East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Just let me write this blues away: 2000 words

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I have just churned out 2000 words out of nowhere, in a single sitting. One hour. My hands hurt, I need a cool drink, but now here I have the first half of a short story that’s absolutely unwanted, and that will never find a home. It’s a free writing exercise, the sort of thing that happens when I say frell it all, let me just write!
It’s also sort of a prequel of my novella Parabellum Serenade, that I’ll (hopefully) will self-publish this autumn.

It’s a war story, set in an alternate timeline in which the Great War spun out of control as the Bolshevik Revolition spilled into the West, and the resulting mess of revolts and military coups intersected the great epidemic of Spanish Flu, and then things went down the drain.
Someone might label it Dieselpunk, or whatever.

I’ve been checking the 20.000 words I have in the can right now for Parabellum Serenade – it’s a way to rebuild momentum and build the pressure I’ll need to go through the last 10.000 words – that feature a lot of explosions, and buildings collapsing and other stuff.
And while I was reading, and cutting 2100 words here, adding 150 words there, I re-acquainted myself with the characters, and started thinking where these people come from.
Because I have an origin story for the characters, but it’s all off-screen, so to speak.

I’ve had lots of fun writing dialogues between characters that have a lot of back story, a long backlog of shared experiences. I’ve enjoyed trying to write about people re-connecting after a long time.
But today I felt like exploring how it started.
So I blew up an ambulance, and got it going from there.

It’s also been a heavy day in a heavy week – hot and messy, with little but hostility coming from the web.
Writing is a good way to let off some steam, and writing without a purpose or a direction, chasing an idea, an image, is a good way – the mental equivalent of dropping everything and going for a walk (that I can’t do because we’re suffering from a baking-grade heath).

It’s also a good way to take my mind off what I have to write, the deadlines looming and all that.
Going back to writing just for the fun of it is essential in remaining alive as a writer. If deadlines, editor’s requests, open calls and clients’ checklists are all you’ve got, you can die inside – or that’s what I think.

So, new story, no title yet.
I guess my Patrons just got lucky.

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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