Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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The countryside is dreary (and not in a good way)

Like Supertramp used to sing, It’s raining again, and the whole territory is under red alert for floods and landslides.
Yesterday night the take away pizza girl wrote down the wrong address – as a result, the pizza delivery guy drove under the pouring rain up to the door of our next door neighbour, and the moment he stood on their doorstep, the pizza boxed in his hand, the lady there started screaming, because who is this strange man bringing pizzas to her place in the middle of the night (as to say, a quarter past eight in the evening)?
My brother had to run there and intercept the lost delivery boy, and secure our dinner.

And I don’t know if this is a good starting point for the next Horror of the Belbo Valley, or if it’s just one of those funny things I should make cartoons about (if only I knew how to sketch) in order to attract people to my Patreon, as a social marketing guru told me about one year ago.
The only thing I know is it’s raining, the Belbo Valley is slowly slumping into the river, and we had to re-heat our pizzas in the microwave last night.

The dreariness of the countryside under the beating rain is not helping with my black moods and my general feeling of fatigue, the sort of things a warmed-over slice of pizza can only aggravate. And probably the two courses about forensic archaeology – that is, digging out the bones of the dead to find out what killed them – I am taking, while incredibly interesting, are not exactly contributing to cheer me up.

But who knows, things might get better.
They usually do.


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Anger

Conveying emotions in writing is particularly tricky but also an essential skill if you want to write. The basic rule of thumb should be that you do not declare the emotion of an action or a line of dialogue, because doing it explicitly is not elegant, and the clear mark of the amateur.

“Two sugars and no milk,” she said angrily.

… in other words, is not the best we can do as we write a scene in which an afternoon tea turns into a duel with cake knives.
We need to find a way around it.
This is not, of course, an unbreakable commandment – but as usual when writing, we need to keep an eye out and try to suggest tone and mood tot he readers without telling them.
This is the notorious show-don’t-tell rule, that’s generally abused by first-timers.

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Working for amateurs

One of the most unnerving things…
Oh, hello! You’re here!
This is one of those posts about the incredibly funny and surreal experiences of one that’s trying to make a living writing – a marketing guru guaranteed I’d get tons of likes and followers by telling you these stories… so!

One of the most unnerving things of working as a freelance is the clients that do not pay you in time, but then point out it’s extremely unprofessional on your part talking about it and pointing your finger at them.
What a horrid lack of class, mentioning money like that!

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Writer

Yesterday it was Friday the 13th and there was a full moon, so I met a friend who’s a fine horror writer and we went for a bite and a long night talking.
Of course we would have done it even had it been Monday the 19th and a quarter moon, but the whole day/moon thing was a nice touch.
We were assigned table 13 in the diner where we stopped, and that did not escape our notice.

As it usually happens in these situations, we ended up talking shop, and the discussion turned to our professional designation. Writer, that is.

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Portrait of the artist with a young cat

My brand consultant tells me it would be a neat move to enhance my impact to have a FinkoPop mini of myself on sale at fairs and conventions, and also via Amazon and this blog.
After all, he said, if David Lo Peng from Big Trouble in Little China has a FunkoPop doll, why not me?

And it turns out that one can actually preview how such a thing would look like.
In this case, like this.

Incidentally, this is the last silly post of the vacation period.
We’ll resume posting about stuff that really matters, such as the top kn/hrs speed of the average camel, tomorrow.


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Some late night thoughts about invisibility

This post might be (and probably will be) rambling and jump all over the place. Please bear with me – it’s very late at night.
I’ve been thinking about invisibility a lot, in the last few months. Now this is a good thing, one might say, for a fantasy writer: invisibility is a classic gimmick, and one that can be used to tell an exciting story while at the same time touching on a number of different themes, and thus talk about reality and truth. A good subject, invisibility, easily recognized and versatile.

Indeed it can be argued that my story The Smell of Empty Places (that was published in Italian in Acheron Books’ Dark Italy, and might one of these days be published in English, too) is a story about invisibility – the main character suffers (or enjoys? Ah!) a sui generis form of social invisibility, and making herself invisible is what she needs to do in order to escape the monsters she was able to find exactly because of her peculiar situation.

But it’s not invisibility as a story engine that’s been rolling through my mind in these last few months, but rather invisibility as a writer’s trait – as a very desirable choice for a writer.

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Cherish the small pleasures

… because sometimes the big pleasures are out of your league.

And having spent a whole day writing, today’s small pleasure will be to take a walk under the stars and enjoy and ice-cool lemonade (that’s called “gazzosa” hereabout – like the French “gazeuse”).

There’s a company that does special edition bottles with nose-art style ’40s pinups.

Sometimes that’s enough to feel better.