Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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An expensive hobby for rich chumps

Joe Lansdale, a writer I enjoy very much and one of the men that are working harder and with most success to keep high the banner of popular fiction (popular in the sense that people like it, not in the sense that it is cheap), posted the following on the first of September…

wvCpHwOA_400x400Write from the heart.
Avoid self-publishing until there is no other choice, is my suggestion. And if you think I’m telling you that you have to do as I suggest, I’m not. But like it or not, mainstream publishers generally sells more books. I’ve done a bit of it all, mainstream, small press, and even a bit of self-publishing of established books. I would love to see the rise of more small publishers that pay and do quality work, like SUBTERRANEAN for one example. But the thing is, anyone can self-publish, and there’s no vetting.
If you must, do it, but it’s always nice to have someone else validate its worth. Start with paying markets. I truly believe a large number of people who self-publish have never tried the traditional route and don’t want to deal with possible rejection. Rejection makes you stronger, or it did me. I became more determined. The mainstream publishers don’t necessarily know more than others, but they pay, and they pay because they believe the work is valid. Can it be valid and self-published? You bet. But I’ve gotten a lot more exposure to my work, which is certainly not typically mainstream, with mainstream publishers than with anyone else.

Today, an Italian translation of this text has been doing the rounds of Italian writing groups and Italian writers’ walls on Facebook.
See, you suckers? Joe Lansdale sez you shan’t self-publish! Continue reading


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My Muse (5-minute writing improvisation)

So here we go again.
The Muse.
That aethereal spirit that comes to you and whispers in your ear what to write, as you bleed on the paper, fighting your demons, possibly in an all-nite bar, with jazz music in the background.
You need a muse to be a writer, they tell you.
No muse, you’re just a hack. Continue reading


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Going with the Flow

battery_16-512As it usually happens, once I get to the bottom of a story, and I have it packed and delivered – to a publisher, or to Amazon or Gumroad – I basically collapse like an old wreck.

 

It’s not anything extraordinary – it happens to a lot of writers, and I think it can be applied to any creative job, or any job at all, in which you have to keep your brain on constantly.
I actually read and studied what happens during the writing process, and it is a fascinating topic.
Let me tell you about it. Continue reading


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Two writing issues

Yeah, I know, I know… I’ve been told years ago that writers write, they don’t talk about writing.
But you see, I spent some time yesterday discussing with a young author1 about two issues I never considered issues in the first place, when it comes to writing:

  1. Basing the main character on ourselves
  2. Taking responsibility for what we write

I was rather surprised by the responses of my counterpart, and in the end I think he was rather annoyed by my position, so I thought I may as well annoy you guys. Continue reading


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English Eerie – a solo rural horror game

What_fearful_shapesI write a lot about games, these days.
English Eerie is a single player roleplaying game written by Scott Malthouse.
Described as a Rural Horror Storytelling Game for One Player, that’s what it does, and it does it quite nicely – using narrative cues to help the player tell a ghostly story in the form of a diary or journal.

Inspired by the works of M.R. James, Algernon Blackwood and Arthur Machen, English Eerie is a writing game – the player is required to build a story, and write it down, based on a set of details presented in a “scenario”, plus random factors represented by playing cards and a die. Continue reading


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The end is nigh

I just passed the 10.000 words mark, and the halfway point in my planned outline.
The end of the story I am writing is finally in sight.
As it usually happens, now that all the pieces are on the chessboard and things should begin to finish, I need a moment to carefully plan the next moves.
What will happen, in what sequence, where.
I need to up the action.
All three major characters will have their big action scenes (one each, carefully mapped and choreographed, and one involving the whole team), the evil plot will be revealed, justice will triumph and the main bad guy will have his just desserts.
Which means roughly 8000 words…  Continue reading


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Doing research on the fly

No, I don’t mean the study of entomology.

I said I’d keep you posted, so here I am.
I love what I am writing – it’s an espionage thriller, so I’m not completely out of my depths.

I’m currently taking a pause after two hours and some.
I have 2000 words – prologue, first chapter introducing two of the three main characters, and a bit of the second chapter.
Much of the “bit of the second chapter” will have to go – because I’ve just seen a way to write it more dynamically.
But it’s all right, and I am about to award myself a small ice cream.

Mars-Ice-Cream-140-calories-76g-fat-124g-sugar

I could have written more, but I had to do research on the fly.
And so I thought I’d do a short post on the way I handled it.
Maybe someone’s interested. Continue reading