrialization is there (if any), etc.

To build my world properly I’m going to follow the steps in Stephanie Cottrell Bryant’s Magical World Builder. The PDF she created about this is chock full of information. And for those who want to “get their hands dirty” there’s a full 30-days exercise to build your world. And that is exactly what I’m using.

Once I’m finished with that, I’m definitely going to check it against the Game Of Thrones Wiki to see if there are other interesting things I may already have in the back of my mind, but not yet in my story bible yet. And perhaps things that haven’t been included in my world building just yet.

Story Bible

Story Bible

A story bible is something that every author, if s/he makes one, does the way it’s best for him/her. In the past I’ve kept all my notes in one box. They usually got all jumbled up together. I can tell you, that really doesn’t work!

I’d like to choose an option that’s also more environmental friendly. And thus I turn to a digital form. In Scrivener I can store a lot of information, including photos, which can be very useful. I also want an option to check things online when I’m not at home. And I’d like to share my world with you while I’m creating it and for you to read once my books have been released. That is why I have decided to have an online story bible, right here on my site. I will go through my World building exercises almost daily and I will share the information with you here. Of course I will only share information that doesn’t give away spoilers. I can’t give away the clue to the story before it’s been released, now can I? 😀

I can give you a tidbit of what I’ve been working on the last few days.

Funeral rituals

There are many different people in my world. And each group has its own funeral rituals. Some may seem very similar to our Earth rituals, while other  are different. Seers have other rituals than Dragon Riders, while Commoners have rituals that may seem more like earth rituals


My world is a pseudo-medieval setting. This means there is no industrialization, nor technical advancement as we know it. But there are different things that may hint at what we have. Take communication, for instance. Seers will usually use a special bowl with a certain ritual and herbs to establish a communication link. There are, however, also a few seers, from old families, who have inherited special communication devices through which they can communicate with other seers who have a similar device. How this works exactly and how they attained this, is something that will become more clear in the story. If you’re lucky, I might share some more information about it in the future.

History of the Dragon Riders

Each people has its own history, like we all do. One of the things I wanted to have a bit more clearer is the history of the dragon riders. Why is it that dragons allow people to ride on their backs? Why is it that dragons might defend their riders at all costs? What is their benefit in this relationship?

These were among the questions I wanted to answer, inspired by questions several of my Twitter followers asked me.

Later on I will share more details about their history. For now I’ll leave you with this tidbit:
People were hunting down dragons for their rumored treasures and because they killed their livestock now and then. And then a change came about.

These are all things that came up the last few days. Even though I wasn’t going through my Magical World Builder exercises, that’s okay. This is all important information and I’ll fit it in my story bible nonetheless. After all, this process is all about getting to know my world better, so that my story becomes a really lively story, something that comes alive before your eyes.

Are you world building? Perhaps even using the 30-day exercise of the Magical World Builder from Stephanie? Share your experiences in the comments!

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NaNoWriMo2017 Prep: expanded outline and loads of world building!

NaNoWriMo2017 Prep Part 4: Outline

How are you doing with your preparations for NaNoWriMo2017? I hope everything is going well! I’ve worked on my outline again and I’ve done some more world building. Things are looking good!

Incredible what a day at work can bring. That is, if you’ve got a job like mine. I’m an interior cleaner. Yeah, it’s not the greatest job in the world, but hey, it pays the bills. And a very nice side effect is that I can think about my story while I’m doing my job. How nice is that? It’s exactly what I did today.


Although I’ve written stories without any outline, I felt from the start that with this story, or rather series of books it is turning into, I NEEDED an outline. I just didn’t want a fixed outline that wouldn’t give me any freedom. Which is something I’m kinda used to from high school and college. It was something I HATED!

When I found “NaNoWriMo for the New and Insane” by Lazette Gyfford, I found my solution. Not only does she give a hilarious, mostly accurate, view on NaNoWriMo, she also presents a, for me new, way to make outlines: the phased outline.

Phased Outline

A phased outline works with key words and key phrases. Perhaps even a quote you’d like to include in your story. And that’s it. A couple of dozen words can turn into a full chapter in your story. And that is what has happened for me ever since I started using that method.

