Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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A Piece of the Action

In the end, the story I jotted down in first draft two nights back turned into a 3100-words short called A Piece of the Action, and it’s currently on its way towards the editor’s desk, hoping it will find a slot in the proposed anthology.

WriterAtWorkMy current process is more or less defined.

  1. I write the first draft in public, working in Google Docs online, in two or three hours, in the evening.
  2. I let the story rest for about 24 hours while I do something completely different.
  3. Still in Google Docs, I clean up the file, deleting my in-line live commentary and doing a first revision.
  4. Then I switch the Language Tools plugin and have a go at the text, catching typos, inconsistencies and wrong phrase construction.
  5. At this point, I copy and paste the text in a LibreOffice doc and I have a final revision, cutting what can be cut and adding what needs to be added.
  6. I format the text according to the guidelines, I save it in the requested format, and I send it along to the editor with a brief cover letter.

And that’s it.
Then the waiting begins, because there’s usually a few weeks lag between delivery and final verdict.
But that’s part of the game.
And now, on to the next story.
This thing is working like clockwork.
Tonight I might try and do another, depending on how my plans for dinner work out.


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Crippled dictation

My latest update of the Ubuntu System has somehow crippled some of the tools I was starting to use.
For some mysterious reason, I can’t access the settings panel of the system, in particular I can’t select the microphone I am using with my PC.
voice_typing2But the hardest hit is the sudden decision Google Docs took not to accept dictation through my system anymore.
This was an excellent tool for doing quick work – such as translating short texts and writing short pieces, and I was counting on the thing…
Instead, nothing.

This means spending long hours checking documentation and assorted blogs and websites instead of doing what I should be doing.
My, this is frustrating.

Enough, back to trying to find a solution.


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Of Seances and Egyptian Goddesses

And so we did it.
Oh, what a night! (yes, just like the old Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons hit.)

Part 1 – The Seance

Google Hangouts acted up a bit during my hangout session with my Italian supporters from Patreon. A lot of

“Can you hear me?”
“Are you there?”
“I can Hear you, can you hear me? Give me a sign if you can…”

Next time we’ll use a Ouija Board. And there will be certainly a next time, because it was a lot of fun and, for me, a mighty injection of good cheer and positive attitude.
Writing, we have said it before I think, is a lonely business, and we often wonder at what’s happening out there, with our readers. Well, Patreon and this hangout thing is certainly helping bring writers and readers together in a fun way.
We’ll do it again.

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Part 2 – The Boy’s Night Out

In the end that guy was right, and three thousand words were on the page after about two hours.
Ooops.
In the end, I ditched my plan for a 2-characters/3000-words story, and let Nennius Britannicus and the boys take the story where it needed to go.
End result: 6000 words in 5 hours, making lots of pauses. Good going.

This, despite a 2 AM call from a call center somewhere, with a guy trying to sell me a table & chairs set for my garden. Continue reading


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Erle Stanley Gardner’s Trick

The writer’s life would be ideal but for the writing. That was a problem I had to overcome. Then, I read in the Guinness Book of Records about Erle Stanley Gardner – the world’s fastest novelist – who can dictate up to the rate of ten thousand words a day. That was for me. None of that romantic stuff with a typewriter. I had better uses for those two particular fingers.

The quote above is from a 1972 movie called Pulp, featuring Michael Caine as a rather sleazy pulp novelist that gets involved in a complicated – and in the end pretty ludicrous – caper with mobsters, killer and what else.

pulp

The bit about Erle Stanley Gardner is true. Continue reading