East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Three letters from the country


I am starting to suffer for the insomnia that in the last two weeks has wrecked my routine. It’s not just the fact of sleeping (badly) by day and staying up at night, but most of all it’s a matter of entangled schedules.
I have things to write, but my schedule is shattered.
And as it usually happens, when I have too much to writer and not enough time and energy to write it, I got an idea for a new story.
An idea that is good, solid, fun, and it has a potential market.

Fact: I never wrote an epistolary story.
That is, a story told through letters.
And now I have this idea, called tentatively Three Letters from the Country – because I don’t have the time to write it, and yet I already have a title. Don’t you hate it when it happens?
I hate it.

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

Three Letters from the Country is a ghost story, and it features my Edwardian occult detective, Valerie Trelawney.
It is told through her letters.
Valerie has been asked to look into a haunting – a classic old house in the countryside, where things have been going bump in the night for centuries.
So she goes to the place, settles in, and confronts the haunting.
She tells about her findings in three letters to the owner of the house.
And that’s it.

Incidentally, while Valerie has so far been the protagonist of two stories, I am starting to think she’d work just fine as a character in something more experimental than your straightforward third-person narrative.
Her future adventures could be told through letters (or Edison phonograph cylinders! – this would work great for a podcast!), diaries, or collections of clippings from newspapers.
It would make writing these stories a littler more exciting and fun – and hopefully reading them, too.

So what I am now planning to do is to write this story, one letter at a time, and post them to my Patrons – say, over the next weekend if all things work out as I hope, or the one after that should I be in a worse shape than I think.
Then I’ll revise them, rewrite them, possibly add a few extra “documents in the case”, and then seek a publisher.

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.

4 thoughts on “Three letters from the country

  1. Hang in there, Davide. I hope you get some quality sleep soon. Three Letters sounds like a fabulous idea!


    • My health is increasingly messed up by the impossibility of going out and taking a plain, old-fashioned walk. I’ll try and exercise a little, just to keep what’s left of my system working, but it’s depressing.
      But really, there’s a lot of people that has it a lot worse, so I can’t and should not complain.
      And I’ll write that story, if it’s the last thing that I do 🙂


      • Do you have a garden, or somewhere with a high ceiling? I have this fencing exercise I do called “A hundred cuts and a hundred squats” I have tons of swords to use, but it works with a stick as well. You could mix it up by using a longer stick for two-handed cuts, and a shorter stick for one-handed cuts. The way I do it, is I move about doing twenty cuts in differing directions. Then I do 2o squats. Then repeat, until you have done one hundred of each. I have a small garden I do it in, and vary between my swords as said. Longsword one day, then saber, then rapier etc, but that is unimportant. Can be done with a stick. Works for me. Never too late to get into fencing, or Bartitsu, or La Canne.


        • Thanks for the suggestion. I have a big-ish courtyard. And I do have a handbook of stick-fighting somewhere.
          But first I need to get back into shape. I get short-breathed too easily.


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