All posts tagged writing

Eating Good in the Neighborhood (or not)

Published May 3, 2012 by caitlinnicoll

Ah, the cultivation of food. What would we be without it?

I don’t even want to think about it. Please don’t make me. *Whimpers in corner, clutching coffee* My Preciousss. It is minesss. Mines by rightses! *pets*

Ahem. Right. Where was I?

Agriculture is a huge part of society, because you know, it deals with food and how we get it. In fact, I would say it is the most important part of civilization.

There are many theories as to why we started to grow delicious food crops, which is likely due to our inherent laziness*, but I’m not going to get into that. I’m not even going to talk about the cultural, environmental, and societal impacts agriculture has had on us. I’m going to talk about how it pertains to you. Or more specifically your book. Or even more specifically, your characters.

In every fictional society, whether one set in Ancient Egypt or a futuristic colony on Pluto, your characters need to eat. And the food they eat will vary depending on where (and when) they are. For instance, in your futuristic Plutonian colony, why do they eat the foods they do? Why does one crop grow better than another? Is it the mineral and PH make-up of the soil, the accessibility of water, the hardiness of the plant? Have they been genetically modified to survive in the alien environment?

Not only that, but how do they cultivate their food? Is it in above ground greenhouses with special glass to absorb the weak sunlight, or are they underground with artificial lamps? Why did they choose to do it one way over the other. Weather, environment, and technology play a huge role in deciding these questions.

If you are writing historical fiction, you should consider not only what they had, but what they didn’t have. If your story takes place during the Tang Dynasty, obviously your characters will not be eating chocolate, because you know, they didn’t have it. Also, chocolate was originally a drink served frothy and delicious. MMM, chocolate…

Anyways, food. It’s important. And so isn’t how your characters get it.

*Purely unscientific assumption



B is for Babylon

Published April 2, 2012 by caitlinnicoll

Babylon was an ancient Akkadian city-state in Mesopotamia. It is famous for 2 things, the Hanging Gardens, and the place where Alexander the Great died.

Throughout it’s history, Babylon has been has conquered by the Hittites, Persians, Assyrians, Greeks, and Arabs.


What is the capital of Assyria?


Like other ancient cultures, Babylon had a patron god that protected them. The Babylonian god was Marduk, god of magic, water, judgement, and vegetation (Also, he had a dragon). It is said that Marduk has 50 names (Take that John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt). He also had quite a fantastical history. As a young god, he answered the call to end the civil war between the Anunnaki gods after being promised the position of head god. First, he challenged the leader of the Anunnaki, the dragon Tiamat, to single combat and defeated her. After her, he defeated Kingu, and took control of the Tablets of Destiny.

The Hanging Gardens are fascinating because they may or may not have existed. And because the sheer improbability of them (maybe the Heart of Gold was in the area?). It was said to takes 8,200 of gallons a day to keep up, and while the city was situated between the Euphrates and the Tigris, that is still a lot of water. King Nebuchadnezzar II purportedly built them to please his homesick wife Amytis of Media. Despite their dubious existence, they make a great inspiration for a city… hint hint

Book recommendations for reading challenges:

    Fantasy                                                                                                               Sci-fi

Um, Books and Stuff

Published March 27, 2012 by caitlinnicoll

I’ve been seriously slacking in the reading (and blog) department. But! I have read! Has anyone else been in a reading slump? Or better yet, does anyone have any good recommendations? I need some good sci-fi recommendations.

Anyways, so here is what I’ve been reading.





After waffling for a few weeks, I’ve finally decided on a theme for the A to Z challenge, which will be Culture. Each day will focus on a different culture/ empire/ whatever I could find to fit the letter of the day for your world-building inspirational pleasures.

There is an overwhelming trend to write fantasy in some sort of European Middle Ages Default setting, and while I dearly love some of these books, Middles Ages I do not. I mean, it’s so boring stacked against the WHOLE OF HISTORY. Lately, I’ve been veering towards more Asian inspired settings because they are different, refreshing, and well, interestinger. I would also really love to read a fantasy book based on an ancient or Native American culture. So, if you know any, you would make me an extremely happy person.

