Writing Partner: Plans for a New Year

Death May Die Dagon Miniature Painted

Hello all,

Happy New Year!

Planning a full year of work might seem like a bit of a fool’s errand. After all, something is bound to happen which will blow up my plans. We live in what feels like a truly destabilized time, and last year was one of my worst in recent memory. But with all that in mind, the only thing we have control over is ourselves. I really want this year to be better, and for me, feeling better has always involved storytelling.

With that in mind, I have planned to maximize content output and limit distractions this year. To illustrate this plan, here are some minis that work as a metaphor. You know the drill!

Warhammer Underworld Squigs

Those are two good little squigs from the Warhammer Underworlds line. I think they are both lovely in their own right.

Warhammer Underworlds Red Squig
I’m really bad at focusing on these tiny minis. 😦

The first is a pretty standard red squig.

Warhammer Underworlds Red Squig

He’s nice but not exactly inspired. The latter is where I experimented.

Warhammer Underworlds Blue Squig

I used some undercoating and glazing techniques on him to really bring out subtle hues in his skin. I didn’t know it would work, but I think he looks great.

Warhammer Underworlds Blue Squig

More importantly, he ended up being a proof of concept for something bigger.

Death May Die Dagon Miniature Painted

Look at this monster!

Death May Die Dagon Miniature Painted

This is the Dagon mini for CMON’s Death May Die board game. I used the same techniques as the squig and I think this is some of my best work (painting-wise). It kind of proved to me that this scheme and the techniques involved have legs. Now for the metaphor part, this is also how I will approach my writing this year.

The test ground will be bite-sized chunks that outline the world and themes of the longer works. In the last couple of years, I realized that I really enjoy podcasting, so that is a great start. I’ve also worked out the template for both short fiction and long fiction. Now I just need to apply it.

I’ll explain more later but for now, just know that I’m busy and happily working. This is going to be a good year damn it!

Writing Partner: A Tunneling Terror

Chthonian miniature painted

Hello all,

As we’re quickly approaching the holiday season, I’m doing my best to have the second draft of my new novel finished before I go on hiatus. I have some people out there who would like to read it, and I’m trying to make it an early present.

I’ve had to dig deep and stay on task to accomplish this goal. Long shifts in the old editing mines are harsh, though. It’s dangerous down there in the dark. So it’s best to go in with a partner.

Chthonian miniature painted

This, my friends, is the chthonian for the Death May Die set. Seasoned Lovecraft fans have probably noticed it doesn’t look like a worm with tentacles for a face so much as a pile of intestines spilling out of a tube. It’s a weird one for sure, but it was a lot of fun to paint.

Chthonian Miniature Painted

I’ve mentioned this a few times, but this is an excellent set for speed painting. There are lots of edges to catch dry brushing, and the weird designs make mistakes seem almost intentional. If you’re considering mini painting as a hobby, the board games CMON produces are great places to start. Even if you don’t end up enjoying it, at least you’ll have a solid board game!

I hope my next update will tell you this draft is finished. Mainly because I’m fast approaching yet another self-inflicted deadline, but also because I’m starting to dabble in some new side projects I’d like to discuss. I know, more side projects. My new year’s resolution should focus on the ideas I already have!


Writing Partner: A Fiery Element

Hello All,

I’m still working on my second draft. I’ve nearly finished the basic grammar and typo editing and will soon be moving on to passive language, description, and the topic of this blog – dialogue.

I have a secret, my gripping supernatural horror story, well it’s really a romance in disguise. All the themes and metaphors revolve around the ill-conceived relationship the main character is pursuing. The emotional core of the story weaves in and out of the horror and if my characters don’t have believable chemistry the whole novel will fall apart. Their banter has to be snappy and their confessions fiery. To that end, I picked today’s writing partner is a bit on the nose.

Greater Fire Elemental

This greater fire elemental was a lot of fun to paint. It’s a wizkids mini and it comes in transparent plastic and the painting process involved a lot of glazing and wet-blending. Much like the dialogue I’m working on it’s layered, but it’s a bit of an illusion. Each layer and color is a distraction, when the real meaning behind their words is perfectly clear. Much like the mini, and I plan to take advantage of that!

