Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Original Ideas

I usually say originality is overestimated. I even write a series of articles in an Italian webzine that use that bit as a catchphrase. Being original is important, but you can’t copyright ideas – in the end what counts is not what ideas you rub together to spark a story, but how you use those sparks. What you do with the ideas, where you go with them, where you drag the reader and how. That’s what’s got to be original – the execution.

I just posted an article – in the Nuts & Bolts series – on my Patreon about ideas and themes – where to find them, how to use them. I’ll have to expand that piece, but it’s a start.
And what happens when you don’t have original ideas?
You use what’s at hand.
You steal, borrow, recycle.
It’s allowed – there’s a book in the best-seller list, quite good, called Steal Like an Artist. It’s quite good.

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Clod & Dagger

One of the things I’m working on is a sword & sorcery story for a forthcoming anthology of Italian low fantasy, known as “Zappa & Spada”1.
The idea is to do a humorous – if possible – collection of grim stories about the lower classes in a fantasy setting.

My idea is moderately humorous but not overly grim2, and evolves around the lady of a small feudal holding that, while her husband and all the “able men” are away to fight for the emperor, has to patch together an army of peasants, poachers and women to hold back a marauding band of raiders.

Not an overly original idea I will admit – George MacDonald Fraser used something similar in his The Candlemass Road, and a great little book it was3.
But I’ll try and make something different of it. Continue reading