you mean
there were other occupations
in medieval history

SHOCK.  This is not the demographic landscape that fantasy/historical fiction has led us to envision!  Next you'll be saying that the blacksmiths weren't always enormous + burly / young, dark, + handsome, & the innkeepers weren't always fat + jovial.  YOU MIGHT EVEN TELL ME THAT PEOPLE ATE SOMETHING BESIDES STEW.

here lies the smoking wreckage of a bizarre utopia, composed of convenient smithies with equally convenient bed + breakfasts where you can engage in a nightly brawl with local drunkards, free of consequence

It doesn't take a lot of thought to realize that any society is composed of a rich tapestry of occupations, all engaging in a push + pull economy, supplying other occupations, vying with other occupations, building up + tearing down.  Someone has to make something, & if you can make it, you can sell it. 

there are too many occupations to enumerate, so i'm going to list 7 of my favourites to get you thinking. 

POST  ||  Guess what!  Letters aren't just conveniently dropped off when it suits your story.  Societies quickly set up regular means of delivering mail, because mail means communication, & communication is essential to economies.  Your characters are likely to send, receive, or be met by the post on the road (mAKE WAY for prince aLI).

INKMAKER  ||    Like beer, manufacturing ink can be a household chore; but if you are particularly apt, & have access to the ingredients necessary, there is always a market for durable ink.   Characters may make + sell, or just have occasion to purchase, ink from a local supplier.  & who knows what might happen in the meantime *plotplot*.

UNGUENTARY / APOTHECARY  ||  WHAT A TERRIBLE WORD & yet so very important for a society because thanks adam + eve we're all subject to aches, pains, sickness, + death (unguentaries may also provide embalming fluids + sweet ointments??).  I can see endless occasions for the use of apothicks et al in novels. XD

FUELLER  ||  People always need a means of baking their meals / warming their homes, but they very likely have busy jobs that prevent them from getting the fuel themselves sO let's have a monthly subscription of ye olde dry tinderwood to be delivered promptlie upon the first of evrie month, by John Woodstock, whose business such is to gather + sell fuel.  BOOM.  Problem solved.

SOAPMAKER  ||   Everything gets dirty, & an effective soap requires a carefully balanced chemistry.  If you can create a good soap that gets the job done, & sell it to your neighbours, I think this is what folks call a "side hustle." 

CHANDLER  ||  Not to be crowded out by the butchers + bakers of the town, the manufacturing of light is a seriously important job, with numerous vocations tied up in it (you have to get the wax/oil from somewhere, your wicks from someone, or make them yourself with outsourced products, etc.).  So long as the sun keeps going down, people will need artificial light.

HAENYEO  ||  I added this one because

a:: i think the ocean is hella terrifying
b:: it's chockablock with food, fuel, + other useful commodities
c:: these women are incredibly strong

Diving has been a lucrative trade in sea-based cultures all over the world; haenyeo, the women-divers of Jeju (Korea), is only one example.  I'd love to work this trade into Ethandune somehow, but yeah nothing's coming to me yet.  XD

These are my 7 various occupations that are important to a society + are NOT blacksmiths or innkeepers.  
Go forth + be not cliche!

have some vocations that are your favourites? please share!
xoxo. jenny

Suspicious Activity + Other Good News


ETHANDUNE  ||  I've taken a break of indeterminate length on this in order to mull + plot.

(also i accidentally lost about 100+ words that i'd written recently, & i haven't recovered emotionally yet so i'm doing the mature thing + hiding from my problems)

ADAMANTINE  ||  So I've picked up this novel.  The rewrite has about 28,700 words, semi-decent prose, + an assortment of ideas strung together like an antique rag rug.  At this (still early) stage, my main character has so many afflictions + trials, I'm in great danger of forgetting some of them. XD

*no, i am NOT enamoured with the notion of torturing characters for the fun of it.  there is no "fun of it." it's just this character's misfortune to be plagued by all these multitudinous tribulations.