I want to use this mini for my burgeoning Kings of War army, and I’d like to build an LED into its base. That way the light will shine through and make for a really eye-catching centerpiece model. There is more work ahead but for now I’m pretty happy with the base paint job.

For the next blog I’ll be back to death may die as there are plenty of horrible creatures left in that set. Also, I have to keep ahead of my regular RPG night! Lots to edit, and lots to paint. I’m just so put upon…

Talk to you soon!

Writing Partner: Catching up With Cthulhu

Cthulhu: Death May Die Shoggoth Mini Painted

Hello Everyone,

As you know I closed up my NanoWriMo challenge on day 13 but I’ve been picking at my novel actively since then. My new book, The Birch Island Chronicles, is at that awkward stage now where it’s got all its structure but it probably isn’t worth reading. I need to get it to readable so I can get some feedback on it.

This kind of work is going to require a lot of repetitive editing, so I’ll need some support. It’s time to bring back writing partners!

Cthulhu: Death May Die Shoggoth Mini Painted

This shoggoth is one of the guys I worked on over NaNoWriMo. I have been playing the Call of Cthulhu tabletop RPG with my wife and friends, so working through the minis in CMON’s Cthulhu: Death May Die board game seems like a good use of my brainstorming time.

Cthulhu: Death May Die Shoggoth Mini Painted

The minis in Death May Die are easy to work with and very detailed. I find they take dry brushing well so they are perfect for absent minded painting while you’re focusing on something else.

Cthulhu: Death May Die Shoggoth Mini Painted

I couldn’t think of better writing partners to work with while writing horror. They’re going to be put to the test though. I have one more week in November and I want this new novel to be in it’s second draft before December. Beyond that, who knows, I’m really digging writing in this world and from what I can tell indie authors do their best when publishing series. Maybe I’ll just roll into the next book in the series? I have the entire Death May Die line, so I have plenty of friends to paint if I’m aiming to release a horror series next year… not that I’m going to. Though it does sound like a lot of fun…

Stay tuned.

NaNoWriMo Journal – Day 13: First Draft Complete, I Won My Challenge

Current Word Count: 50565

Hello All!

I did it! I both broke 50K and finished my first draft! Does that mean I’m done, hell no, I have lots of editing to do. I feel pretty pleased with myself nonetheless.

This means I’m done with my daily journals here, but I will continue to update my total on my NaNo profile and I’ll do a post at the end of the month with my end result and my final thoughts on NaNoWriMo. It also means that I can get back to posting my usual content. I have a ton of writing partners to share now that I’m not trying to hit 4K a day every day!

On that front, I have something new to work with. My wife bought me a 3D printer!

Elegoo Mars 2 Pro 3D Printer Review: Out Of This World Performance | Tom's  Hardware

She got it for me two weeks ago but I held off on even setting it up so I could focus on my writing. Now I feel like I can treat myself and get to work on the next generation of writing partners!

Stay tuned, we have lots of new stories and tiny plastic monsters to work on together!

I’m Back!

Hello Everyone,

I know it’s been a while. I had a family emergency and while it’s not fully resolved yet my stress levels are now back to a point were I can writing again.

NaNoWriMo is just around the corner and I’m nearly ready. Because I’m about a month behind where I hoped I would be I’m going with my journalist/monster of the week story rather than the more literary ghost story. I just have more of that one planned and because this is my first NaNoWriMo I want to put my best foot forward. I could probably put a little more work into my outline and I want to finish and share my NaNo page for the project, but I’m nearly ready to start writing.

You can expect a flurry or content over the next month. I’ll have NaNo updates, new writing partners, and a return to regularly posted podcasts. I’m looking forward to applying all the lessons I’ve learned over the last year to a new book and sharing my findings as I go. Fingers crossed it goes as smoothly as I hope!

Stay tuned.

Writing Partner: A Froggy Friend

D&D Banderhobb mini Painted Face

Ok, I can admit when I’m wrong. I was wrong about this guy.

D&D Banderhobb mini Painted

He’s great, isn’t he? Turns out the banderhobb miniature paints up well! I didn’t do anything with the base, though. I’ve got a long-term basing plan for all of my freshwater monsters, so he’ll be clipped off that one and put on something custom in time. But for now, I think he’s more than good enough to play with.

