Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Just let me write this blues away: 2000 words

I have just churned out 2000 words out of nowhere, in a single sitting. One hour. My hands hurt, I need a cool drink, but now here I have the first half of a short story that’s absolutely unwanted, and that will never find a home. It’s a free writing exercise, the sort of thing that happens when I say frell it all, let me just write!
It’s also sort of a prequel of my novella Parabellum Serenade, that I’ll (hopefully) will self-publish this autumn.

It’s a war story, set in an alternate timeline in which the Great War spun out of control as the Bolshevik Revolition spilled into the West, and the resulting mess of revolts and military coups intersected the great epidemic of Spanish Flu, and then things went down the drain.
Someone might label it Dieselpunk, or whatever.

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The guy you love to hate

Parabellum Serenade is at the halfway point, and there is a believable prototype of a cover, and the plot is thickening. What I like about this story – maybe I already mentioned this – is the way in which all the pieces are falling together in the right place without me having to do any major effort. I only have to type the story as it unfolds.

My modus operandi is as follows: I devote half an hour before falling asleep and about another half an hour after I wake up to stay under the covers and run through my head the scenes of the novel, like they were a movie. Usually the post-wake up session orders and cleans up, and adds detail to the pre-snooze ideas. Then I only have to sit down and write down the scenes I saw. Revising what I wrote yesterday, I do a first clean-up and some minor adjustments.
And the story grows.

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Structure on the go

Structure is essential in a story, especially if it is a long story. Even more so if it’s being written in a loose, impromptu way – the way I’m writing Parabellum Serenade. Once the story is finished, it will have to have a symmetry, like a crystal, a rhythm like a piece of music. The trick, because I am playing fast and loose, is finding a way to provide the story with hooks, with hard-points that will be used during revision to strengthen the structure of the narrative.

Parabellum Serenade (note to self – nice title, now you’ve got to get yourself a cover) is a story about a bunch of characters that served in the army and that, ten and odd years later, come together again for one last mission, to help a friend. They will find out they are about to take a larger bite than they can swallow. So, for starters, I am using a typical set-up for this sort of stories – the Five Man Band.

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