Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Lessons learned, stories told

So, now is the time for the sort of post that goes things that I have learned writing a short srtory in one day.
My guru tells me this is the sort of post that brings readers like, in cartloads, and so here we go.

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The first thing one learns in this kind of exercise is I can still make it!
Which is very good because if we do not boost our enthusiasm ourselves, nobody will.
This time I did it as a game, but the ability to stick to the story and bring it to a (satisfactory? One hopes so) conclusion, is vital.
Deadlines are a thing. 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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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 Café, 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