East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Planning new stories


Now that my 42.000 words are almost in the can1, I’m thinking about what next?.
And today I chanced upon an online article that gave me an idea.
The piece, found on ListVerse through a shared link on Facebook, is called 10 Mysterious Discoveries That Still Puzzle Archaeologists, and it is worth a read. There is also a companion piece that I found equally suggestive, called 10 Stolen Pieces Of Art That Have Never Been Found.51J873XK3QL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_
No self-respecting fan of Indiana Jones could read such a list without getting ideas, right?
And I was reminded of a book I have here on my shelf, called The Seventy Great Mysteries of the Ancient World, by Brian Fagan.
That’s a database of great story ideas, right?
Granted, some of these mysteries are very technical and exciting only for someone in academia, but a lot of the stuff is good pulp-worthy food for adventure.

So, what about starting a series of stories about archaeological mysteries?
Nothing too sophisticated. Stories about treasure-hunters and Indiana Jones clones in exotic locations could work both in Italian and English, and would be fun to write.
I could use a modified version of the structure used for Better Never Told – writing in seven days with 1000-words increments, but starting at 2000 instead of 3000, I’d get first drafts of 35000 words – short novels or novellas, in other words. Or doing it in four days I’d get 20.000 words novelettes.
It could be fast going, fun, and interesting – and these would be ebooks that I could sell for a decent price onAmazon, and with a word-count making it attractive for me to enroll them in Kindle Unlimited2.

Italy51And I’d like to try and avoid ripping off Indiana Jones too blatantly.
If for no other reason, because Indy’s been ripped off enough in the ’80s.

At this point, to build a series, I should get myself a cast of recurring characters and a proper three act structure (or co-opt Lester Dent’s Master Plot), with all its bits and pieces in their place.
I should also define other important factors.
Contemporary or historical setting?
What amount – if any – of supernatural or superscientific elements?
skypiratesposterHow much margin should I leave my heroes (and recurring bad guys) for them to grow?
I would need, in other words, to write myself a series bible, and take it from there.

I would also have to keep an eye out for the competition – because it’s not like this is exactly the newest concept on the market. And I’d hate to do something as derivative and soporiphic as Relic Hunter3.
What could I do to make this original?

It’s not the sort of thing one jump-starts in two days – but I’ll start jotting down notes.
Right now I’m still juggling a few projects and trying to clear my desk, but in the next weeks and months, this could be a good new adventure.

Any ideas?
As usual, the comments are open.

  1. I’m planning to finish the thing tonight, and then let it rest for a few days before re-reading it and then handing it over to the beta readers while I work on a cover. 
  2. yes, I am thinking about making money – I’m currently going through a bout of classic freelance panic about the nightmare of getting to the summer without new gigs and no money in the bank. 
  3. yes, I did fall asleep watching it, and yes, I know there was Tia Carrere in it. Yes, I am that old. 

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

2 thoughts on “Planning new stories

  1. Well, if you need anything just let me know. đŸ™‚ For the proposed serial, please consider the idea of having a bit of science thrown in.


    • If – like I think – I’ll set this in the present day, hard sciences will be part of the package, because right now archaeology uses drones, portable radars and a load of hi tech gadgets.
      Which also gives me an idea…

      Liked by 1 person

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