It was then, as the food softened and slid down into my stomach, that my surroundings became real. Or perhaps I became real to my surroundings; I felt that, heretofore, I had merely been a ghost, half here and half in a shock world, to whom these strange creatures and rooms were terrifying yet spiritually intangible. Now my body materialized around my soul, wakening as it was worked, and I was suddenly solid amidst my prison. 

"Stop!" I begged pathetically. Though tethered by his grip, I sank down on the pallet. "Stop! Do let me be. Let me die."

The sorrows of death compassed me, the pains of hell gat hold upon me; I found trouble and sorrow.
My heart thumped, beat, struggled.
Then I called upon the name of the Lord--O Lord, I beseech Thee, deliver my soul!
The last slender line of crocus-flame streaming onto the wall faded, turned to the petals of a poppy, burnt brilliant, and went out.
In that darkness, without gaslight or candle's gleam, that same profound and dimensionless night which had ushered me in to my relatives' home, my soul gaped in terror and screamed. 

// adamantine mood board


BOOKS  ||  "Are you reading that for research, or...?"  Honestly, everything I read could be counted as research for something at some time for some reason.

{recently finished}
the girl with seven names by lee hyeonseo
please look after mom by shin kyung-sook
lee's book, an autobiographical sketch of her defection from north korea, was absolutely riveting + proper messed with my sleep at night
shin's novel was a goodreads recommendation + did NOT disappoint. loved it, even though it was heart-breaking.

{currently reading}
hallucinations by oliver sacks
the book is by oliver sacks, not the hallucinations. but it is also downright fascinating. i never knew there were so many "sane" types of hallucinations.

WATCHABLES  ||  This category is remarkable, because I simply rarely have time to watch anything.

i like kdramas.  for some reason, i like horror movies.  i learned that koreans also make horror films.  i was positively giddy.

 a massive, gorgeous dramatization of the only female emperor of china, starring impossibly beautiful fan bingbing?? uh, yes please!  
(i'm watching on youtube. one of my sources recommended kissasian, but kissasian looked like it was going to steal my social security number + my kidneys, so i'm still using youtube like a dinosaur.)

*yes, these are overwhelmingly asian.  i don't know why.  that's just the way it is.

// i mean really

that's me, folks. thanks for reading!
xoxo, jenny

This Writing Program Cured My Writer's Block

Honesty is great, except when you're trying to look professional / like you're in control of what you're doing - then you really need to act like your ducks are in a row even if they've completely flown the coop.

that's me

I loathe opening my Word document.  Oh, I love writing - when writing comes easily + isn't a chore.  I've never enjoyed the struggle; that's why it's a struggle, otherwise it'd be called fun.  & for honest reals, this is the major reason I've made so little progress on Ethandune in the past six months.  My brain has been too tired to want to engage in the struggle.

The internet is deucedly clever at figuring out which ads will lure me in.  They know, you know.  The all-seeing eye...sees all...?  I saw a random graphic about a writing program that I semi-reluctantly bit.  You have to understand, this is me while looking at most everything online:


I can't find the graphic again, which is really annoying, so I'll just have to pitch this as well as the graphic pitched to me. 


When you're in the program, your document is literally all that you see.  No options, no tool bar: just your text.  If you move your mouse, it will show options (written pretty small + unobtrusive) to the far side of the screen, but otherwise it's just you + your writing.

// text with options // when you're writing, the options disappear //

I FIND THIS SO HELPFUL, YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW.  I never realized the extra "chatter" of the screen was so distracting, but it is!  With this full-screen option, it's like reading a book while you're writing it.  So cool!

If you look at my screenshot, you can see a "music" option.  I think you can upload your own music to the program, but the preset options are soothing instrumentals, which is kind of the idea.  It's perfect for creating that little bubble of sound that I need to hone in on my writing.

like, if enya was a novelist, she'd probably use this, i'm guessing

I think you can upload your own images, too, but I really like the preset images ZenWriter offers.  You have choices between
  • a beach (currently using, as Ethandune is by the sea)
  • a forest
  • clouds
  • several winter scenes
  • two lakes
They all appear with a muted overtone (see screenshot), & you can even switch between "day" (white-muted image with black text) + "night" (black-muted image with white text).  How cool is that, you guys?? HOW. COOL.

