East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Doodling and Crimes


Today I spent a fair part of the afternoon doodling as I tried to get my next story going. I owe one of my Italian publishers a story by the end of the month. I know what I want to write, I have the characters and the general outline and direction the story will be going, I could easily have a first draft by the end of the week, just writing after diner.
But I still need an entry point.

Where does the story start?
As close as possible to action, of course, which means in the convent’s entrance hall.
But from whose point of view?
The former landed-gentry belle now making a living as a highway-woman?
Her lower-class, deceptively rough sidekick?
One of the nuns?
The old doorkeeper nun? The shrewish mother superior? A naive novice?
Somebody else altogether?

The idea of an entry point got me thinking about cat burglars and other high-end criminals – I think I discussed already the idea I subscribe to, that writing is like being a jewel thief, and every new story is a heist.

This is fitting, because the characters in the story I am writing are not what they look like – velvet and finery hide a criminal, rough manners and clogs hide a sharp mind, the nuns habits hide something quite different.
The heroes are on the wrong side of the law.

Thoughts about high-end crimes got me going in a totally different direction, and quite soon I was outlining the a Gastrell story – a story in a series I’ve yet to find a home for, and that has very little to do with the story I should be writing.
Apart from a strong woman as a main character, and crime.

But I still need to find an entry point, and the clock is ticking.
Maybe I should turn this thing on its head.
Start with a swordfight.
In a darkened corridor.
Between a posh lady and a nun.
Hit the reader hard, and then backtrack.

Ah… back to doodling.

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.

6 thoughts on “Doodling and Crimes

  1. I’d read a book that starts with a sword fight between a nun and a posh lady.


  2. The not fictional but very real Julie d’Aubigny, aka La Maupin, never had a sword duel with a nun so far as I know. She was, however, a dangerous person to meet with swords in a duel, fought quite a number, as well as unofficial street brawls, and being bisexual she once entered a convent in order to seduce a nun. Then she set fire to the place in order to escape with her new paramour.
    Just for lagniappe, she was an opera singer.


    • Never fought a duel with a nun but engaged in other activities with a novice 😉
      I’m a long-time fan of La Maupin… ever since I discovered about her in an old GURPS sourcebook.


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