A few sentences, sometimes not even more than 15 words can turn into whole chapters of thousands of words for me. Apparently a little spark is all I need to go on.

Book I

As you may have seen in my checklist I still have to finish my first draft of my first book. That’s okay. I don’t mind that. Although I’m slowly starting to realize I might not be able to finish it I do get more and more ideas for both my world and the stories within it. At the moment I’ve added several phases to the outline of book I. Nothing yet for book II, but for that to happen I need to have at least the outline of book I finished. At the rate it’s going now, I hope to have the outline finished in a few days, cause it’s developing fast!

World Building

While I was at work today, I’ve also come up with several additions for my world building. At the moment I can’t tell you any specifics, but I can tell you that a few things in my book and my outline now make more sense. Not because I made the world to fit around it, but because the world grew like this and the book and the outline turned out to fit neatly in the world with perhaps a few small changes, but nothing “life changing” sorta speak.

Later on I’ll write more on world building when I’m going through the steps of The Magical World Builder.

Suffice to say that my world turns out to be older than I thought and the civilizations turned out to be older as well. And there were more civilizations before the current ones. The current ones grew from the older ones, as you see happen often, of course.

Enough said

For today, this is it. I’ve made quite the progress and I’ll continue to make much more progress if things keep going the way they are now. And I’m happy with it.

How do you build your outline? Do you write each and every change? Or are you more like me? And world building, how does that go for you? Do you imagine a large new world filled with wonders, adventures and dangers for your characters to travel through? Or is your world more or less like Earth? Let me know in the comments!

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NaNoWriMo 2017 Prep: Testing Aeon Timeline

Testing AeonTimeLine

Do you struggle with the progression of days, weeks, months or even years in your story? I knew I had to have a system for this, to keep everything in order while I’m writing my books. For this I tested Aeon TimeLine. See why I chose this program to use for the future!

We’ve got a little over 30 days to go until November 1st. There’s still a lot to do for me, but there’s one thing I can check off my list: Testing Aeon TimeLine. I needed to know if it would answer all my needs in writing projects. Here’s what I found.

My needs

As a writer I can write in many different genres. My heart has always been in Fiction. Fantasy fiction to be precise. It wasn’t until I was writing Chased that I found the need to have a tool that would display a timeline properly, instead of a rough timeline on paper. At times it simply became unreadable because I wanted to cram so much information in it. So, I made a list of what I need in a timeline tool. I need a tool that:

  • displays events in chronological order
  • gives me an overview of my characters in each event
  • shows me if my characters can actually be in a certain event given the time they need to travel to the location
  • lets me include new events in between other, already existing events without making a mess of the timeline
  • will allow me to include more information than simply the event title, like location, roles of the characters in the scenes, perhaps even emotions of the characters
  • keeps track of not only the timeline of book one, but also the timelines of sequels all in one document, in one handy overview
  • can be included/synced with Scrivener
  • has the possibility to create my own calendar
  • potentially can include multiple kinds of arcs. I want to include not only the story arc, but also the character’s arc so that I know if s/he will make any personal progress, have a personal growth

Armed with this list, I started my search for a good tool.

Aeon TimeLine

I’ve looked around for timeline programs and systems. None of them seemed to be the solution for my needs, until I was pointed to Aeon TimeLine. I decided to give it a try, especially since it has a very nice trial period of 30 days. The site comes with good videos and support articles that will help you get started. It also has a nice overview of the programs features and that convinced me to try it out and see if it would be the answer to my needs.

Chronological order

A chronological order is something you’ll basically find in every program or system. It’s usually the base of a timeline, so it would be very strange if a program or system wouldn’t have this possibility.

Character overview per scene

Aeon TimeLine has a very good overview for that.

Character Overview in Aeon Timeline
Source: AeonTimeLine

This overview even shows you what kind of role your character has in the particular scene, for example an observer or a participant, or whatever role you set up. And if there are multiple characters in one scene, you can see that easily in this overview. Ideal!

