Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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The Watcher in the West

I have just delivered to my Patrons in the Five Bucks Brigade a 4000-words story called The Watcher in the West, the sixth story in the Tales from the Frontier series – stories that are exclusive to my Patreon page, set in a fantasy borderland between not-exactly-Mughal-India and Tang-China-but-not-really.

This story is special, because it is a reworking of a story I wrote for an open call at the start of the year, and was in the end rejected – despite being praised by the editors.

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Let somebody else do the thinking

About twenty years ago (my goodness, is it really been this long?) while my mother was resting after a major surgery event, she used to spend her afternoons watching German-produced TV movies based on the novels by Rosamunde Pilcher. She said she found the locations beautiful, and the stories were engaging, “even if in the end they are all the same story.”

I sat with her on a few of these afternoons, and at a certain point, I picked up a notebook and started sketching a diagram – I had seen three movies, and they all shared the same structure, that I could sketch quite easily. I made a point of catching a few others and yes, there was a formula, not only in the sequence of events, but in the characters and their relations. Just as in the Commedia dell’Arte or in any good pantomime, the cast was the same, the roles were the same, the interactions were the same.

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