East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

What a way to relax: 5000 words in one afternoon

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I am currently working on a couple of big projects that are taking up a lot of time and energy, and I am doing all I can to keep my weekends free to recharge my batteries. One of the two jobs is causing me a lot of stress and anxiety – something that had never happened before, not this hard. So finding the time to relax is essential.

On the other hand, there is an open call I received at the end of last year that I really like, and I really would love to be part of the connected project. All I need is a 5000-words story, a swashbuckling romance with a twist.
And anyway I always said I find writing relaxing – especially if I am writing for my own, and not for my clients.

It’s not just the pay (that is very good) or the opportunity of appearing in an anthology with many writers I admire (and there’s a lot of them), but it’s also the opportunity of writing a genre – romance – which I am not at all at ease with.
It’s good to try something outside of our comfort zone, once in a while, and in this case, both the swashbuckling angle and the added twist make it easier for me to try it.

So this morning I laid down a general outline of my story. I visualized the characters, I placed them in a setting I am comfortable with, and then after lunch I started writing.

Or at least I tried to.
Because while the story development was nicely planned out, and I had a clear idea of what I wanted to say, and how, I could not find the right foot on which to start the story. I trashed seven first pages, until I decided I should just start my story three paragraphs in – and then work out a beginning once the story’s finished.
And this is what I did.

Right now it’s 5 pm, I am 3500-words in, and I am beginning to see the end of the road. Nice how, as soon as you find a way to sidestep the big stumbling block, everything starts to flow.
Then, of course, we’ll have to see if the project’s editor likes the story – but it’s good to see I can still do it, and nail a short story in one afternoon without too much fuss.

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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