A road sign saying Valhalla


IT’S INSTAWRIMO time again, and today’s prompt is something old something new. Which, I suppose, could relate to marriage, or at least the wedding ceremony, but that’s not really my thing. Instead, it made me think of the writing process.

I’d say that pretty much any kind of storytelling is an interesting journey between something old and something new. Perhaps just in the way we relate to old memories or have to consult other sources. Or perhaps in the way the story itself walks a tightrope between the two. 

In the Ulfrheim saga, I am using Old Norse and the futhark runes (older and younger). I’m also consulting the old sagas and folklore, and some renowned researchers, to get my “facts” as close to, or consistent with, tradition as possible. Where it suits me. Some freedom of interpretation is necessary in any work of fiction.


Colorado Cowboy, Jackson Crawford, Ph.D. shares his expertise in Norse language and myth on YouTube. He also has a website worth visiting. See links below.

Growing up in the north of Sweden, the Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore was ever present. It wasn’t until I moved to Gothenburg some 20 years ago, and then on to London five years later, that I fully understood just how present that heritage had been. 

At first, I noticed it in things like frame of reference. Things we take for granted, like troll cookpots, myths and legends for example, were something people around me didn’t know about. And what the thought they knew was frequently wrong.

Then we have a certain group of people, whose names and labels shall not be named here, who believe our heritage is one of white supremacy and world domination. It is not.

The cover of Fenrir's Cubbies advertising the release of chapter 4: Breaking Barriers.

Fenrir’s Cubbies Chapter 4: Breaking Barriers (#wip) is now avaiable on wattpad.com/linnealucifer ange here on the blog.

With this in mind, it’s rather daunting to write a fantasy series set in a semi-alternate universe where the old myths and legends hold true. After a fashion. I know I’m setting myself up to be criticised from all angles when the gatekeepers get wind of things I have written.

Here’s the long and short of it though. It is extremely important to me to handle my heritage with care. I want to say true to the old sources as far as possible. But they are often conflicting, and even the scholars don’t always agree on, or even have the answers to, every single “fact.”

I like to discuss them, though, and will keep writing about the choices I make and how I have decided to treat various sources. Who knows, maybe one day I can afford to pay for a consultation with Dr Crawford. Until that day, I’m grateful for the massive catalogue of content he is putting out there for free.

And, to keep with the theme of something old something new, here’s a little nugget of Old Norse knowledge I can share with you today. The word old in Old Norse is gamall. In runes, that looks like this: ᚷᚨᛗᚨᛚᛚ. Although, I’m not 100% sure about the double laguz-rune (ᛚ) as it seems to me runes rarely used double consonants the way we do. 

Fun fact, to show you just how close Scandinavia still is to her Norse ancestry. Gamall is:

      • still gamall in Icelandic,

      • gammal in Swedish, Norwegian Bokmål and Norwegian Nynorsk, and

      • gammel in Danish.

For reasons I can’t disclose (because spoilers) I am choosing to write some words in the stories in Old Norse. Some even in runes! But I’ll tell you more about that later.

How about you?

What do you think about when you hear the phrase “something old something new?”

Let’s talk in the comments below or send me a message via socials. Also, remember to post the links if you use any of my prompts in your own posts. I’d love to come over and see them.

Thank you for your visit!

Puss och kram,

//Evalena 😘

© Evalena Styf, 2021

Writing prompt from #NaNoWriMo Preptober InstaWrimo Challenge: 20 October, 2021. “Something Old, Something New”

The #InstaWrimo is a photo challenge for Instagram, but it works just as well as a daily writing prompt.


Jackson Crawford holds a PhD in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an MA in Linguistics from the University of Georgia.

As of 2020, he’s a I am a full-time public educator, remaining at the University of Colorado as a Resident Scholar. For eight years, he was full-time faculty in Scandinavian Studies, teaching courses in Norse language, myth, and sagas, at UCLA (2011-14), UC Berkeley (2015-17), and the University of Colorado (2017-20). 

In recent years, he has been an Old Norse language and runes consultant on such major multimedia projects as Ubisoft Montréal’s Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and Disney’s Frozen.

Watch Jackson Crawford on YouTube.

Visit jacksoncrawford.com.


Here are the daily writing prompts for NaNoWriMo’s preptober challenge. It’s never too late to start, so let’s get into it. Together.

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