East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Prudence interrupted

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And so I ended up writing an origin story.
It all started whit the plot for the wrong story I told you about.
I had a character and an idea, and a possible story, and last night I spent some time playing with the bits and pieces I had.
In the end I had to drop the work halfway – an urgent request arrived from a client, for a quick-and-dirty translation, and you know how that goes. Bills to pay and all that – paying jobs get the priority over on spec projects.

But in the meantime I had got some feedback from my Patrons, that had a look at my preliminary notes.
mooreheadSo my character started growing and acquiring depth and nuances, the story started deviating from the set path – as predicted and expected – and Joel in particular suggested an idea (thanks!) that turned into the final scene of the story… and I wrote that first.
My character, Prudence Agatha Brinsley, developed a family background, a past, some interesting quirks. She already had the looks of Agnes Moorehead (I always liked her a lot, so sue me). The other pieces fell in place and it was quite obvious she’s not a one-shot character.

Don’t you hate it when characters run away like that and take a life of their own?
No, me neither. I like that a lot.


And this is interesting, because I was not planning a series, and an origin story, but this is what I ended up developing – and when I stopped writing to tackle my translation, I had 1200 good words in the can, and a prospect of writing another 5000 for the debut of my new character.

I’ll have to fit a few elements of the world, and see in which direction the universe will develop – is this going to be a supernatural/occult series? What about the Verne-esque elements, what about the Belle Epoque vibe? Did I really mention Murnau in my notes? What was I thinking about?
I’ll need to do a little more research.


And then what about her?
What about Prudence, a spinster with a past and an attitude?
I have not the faintest idea1.
But already there are other adventures looming, and so I think I’ll have to sit down with Prudence and talk this out with her. Get to know a bit more about her.
I can hear her voice clearly in my head but I need to listen to what she will tell me with that voice.
It’s going to be fun.
I plan to have the story done by Monday.
I’ll keep you posted.


  1. but I have a list of won’ts and nots – Prudence is not Adele Blanc-Sec, she’s not Emma Peel (rather, she’s John Steed)… the series won’t go full steampunk, Prudence won’t have a sidekick or a Watson… stuff like that. 

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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