Time passed

For me to see if a character can actually be at a certain location, it comes in handy to know how much time has passed in the story. Aeon TimeLine has the possibility to show you how much time has passed between scenes and thus give insight on the possibility of a character being able to make it to a certain place. In the image below I’ve set the overview to Group by person.

Time passed for a character
source: Aeon TimeLine

If you click on the image it will open a larger version in a new window. If you look there, you’ll see on the left hand side how much time has passed for the character Poirot between the scenes displayed. That gives you the possibility to check for inconsistencies.

Include new events

When I’m writing or making an outline, I find myself coming up with new scenes that might fit better in between scenes I’ve already written or perhaps even in a scene I’ve already written. On a traditional Pen & Paper timeline this would mean I’d gradually make a mess of my timeline and eventually had to start over because of this exact same mess.

With Aeon TimeLine, however, I find that I can easily add scenes where ever I want, I can move scenes around and much more all without making a mess of the timeline. Ideal for someone like me. Especially since I have the tendency to think up scenes when I’m at my job and find they fit perfectly…. in between other scenes or perhaps even before all other scenes.

More information

On a traditional timeline you’ll often only see the “Title” and that’s about it. I’d prefer to have more information. And Aeon Timeline offers exactly that.

Source: Aeon TimeLine

In the above picture you can see that participants are shown in the expanded view of the scene.

Source: Aeon TimeLine

In the above picture you can see a the date, a summary and even a picture that’s included. Although I might not include a picture in my timeline, having a summary, character information and more is very helpful!

Sequel Timelines included

In the timeline settings you can not only have Arc as options to display, but you can include more. In my case I’ll be including Book I Arc, Book II arc, etc. That way I can keep everything neatly in one overview, while at the same time keeping everything separated as it’s supposed to be.  And this also gives me the possibility to plan events for later books, that might play already during the timeline of the first book. I could perhaps reference to it or it might be foreshadowing or something else. Either way it’ll definitely help me to keep things running smoothly.

Syncing with Scrivener

Now, this is something I haven’t done yet, but it’s a default feature in Aeon Timeline and that’s a BIG plus. Not only will all the information be ported to Scrivener, but when you change things in Scrivener, you can update your timeline as well. Aeon Timeline will point out doubles, errors and such, so that you are aware of those and can fix them. How great is that?

My own Calendar

When you write fiction you don’t necessarily NEED to have a calendar, let alone a calendar created especially for your story. BUT…. I kinda just want it. If only to make dates like “Year of the Earth Dragon, 1st of the Moon Month” or anything else I’ll come up with during my world building.

Then again I might not come up with anything and just skip it all together, but with Aeon TimeLine I have the OPTION to make my own calendar and use that for my timeline instead of our earth calendar. And I love that I have that option.

In fact you don’t even need a calendar. Aeon Timeline only needs a starting date. If you prefer not to work with dates or anything like that, but only events, you can do that. You do need to set a first date, simply because the program needs a starting point, but from there on you can totally ignore the date thing and create something of your own.

Multiple kinds of arcs

In a story you always have a story arc. That’s the progression your story goes through. Otherwise there wouldn’t be a story, but only a bullet list of events. On top of that story arc, there is the progression of your characters. In the ideal situation your characters go through a progression as well. They grow through your story, through everything they encounter, every adventure they have. They learn, the adjust, they dreams or life goals are met or perhaps adjusted and they go through personal growth.

Perhaps they learn to work together with others, where they would never have done before they entered your story, or maybe they’ve learned to deal with certain emotions which they ignored before. There are a lot of things a character will go through. In Aeon TimeLine you can reflect that. And that’s ideal!


I’m sure there are lots of things I haven’t run into yet about making a timeline. And there are probably several things in Aeon Timeline that I haven’t seen yet, but in the end, this seems to be the tool for me. I’m also quite sure I’ll not only use it for my current story, but also for all stories to come in the future. So, even though it’s $50 it’s worth the money for me.

Mind you, it might not be the answer to YOUR needs, so you might have a different opinion 🙂

Do you use timelines for your story? If so, how do you make them? What do you use? Do you include any extra information? And how do you combine it with your word processing program? Let me know in the comments!

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