East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Mutant steampunk rats and a large pizza


I decided to follow my brother’s suggestion.
It’s usually a bad sign when my brother comes up with some suggestion about my mood or my everyday going – because it means that whatever is going bad is showing.
But he had a suggestion, and I followed it.

I’ve been having a hard time writing of late – mostly because after six months of continual writing, revising, re-writing and re-revising for my Client from Hell, and after six months of being spared no disparaging comment about my work, my brain is completely clogged.
I have ideas, I have open calls with deadlines ticking like time-bombs, but I find it extremely hard to write – and so, instead of hammering out 1000 words per hour like I used to do, now I have a hard time putting together 500 words in one afternoon.
This is not good.

So my brother came to the rescue.
Forget the ghostwriting job, he said, forget the open calls, and the bills, and all the rest. Sit down and write a story because you have fun writing, and because you know you are good at it.

And so I did it.
I dug out an old idea I had outlined in October, and I forgot all the rest, and wrote a 5000-words story called Monkey and the Cat, that is a story about a girl and a cat trapped in a clock tower, faced with a horde of mutant clockwork rats.
And it was fun, and it helped me find some relief – and prove I can still crack out 5000 words in one day and have a viable story.
Now it needs a few hours of quiet, and then a nice revision.
I don’t have a market to sell it, but who cares?

Also, I have also sold a story for 10 bucks.
Someone has pointed out to me that 10 bucks for a 2000-words story is damn cheap, but it’s fine with me – it’s basically the price of a large takeaway pizza, and that’s what I’m going to have tomorrow night.
Because it can be cheap, but there is nothing as good for the soul than dine on a pizza that you have paid for with your writing, with your ideas and the modicum of courage needed to submit your story.
No favors, no pushes, no friends-of-friends.
Just a good story, and a good pizza.
Hopefully it’s going to be a good weekend.

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.

2 thoughts on “Mutant steampunk rats and a large pizza

  1. I think I need to do the same thing. Take a break from my WIP, from other projects, and just write for fun.


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