Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Plans and changes thereof

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The old song Nothing Ever Goes as Planned by Styx should become my theme tune.
As I think I mentioned elsewhere, I have been writing like mad and I still am – lots of deadlines, lots of bills to pay.
Ugly.
And last night I finally decided that it’s thumbs down for Counterspinner, my hard-SF novella aimed at Tor.com.
The story is solid, and I like the way it’s shaping up, but quite simply I will not make it in time for the narrow submission window available.
Whichis a damn pity, but it is important to recognize one’s own limits.
I will still write it, but not now.

And on the other hand, renouncing an opportunity like an unagented submission for Tor.com is simply crazy.
But…

A1N2w6fi7ELThe Tor.com call is for science fiction and fantasy.
And I have been toying these past few days with the outline of an Italian fantasy.
Meaning I’ve been taking notes about a fantasy story that’s somehow Italian for setting, style and attitude – a little like Zappa & Spada, the Acheron Books bestselling anthology, but adjusted for the tastes and sensibilities of an international public1.
So, why not?

The Italian title of the story is Scalzacani, an Italian word first used in the Renaissance and literally meaning “dog-kicker”, that is used to describe no-talent thespians. Button-busters or Star-quellers might work as English-language equivalents. Wikitionary also suggests Down-and-outs.
But I admit I am partial to the word Swan-slingers.

maschere-commedia-arteThe story will feature a late Renaissance setting, theater (with assorted references to the Commedia dell’Arte, and to totally-made-up comedies and dramas), swordplay, snark and assorted strange creatures. Ghosts, possibly, too.
Dario Fo’s essential An Actor’s Manual will be the main reference text.
I’ll invent or steal or improvise all the rest.

Fantasy, and sword & sorcery in particular, requires a lot less research and fact-checking that hard SF. I can recycle work done before as part of my courses in terms of setting and characters, and I could still have a shot at it.
It will be hard, given the competition – but the competition would have been harder, I think, with hard SF.

But I am still working on two other projects (three, considering also Asteria), and time is tight.
So I will use the Dean Wesley Smith method for fast novel writing, doing it like this:

Day one: 1000 words (today, done)
Day two: 2000 words
Day three: 3000 words
Day four: 4000 words
Day five: 5000 words
Day six: 6000 words

Total: 21.000 words.
In six days. It means finishing on the 12th of the month – the same day in which I’ll be giving a short memorial presentation for Harlan Ellison at a local cultural event.
That leaves me a little margin to re-read, revise, and finally submit, at the eleventh hour, on the 15th.
It will be fun.
I think.


  1. I will do a post on the subject, because it is interesting, I think. 
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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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