Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Researching far and wide

Something I often discuss on these pages is the joy (and pain) of doing research when writing.
Being a naturally curious individual, I actually enjoy doing research, and quite often I see writing as an opportunity to explore some issues that interest me.

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Also, the amount of research is connected with the volume of work I am planning.
For a quick short story, say, set on Titan, the moon of Saturn, a selection of articles on the topic, plus the usual resources found online are normally more than enough.
Something particularly interesting and useful for the story might emerge, and then I’ll go in deeper on that single detail, usually while revising the first draft.
But in general, let’s say that, as a rule of thumb, a 6000-words story should be based on no more than one weekend of reading and note-taking. “For Dummies” books are a great resource when writing short fiction1. Continue reading


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Six Objects from the Turin Egyptian Museum

As I mentioned a while back, I was part of a MOOC hosted by the Manchester University, about Ancient Egypt as perceived through six objects in the collections of the Manchester Museum.

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As part of the course, I had to submit a short paper covering my choice of six objects, chosen to explore a certain facet of the Ancient Egyptian history or culture.

I chose six papyruses from the collections of the Turin Egyptian Museum – or Museo Egizio di Torino, in Italian – that show a different face of Ancient Egypt… and feature magic, murder, mayhem and naked women.

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Now that the course is over and my paper has been evaluated, I thought someone out there might be interested …

so here it goes

It’s a very simple, lightweight pdf document, eleven pages of loose text with some extra links for images1. You can read it online, or download it – it is distributed under a standard Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike license.

I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Comments are very welcome.
Cheers!


  1. but who knows – one of these nights I might try and expand it a little and do a DeLuxe version… 


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How I became a test subject

braininjarAnd so I became a guinea pig.
Unsurprising, some of you might say.
Ok, ok.
It went like this…

I already mentioned, ad nauseam, that I love MOOCs and online learning – to me, taking part in a MOOC is a great way to do research at university level, to tickle my curiosity1, and to spend my free time here in the desert hills of Astigianistan.
This autumn, I’ve enrolled in a MOOC, hosted by FutureLearn, about mindfulness. Continue reading


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5 Tools Everyone Writing Adventure Stories Should Be Using

toolboxIt was suggested to me I do a list of five about adventure writing and about the sort of tools that can be a real life (or time1) saver when you are writing adventure tales.

Yes, of course, Wikipedia and Google Translate, these are quite useful. And Google maps.
And a good reference library does help, too.
But is there something more, or something more suited to writing, and adventure writing in particular?
These are of course my fave tools, and I am sure many out there are using other software/websites/services.
If you’d like to add to the list of suggestions, please do so in the comments sections.
It’s always nice discovering something we don’t know, and that might get handy.

As for me, here goes my list of five. Continue reading


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A new MOOC and journaling

what_is_moocToday I took the first lesson in a new MOOC I’ve joined – the Futurelearn Start Writing Fiction MOOC presented by the Open University.

I like the idea of learning more about what’s fast becoming my everyday job – and joining an online course is both entertaining and a good way to put some order in the jumble of skills I’ve taught myself through the years. Continue reading