East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

One last crazy thing before the year is over


I will devote the next six days to writing the last story of the year – or, the fist submission of 2020. I just got a call for an anthology that promises to be fun, and different, and pays professional rates. It couldn’t be better, really, as it ticks off so many great boxes….

The basic set-up is for a swashbuckling story, but with a very interesting twist.
I get the opportunity to write light fantasy, something that does not happen often these days – no gore, no obscenities or gratuitous ultraviolence, no sociopaths as heroes.
I might even try and do some humor – even if humor is hard, it’s the hardest thing to do.
I have a hefty 7000-words allowance.
Should the story be accepted, I’d have the opportunity of being published side by side with a few authors I respect a lot.
And I already have two fun characters I could write about.
And an half-baked setting I’d like to develop further, something with an art deco sort of vibe.

But why not make this a little more fun – and difficult?

So I’m thinking of writing this story as if it were a musical.
And no, I don’t think I’ll go and write actual songs, but I’d love to use the rhythm and structure of an old-fashioned Broadway musical – with an opening, themes that get reprised and a big closing number.
And dancing.

The 7000-words limit gives me room enough for three 2000-words acts, plus a 500-words prologue and a 500-words epilogue.
Divide it like that, and all of a sudden the hefty 7000-words allowance looks damn tight. But this is also part of the fun.

And let’s admit it – while musicals are, de facto, fantasy (because in the real world people don’t start singing and dancing like that) there’s precious little sword & sorcery musicals.
Unless I am sorely mistaken, I think John Jakes notorious Mention My Name in Atlantis was built like a musical, and I will admit shamelessly that watching the second season of Galavant did give me a few ideas.
But then, I grew up with Mel Brooks’ When Things Were Rotten, and what I plan to write would be in Princess Bride territory anyway, so why not?

So, this is the plan – develop 8/9000-words worth of material, and then cut them down to 7000 by editing and using dirty tricks.
And then wait for the new year, and mail the story off.

It’s going to be fun.

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.

5 thoughts on “One last crazy thing before the year is over

  1. I love the idea of a musical-structured story. It sounds challenging. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

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