East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


So you’ve dreamed of being a mercenary…

I have just received a gift of books and chocolate from a far-away friend. It’s the sort of thing that’s good for morale, because yesterday was a bad day – sometimes these coincidences happen, and they never cease to surprise me. We live in a strange, but not necessarily hostile world.

One of the books in the box was a well-beloved classic I mentioned I wanted to re-read, another is a war story that looks quite exciting, and the third… oh, the third I am starting right away, and filing it under research.

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The case of the missing library

One year ago, in two evenings, I wrote the first 3000 words of a planned 4000 words of the Contunbernium, in Italian. I was not very convinced by the proposal I had received about publishing a story of mine, and the way in which the story was going left me cold, and in the end I dropped it.

I don’t throw away anything.
Writing is my job, no matter if I like it or not (it’s complicated), and I don’t throw away what I write. So The Cursed Hieroglyph languished in a lonely directory on my PC until I was asked for a story with specific characteristics. Bingo.

So I’m rewriting and finally finishing my story, and as I usually do, I am doing a bit of research on the fly to tighten up the background.
It’s one of those cases in which I wrote first, and checked the facts later.
And, well… damn!

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Learning my history

“By 1937 almost 75 per cent of European trade was on a barter basis.”

Not bad, as a snippet of historical info, when you’re planning a story with a smuggler as the main character.

Researching historical details as background and framework for stories can be great fun.
In this case, it’s also long overdue.

When I was in high school, history stopped with the First World War.
This, for two main reasons
. the post-WWI history of our country is still a politically sensitive area
. post-WWI history is part of the second half of the last year, and it normally gets sacrificed to make room for more hours in the subjects that will be covered in the final exam. Continue reading