East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


24-hours vacation

1426741881.71Not much to show today – I spent most of yesterday’s night finishing my editing/cleaning-up/setting-things-straight work on a new novel.
The hard part was trying to make my Linux-based LibreOffice digest and show properly a MSWord document (the one my editor sent me).

But apart a few crashes and recoveries, it all went for the best.
Now, I’m relaxing a bit – and I just gave myself a big gift for finishing this big job.
I read wonders about Chris Willrich’s Gaunt and Bone series, so I got me the first volume, The Scroll of Years.
I love the Chinese feel of the artwork.
Now time to dig into it.


PS: I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but it looks like it’s snowing on my blog.
Apparently WordPress decided to get festive.


It’s over (almost)

victoryAnd so it’s finished.
Clocking in at close to 68.000 words, my pulp/fantasy novel of high adventure set in Shanghai and parts east in the year 1936 is done.

Well, actually I’m doing the final revision – or the post-revision revision, if you will.

I did my writing in Scrivener, and it was a really pleasant experience.
But now I’m exporting it and I’m making a LibreOffice .odt file for my editors to be able to go through it at their leisure. Continue reading


Revision and final draft in Scrivener

Scrivener (software)

So the final draft of my novel is coming along, and I’m doing it in Scrivener.

Now, the first draft was written two years back using my usual Gedit + LibreOffice.
I hammered away at a chapter in Gedit, then I pasted it in LibreOffice, revising and cleaning it up.
Then on to the second.
In this way I wrote a workable first draft of a 40.000 words novel in 20 chapters, and I did it in ten days.
Nice and smooth.

Now, for the revision.
I have here the editor’s notes – I know what my editor and my publisher want from me.
We discussed the details, we worked out what worked and what not.
Time to do the final.
And I’ve to do in in English (the first draft was in Italian). Continue reading


Spreadsheets and action

I already discussed action sequences and combat and whatnot in a previous post. but we got talking, with my friend Claire, and I described how I use a spreadsheet to plan my scenes.
So why not share it, too?

Now, to me choreographing an action scene in a story is a fine balance of three processes

  • I have to imagine the sequence, run it in my mind like a movie
  • I must know exactly who does what and when, in what order etc.
  • I must find the right words to show it all on the page

Continue reading


Adopting Scrivener

Scrivener (software)

Now, it was Douglas Adams, I think, that used to say that trying new software was an excellent procrastination tool to avoid the actual act of writing.
I must agree.
And so, being finally able to run Scrivener on my Ubuntu-based old pc, I jumped at the opportunity of burning a weekend toying with the new writing tool.

For the uninitiated, Scrivener is a word processing software and a writing environment aimed at creative writers – it comes with presets for authors of fiction and non fiction, for screenwriters etc.
It’s highly popular and comes with rave reviews, and there’s a Linux version – which is fine, because sometimes the “sorry, Win/Mac users only” thing is frustrating.

Continue reading


Ebook file formats

Ok, let’s do a request.

Friend allsho wrote

Maybe in one of your next posts you might tell us why you keep your options open about mobi and epub and how you choose from time to time between them.

Nice question.

I’ll begin by saying that, as a writer, my purpose is reaching the widest audience possible among those parties that might be interested in what I write.
The last bit is – to me – essential, as I do not believe in bombing the whole world with my ebooks, as I know the whole world is not interested in what I do.
I prefer to focus my energies and meagre resources on “my readers”, while keeping my options open.

So far, it seems to work.
My ebooks have a good enough ciurculation – being in Italian and all that, I can claim a few thousand copies for a total of eight titles, four non fiction and four fiction.
Circulation depends on publicity, platform and – especially for small acts like mine – file format.

So, let’s talk formats. Continue reading