Last but NOT least.  Let me refer back to my previous confession of hating to open my Word document.  Like, I think it gives me acne just thinking about it.  Well.  WELL.  When I casually transferred my document to ZenWriter + got to looking at it...I couldn't stop writing.  (tim had to throw me to the ground + stand on me, while filigree ran over + unplugged the laptop)*  It was seriously addictive!  & this is coming from a brain-dead maman of two little ones.  I meant to just close the program + go lie down for awhile to rest, but noooo, the next thing I knew, I was writing.  The nerve!

* abigail, this reference is for you. if anyone else has seen "picture perfect" (1995), congratulations, you have witnessed the world's best film ever

So tHERE YOU HAVE IT.  My new favourite writing-related thingummy ever.  I went ahead + bought the full version (only $17.50), so it's aLL MINE.

** this is not a sponsored post. i don't get paid for any of the malarkey i put on here, sadly. **

check out zenwriter here if you're interested! 

thanks so much for reading, guys!
xoxo, jenny

10 Character Aspects You've Never Used Before

OF ALL THE CHARACTER ASPECTS OUT THERE, you've probably not considered the following.  I've curated some realistically awkward realistic gems for your literary jewel-boxes.  


HICCUPS  ||  SO. ANNOYING.  Hiccups never respect what you're trying to say; they just barge in + ruin everything.  Even worse: people think it's hilarious that you poor schmuck are being sabotaged by your own diaphragm.  Oh yeah, real funny.  Life: 1. Character: 0.


FORGET THE WORD THEY WANT  ||  For some reason, people think I've got an excellent handle on the English language just because I'm a writer.  This is very much not true.  I'm (exceptionally?) bad at losing words, bad at integrating new words, + in general just a terrible orator due to a:: lack of practice & b:: a deep + abiding embarrassment of my own voice.  Again, I can't be alone in this, right??

WHAT WHAT WHAT  ||  Someone says something to you.  You weren't paying attention.  "What?"  They say it again.  Still garbledeegook.  "Excuse me - what?"  They repeat themselves again.  Good Lord have mercy, you still have no idea what they're on about so just NOD + AGREE.  NOD + AGREE.

& hope you didn't commit to anything serious

FORGET WHY THEY WALKED INTO A ROOM  ||  or really how they got into a room in the first place, am I right?

FORGET PEOPLE'S NAMES  ||  You know that thing, when you're introduced to someone, & you 100% don't remember the person's name within 0.05 seconds of being told?  Yeah...

EYELASH IN THE EYE  ||  I wear contacts, which means my eyes are used to being bludgeoned by my fingers twice a day.  ALL THE SAME, getting an eyelash in them is NO. JOKE.  EXCUSE ME.  I NEED TO BORROW A SERVICE DOG TO GET ME TO THE BATHROOM.

"does anyone have any saline??"

SOME RANDOM BODY PART FALLS OFF  ||  Anyone out of their teens has probably experienced the unpremeditated betrayal of some limb/core body part that just randomly chooses to throw itself excruciatingly out of whack at the worst. possible. moment.

GETTING DROP-DEAD SICK AFTER INTENSE STRESS  ||  I think Tolkien is the only writer I've seen to get this right: you don't travel all the way to Mount Doom & then frolic off for a round of drinks with the guys to celebrate.  No.  You're bloody well laid up for an eon because your body is dead.

EVERYONE YAWNS  ||   People in books yawn.  That's realistic.  What I find completely unbelievable is that no one else yawns afterward.

Here are your 10 neatly curated aspects of being a people that you've probably not considered including in your novel.  Go forth + be a great writer!

thanks for reading, peeps!
xoxo, jenny