East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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More imperial plots

One week ago I posted about Devin Matson’s In Shadows We Fall, a fantasy novella that acts as a prequel to the author’s other works. And I said it’s very good.
How good, you ask?
Good enough for me to go and buy Madson’s We Ride the Storm.

Well, actually I had been keeping an eye on this book because of the cover, filled with horses and sabres, that reminded me of certain old works by Harold Lamb. The novella (that, incidentally, you can read for free if you subscribe to Madson’s seasonal mailing list on her blog) was for me a way to try the waters, so to speak, before diving in.
But now I’m quite happy to jump in.

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Pulled towards the center

There are two ideas, or themes, that I have been juggling for a long while, now, and I’d like to use for something big to develop over the course of the 12 months, starting this summer.
I’ve been working on so much work-for-hire recently that I feel the need to flex my finger-muscles and do something completely mine.

Neither of the two themes is particularly new or original.
But the point is not how new your ideas are, it’s how new is the way you use them.

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There are three stories I want to write this month, to submit to two different anthologies and a magazine. Checking the calendar, I see I will have to write one story per week, seven days from first draft to submitted text. It’s OK, I can do it – we are talking stories in the 3000-5000 words range. Two fantasies and a mystery – which is good, because it means there will be a modicum of variety.

One of the three stories should be, according to the publisher’s guidelines, “epic fantasy” – and I have heard some ask, how can you fit an epic fantasy in roughly 4000 words?

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