East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

No Sword and No Sorceress

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And so I didn’t make it.
I didn’t finish Children of Shadow in time for the Sword & Sorceress submission (12 hours left, not enough).
The fact that I spent the best part of a day walking up and down a golf course is certainly one of the reasons why I wasn’t able to nail the box of the new Aculeo & Amunet story shut.
By the time I was home yesterday night it was well past nine and I was completely spent.

There is a thing I was discussing with my friend Hell Greco1 two nights ago, that really has something to do with the unfinished Aculeo & Amunet story, that I thought may interest someone out there.
Or maybe not, in which case, skip this post.

What is very difficult when writing the Aculeo & Amunet stories is avoiding at all costs to slide into self-parody.
Aculeo and Amunet, the two main characters of my Sword & Sorcery stories have their own way of talking – there is this banter going on, that’s vaguely Chandleresque or maybe Brackettian, and underscores the characters’ personality and their relationship.
And this dialogue, this banter, filled with typical catchphrases and private barbs, has to sound natural.
And to keep it natural I have to revise it, rewrite it, read it aloud and see if it clicks.
Because writing an Aculeo & Amunet story is very easy – I love the characters, and their world is filled with opportunities for adventure and swashbuckling and magic and mayhem.
But writing fast a story about Aculeo & Amunet means I could go through the motions of their standard relationship, turning their dialogue into a travesty, a farce.
Because dialogue is the first thing that goes, in these situations. It’s easy for it to sound fake, trite, unnatural and stilted.
And if the dialogue collapses, everything else follows.

So I could have finished Children of the Shadow, but then I’d have no revising time left.

Now I’ll let the story rest while I work on more urgent stuff, and then try and find another market for it.
I’ll keep you posted.


  1. Yes, they really cal him like that. No, its not his real name. He is an editor, you know. 

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.

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