Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Rubbing ideas together to get a spark

And the question is, can I write a science fiction story, in Italian, in 48 hours, considering my publisher asked for it?
It’s always a good idea to keep our publishers happy.
And from a strictly mechanical point of view, yes I can – 6000 words in two days, first draft, in Italian, is not a special feat.
The problem is, with science fiction one has to be careful.
SF needs idea, and needs precision, and research.

The obvious way out: work on some stuff I have already researched.

  • Mars, but I did that to death.
  • Titan and Mimas (the moons of Daturn)
  • Sterling engines.
  • Artificial tornadoes used as energy source.

Yes, I do research some weird stuff, in my spare time.

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Mimas crossing Saturn

This is a good opportunity to finally write that story I mentioned I wanted to write.
Now I need a main character, a voice, and a story.
And then fire Scrivener up and pour my brains on the page.

It’s gonna be a wild two-days.


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Marathon or 100 meters?

The whole point, of course, is not to suck.
No, OK, let’s me get this from the start.
I was discussing with a friend, 36 hours back, whether what I am doing with my 42000 words in 7 days challenge is like running a marathon or running the 100 meters.
In other words, is it a matter of endurance or is it a matter of speed?
From what I saw so far, it is both and none of them at the same time.
Last night, I’ve been able to write 2800 words in two hours – my standard “cruising speed” when writing being roughly 1000 words per hour, this means 40% more than my usual.
On the other hand, what’s allowing me to go on is not speed, is the need to reach the current target.
It’s a matter of staying focused, and keep writing. Continue reading


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Writing a little/Writing a lot

Yesterday I overheard an interesting discussion, and that’s what I’d like to tell you about, but first, a heads-up.

Writing_a_Novel_Cover_FinalI mentioned in the past the StoryBundle as one of the tools that I am using to keep reading in these times of money shortage and other disasters.
They have an offer up called The Write Stuff Bundle 2017 which is highly recommended – you get books about writing by the likes of Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Lawrence Block and Dean Wesley Smith, among others. You also get an 80% discount on Writer’s CafĂ©, an excellent writing software. You don’t pay much, and a share of your money goes to a charity.
Nice and smooth1.

Now I mention this because the bundle includes Dean Wesley Smith’s Writing a Novel in Seven Days, that is quite fun to read, and proposes a very interesting challenge.

Which brings me to the discussion I overheard yesterday, the gist of which was

It is better to write just a few stories rather than write a lot, what really matters is that the little you write you sell to a big publisher and then you land a big prize

And this is a theory I do not subscribe to. Continue reading


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Unspeakably Indifferent

teadtpt1000028844_-00_englishteastore-brand-2-cup-teapot-blue-gloss-finishThirty-six hours, more or less, to the end of 2016, and as the accumulated fatigue of a very hard year is on the brink of crashing on my back and squash me, I’m busy doing something Man was not meant to do, to wit, writing a humorous story with a Lovecraftian theme, and a 36 hours deadline, with the sole support of abundant hot tea and a tin box of butter cookies.
What can I say – I like humor, I like Lovecraftian stories, and the money is good.
The money would be good, actually, because I have to finish my story first, and then the editor has to accept it.
It’s a gamble, but a fun one1.

And really, crashing through the second half of 2016 to land on this New Year’s Eve, the spirit is pretty crumpled, and I’m having a hard time being humorous, or funny.
But work ethic and professionalism and all that. Continue reading


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Seventeen per hour

30422_monk-writingOK, for a laugh.
I was reading an award-winning novelist‘s interview the other day.
I like reading writers talking about their work flow, their methods, their quirks.
Turns out the guy worked on his latest, award-winning novel

six hours a day, every day for four years, without pause

And being the sort of person I am, coming to this statement I started thinking in numbers.

Now, four years makes

(365 x 4) + 1 = 1461 days

working six hours a day, every frigging day of the week for four years makes

1461 x 6 = 8766 hours

Now comes the hard part – according to Amazon, the guy’s award-winning novel is 411 pages long in hardback. Let’s place it at around 150.000 words.

150.000 / 8766 = 17 words per hour

That’s when I started laughing. Continue reading


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Writing on a dare

CornettoEtCappuccinoOk, it went like this – I was wasting time yesterday morning, on Facebook, having a friendly chat with some author/publisher friends, here in the old C Block of the Italian Blogsphere.
We were talking original ideas, imitation as tribute and nuisance, and all those things, while each one of us was having breakfast at home (isn’t this web-thingie just great?)
Anyway, we were chatting away and sipping cappuccinos, and I really don’t know how it happened, honest, but one thing led to another, and…

So I bet the guys I can write a fantasy novelette in a weekend, and self-publish it on Amazon Kindle in less than a week.
And not only that!
Being an overconfident fool, I bet I can write a novelette that will be the first in a series, featuring a new setting and a new character.

And yes, this is stupid.
I mean, it’s the weekend, it’s summer, there’s 40+ degrees and 90% humidity, I have two deadlines approaching…
Ah! Continue reading