I will also post book recs and whatever else I deem relevant. Which, knowing me, will be completely random.

Lucky 7 Meme

Published March 12, 2012 by caitlinnicoll

I got tagged by Seabrooke for this meme, and it looked really fun.  Plus, it falls right in the middle of an awkward situation for my characters. *Smiles*

The rules:
1. Go to page 77 of your current MS
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next seven lines as they’re written–no cheating!
4. Tag 7 other writers
5. Let them know

Let’s see, I tag Claudie, Sommer, Jen, Margo, Tricia. And you what, I’m tagging you Hektor.

Alright, so this starts and ends in kind of an awkward place because the first and last lines are in the middle of a sentence, but whatever.

“…pale strips of light across the marble floors. An early morning mist hung over the gardens below like a dewy spider web. The sun had no yet risen and the sky was indigo, the horizon tinged with lavender. The king walked fast, and in their sleep deprived haze, they had to struggle to keep up.

“Where are we going?” Akari asked. Her long waves were mussed and Kazunari felt a flush of heat as he remembered how…”

Yea, you thought you were being all sneaky, Kazunari.

Deduct from that what you will.

Why Do YOU write?

Published December 14, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

This post is a conglomeration of two conversations I’ve had recently.

The first was on a forum I visit, wherein the thread was about the end of “celebrity authors” in the internet age. I’m not going to post my views about that, because this is not what this post is about (mostly).

The second conversation was with my brother about the zombie apocalypse (I swear, we talk about nothing else). Which basically came down to me saying that if I survived (I have a pretty sweet plan, btw), and even if I was the only survivor in the world, I would continue to write.


What’s the point? You may ask.

Well, for one, it would give me something to do when I wasn’t desperately trying to survive, or showing off my sweet zombie slaying skills*. In a world full of danger, you need downtime, something relaxing. Like reading, or a hobby.

I write because I have to. Because the characters in my head won’t shut up, and because I can’t stop exploring new worlds. And even if there was no more paper or pens left in the world, I would continue to make up stories and worlds and characters in my head. It would be the stories themselves that would keep me going, keep me alive and sane when all looks hopeless and pointless.

I don’t write for fame and fortune (although they would be nice). Nor do I write for validation. I write for the same reason I draw, because it’s something I enjoy doing. And as long as I enjoy it, I will keep on doing it.

*Note to self: I should probably write a zombie book.

Why do you write?


Also, don’t forget to enter my Secret Santa give-away. There are some pretty cool things in there. May the odds forever be in your favor.

Over and Onwards!

Published December 5, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

NaNoWriMo is officially over. Well, it was over last Wednesday, but you know what I mean.

*falls over*

It was crazy this year. I don’t think I’ve ever typed so fast in my life. My wip really surprised me this year. There were a lot of explosions, and it’s way more romancy than I intended. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Of course, it’s nowhere near done, so we’ll see how it evens out in the end.

Also, I won. Yay! But I never would have done it without Claudie, Sommer, Tricia, Adrianne, and Karen, and our writing sprints. So thank you! Just for you girls, and anyone else who won this year (and for those who didn’t, but made a valiant effort anyways), this girl and her 5 legged, 2 tailed, blue mohawked camel are cheering. For you. Because you are awesome.

What? It was free mohawk day.

I’m not quite sure what is on her head, so don’t ask.

Also, if you are interested (I am only mildly pressuring you), I’ve started a fantasy and a sci-fi reading challenge for next year, if anyone wants to join me. Links are in the sidebar. No pressure though.

A Lesson in Euphemisms

Published November 16, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

So, it’s been a few days. I’ve been busy NaNo-ing and editing, and you know, procrastinating.

I have a new look. I’m not sure how I like. We’ll see how it goes.

So, to save all our time (since I’m sure you’d rather be upping your word count too), here is a video, illustrating example of how to use euphemisms from some of the greatest minds in the 20th century.


Also, if you’re feeling week 2 blues, and your wip is starting to give you massive headaches, and look like a bunch of random gibberish, here is an inspiring song to remind you that it could be worse. MUCH worse.



You’re welcome. Now, get back to work!