Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Faces

0966b1ee5915ce28f719351792d175f1OK, time for a little personal pet peeve.
I know, you don’t come here to hear me peeving pets or other, but bear with me for a moment.

It all started with yesterday’s writing prompt.
Did you get that?
The photo is here again on the right.
Beautiful photograph by the way.

So, what happened…
The moment I decided i wanted to do some character exercise using photos1, I took the obvious choice.
I went to Pinterest and wrote Portrait in the search window. Continue reading


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Silk Road Food

Something fast, silly but possibly of interest.
After all, the Silk Road is one of the themes of this blog, and food is one of the most accessible, and often surprising, facets of culture.
So, here goes – a small collection of Silk Road inspired foods, on Pinterest.
Some authentic, some shamelessly counterfeit.
Enjoy!


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A new gaming project

I started working on a new roleplaying project – at the moment it is still very hush-hush, but it’s certainly the largest, most complicated RPG project I ever had to face: I’m designing a whole world, and I have to write about it in a way that will make it accessible to players.
The estimated word count comes close to 80.000/100.000 words.
That’s huge.

worldbuilding-wordle4

Writing for gaming is very different from writing fiction, it requires a much more delicate balance between invention and organization.
They don’t call it “game design” for nothing. Continue reading


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Getting (reasonably) organized

Lady-Juggler-2Ok – getting organized.

Right now I’m writing the final 5000 words of my novel (that will probably grow to 7500, but that’s another story) and I’m

. outlining the sequel
. planning a number of proposal for another novel
. getting my full-year writing project underway
. setting up the early stages of a roleplaying game project that will probably also involve fiction-writing
. trying to schedule future outings – short stories, novelettes etc., and the marketing and distribution of the same.

So, two problems, one psychological, one practical. Continue reading


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Wu Xing for writers – part two

Wu_XingOK, I said I’ll give an example of the way in which I’m trying to use Taoist elemental theory in outlining my characters.

My story features a female character – she’s the female half of the protagonist team.
As you probably know, I like writing about couples of characters – I’m pretty convinced a man and a woman together can work better, as protagonists of an action story, than a man or a woman alone.
Probably comes from growing up watching The Avengers (as in Steed & Peel).

Let’s see what happens when, doing my final draft, I plug-in the Taoist Elements – which, I’d like to remind you, are a logical thing to add considering story, setting etc. Continue reading


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The return of Pinterest for Writers

I already did a post on Pinterest, and how it can be useful to writers.
Heck, I did two posts about Pinterest!
Well, there’s more.

avventurieriMy Italian-language non fiction ebook, Avventurieri sul Crocevia del Mondo, my pulp-history overview of adventurers in Central Asia between the wars, is doing fine on Amazon – good sales, excellent reviews, nice Top 100 position.
But.

But I get lots of requests for graphical contents – maps, photographs of the characters whose stories I’m telling.
It figures.

Now, putting graphical contents in a Kindle book is not that easy – and maybe not even worth the time and the effort, considering that older, cheaper readers (like the one I use) are not that good at displaying images.
Can you really appreciate a map of Central Asia on a 6″ b/w screen?
Old grainy pictures?
Very large, garish paintings?
Also, a graphically-intensive ebook can be huge – and Amazon charges you some extra cents for big files.
And finally, there’s the lengthy (and expensive!) matter of the rights to the images.

And yet, it’s the sort of content that would make my ebook more appealing to the paying public.

So, I did a Pinboard on Pinterest – pinning the maps, and the photos of the historical characters.
As hi-quality as possible, with Italian captions, in the proper order – so that as you read my ebook, you can browse the pinboard and meet the characters.

Not only this free extra web-content allows my readers to finally get a good look at those faces, at their leisure, on the bright, colored display of their device of choice.
It could also work for the undecided – now they can look at the pictures, and decide whether they’d like to purchase the book or not.
And it can be updated.

With the next update of my text, I’ll place a link and a short note at the very beginning of my ebook – and at that point, it should all be nice and fine.

I’ll certainly adopt the same strategy for my next non-fiction book – which, after all, is about Dinosaurs!
You’ve got to have pictures in a dino book!