East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Oh, damn!

So I spent most of last night listening to some music (I’m currently on a Shiina Ringo/Tokyo Incidents bender) and fitting together the little pieces of a short story based on the guidelines I posted yesterday.
You know, the one about the wrong sort of leading lady.

It was not easy, it required a lot of staring at the screen and playing solitaire and what not.
But finally, I got all the bits and pieces in place, and the mechanism worked like, well, clockwork, while still leaving me enough margin to improvise and keep the narrative lively.


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Empty places in the dark

And I’ve another story in the can.
It’s called Empty Places in the Dark, and it’s a (maybe not so) supernatural horror story for a forthcoming anthology (contract signed, now it all depends on the editor).
Six-thousand odd words, nice and smooth.

fort ord abandoned barracks

The story – that underwent some massive rewrites in the last two days – is set in my hometown of Turin, and features a great female lead (if I do say so myself).
Also, the whole set-up is so intriguing (ditto), that I’d really love to explore it further with more stories, or maybe developing the short into a full-fledged novel.
Who knows.

Anyway, another story finished.
I’m getting good at this sort of stuff.
On with the next (but maybe not today).

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Flash! (fiction)

I’m struggling with flash fiction.
Well, ok, it’s not a titanic struggle, but still it’s giving me problems.
Now, there is not a proper definition of flash-fiction in terms of word-count: you’ll find a wild range of figures, from below 300 to up to 1000, and beyond.


But let’s say, for the sake of discussion, that I’m working on a 1000 words story.
It’s hard.
And what makes it hard is genre. Continue reading


Reading for writing

41I5CmtqNWL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_On the subject of writing handbooks, I think I already expressed my unorthodox views – as far as I’m concerned, if it works for you it’s fine.
Me, I collect the things – and my friends know, and often give me writing books for my birthday, or for Christmas.

One thing I think is a pity is, most writing handbooks are written with the absolute beginner in mind – they spend all of the time talking about Point of View, Show Don’t tell, Infodumps and Exposition, and then maybe they give us the short version of the Hero’s Journey.
Nothing really wrong with that but, ok, let’s say I got that part by the time I was 16 and by the time I was 20 I had learned – thanks to authors like Tom Robbins or Elmore Leonard or Lawrence Block or Karl Hiaasen – that all of that stuff was good and fine and writing was something else altogether.

So I do collect writing books, but I really really cherish advanced books.
And I was given one for my birthday – it’s called Narrative Design: working with imagination, craft and form, it was written by Madison Smartt Bell, and it is a book about reading. Continue reading

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shortstorymonthAnd so it looks like I did the right thing at the right time without knowing.
Sort of a serendipitous thing.

Fact is, I found out yesterday about the Write a Story a Day initiative – which is sort of the short-story equivalent of NaNoWriMo.

Now, of course, I blew it from the beginning – I wrote a short story in three days.
Ah, what sad a failure I am.

And yet…

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New Story Cover and #Giveaway

So, as you read this I’m writing the last 1000 words or so of my new story, a prequel of sorts to The Ministry of Thunder.
Then I’ll inflict it on my wonderful editrix1, and once she’s cut it with her steely knife, and I’ll have revised it, I’ll turn it into a .mobi and an .epub file – so everybody will be happy.

The short story will be given away for free to the friends that will join us on the 19th (or 20th, depending on your time zone), for the online Ministry of Thunder party on Facebook.

ministry party banner

We’ll be celebrating the new paperback version of The Ministry of Thunder, and the Chinese New Year.
And give away as many copies of the new story as possible.

Not sure yet?
Well, maybe you’d like to take a look at the cover of the new story. Continue reading


Planning for 2015

sextantI was reading this interesting post on Percival Constantine’s blog, the other day.

Now, I’m always thinking in serials, when I write.
Granted, I wrote a few one shots, but – probably due to my preferences in reading – I tend to prefer short fiction that goes in series.

Right now I’m working on my first English-language novel (I know, I know, I told you so already, ad nauseam), and I’m thinking of it in terms of the first episode in a serial.
I’ve two other stories featuring the same character – both currently in the form of a logline, but promising.
Then, of course, we’ll see what the publisher and the readers have to say about that.

As soon as I deliver the finished novel, I’ll start on my next project – once again, a serial. Continue reading