D&D Banderhobb mini Painted Back

I like to imagine that him floating at the surface of a pong or small lake. Just blending in, like lily pads in grimy water. Waiting until something gets close enough to gulp up.

D&D Banderhobb mini Painted Face

More importantly, he made for a great writing partner. I’ve finished both of my outlines. That means it’s time to start a new project.

My next book will be a horror novel built out of multiple short stories and novelettes about the same character. Most chapters will stand alone, but together they tell a complete story and showcase the character’s arc.

It’s a very different book than my last one, but I plan on taking it in bite-sized chunks. This means we’re going to need a lot of varied writing partners. And I already have the first one in mind.

Stay tuned!

Writing Partner: Working on a Character

After a couple of weeks off, I’m back to work. This time, on a pair of outlines. I have one for the book I want to write for NaNoWriMo and another for the one I’m working on in the meantime. Beyond basic plotting I also have to wrap my mind around a bunch of new characters. For a job like this, I’ll need the help of someone who is a real character themselves. And with that in mind… look at this abomination! 

Banderhobb miniature unpainted

I mean, why did I even buy this? In D&D it’s called a banderhobb, but I think of him as the gross little frogman I bought on a whim for 5 bucks. There had to be a reason. I think it’s that face: dumb, greasy, and bulbous. If I didn’t inexplicably love him, I’d hate him.

But somewhere in those wideset eyes is meaning. Why is he like this?  What niche does he fill in his environment? I know he’s a swamp predator, but why? What force of nature, or act of fate, molded him?

Similarly, I know the purpose I need my characters to fill in my narrative. But what got them there? What made them the people they are now and, more importantly, faced with what I’m about to put them through, what will they do next?

Stay tune. With the help of this grotesque frogman, I’m going to figure it out.

Writing Partner: Letting Go

I’m going to try and make this update as brief as possible. To linger would be sending a mixed message. I’m nearly done with my book. Still working on the title, but I digress. If I focus and keep at it, I will be sending it out to my first round of beta readers this weekend. This means, with any luck, I’ll be working on something new next week.

None of that is news, I said as much in my last update, but I found myself doing something strange this week. I picked up a different writing partner for the final leg of work.


He’s not great, as you can see. It’s a cygor from the Warhammer Age of Sigmar line and was meant to lead a small group of Tzeentch worshiping beastmen. The minotaur turned out well, but I’ve never been happy with the cygor.

Because of his size, he has lived prominently on a shelf in my office. His one eye staring me down. Judging me. And there he sat, staring a hole into me for over two years, until this week.

This week, in the final stretch, he caught my eye. My thought was I would fix him while I finished this book. Both have sat unfinished for years. Both could be projects worth refining. But, looking at the cygor I suddenly wondered if I could really finish my book this week. Then a thought crossed my mind, maybe my book could use one more edit too? Was I rushing this?

I started by giving it a brown wash to darken the skin tone and make it more natural. Then I sent a picture of it to a friend of mine to see what he thought should be the next step. He told me that he’s doesn’t usually pick old projects back up again. Instead, his suggestion was to paint something new.

Looking back, I think this has been a problem for me. I have, at multiple times, sunk years into projects I should have just let go of. Do I have a hard time letting projects go? Even with this book, have I held on to it for too long?

So I put the cygor in a drawer and closed it. Likewise, I need to finish this book and move on. No more rewrites, no more fiddling. It’s going to beta readers this weekend. Is that technical done, no, but it’s the first step to genuinely letting it go. I’m not going to grow unless I write new content, so it’s time to start.

Writing Partner: A Milestone

                It’s going to be a short blog today. I’ve just spent the last nine hours writing, so I’d like to look away from a screen soon. However, I’m thrilled with my progress and wanted to share.

                I just finished (hopefully) the last bit of net new content for my novel. So now all I have left is another line edit, and it’s ready for beta-readers!

                I know it’s been a long time coming, but it still feels good. If I keep to this pace, I might even finish this month! That would give me three months before NaNoWriMo. That might even be enough to finish up some of my other backburner work.

                The army cheering me on is progressing as well. Here is a sneak peek at where I am with the base colors.

Deer Miniature, Cherry Blossom Theme

                Is it pretty, eh? I need to finish this stage for the rest of them now before I start applying washes. Let’s hope it doesn’t dull that pretty pink.

                Stay tuned!