East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Back to school (but did I ever leave?)

what_is_moocYes, I know, I already told you about MOOCs, and I’m probably boring you to death.
Fact is, my own MOOC curriculum is expanding fast, and I’m currently as busy as I was when I was studying for my degree – with two substantial differences.

First – I’m not paying a fortune in taxes.
Second – I’m studying quietly at home, basically improving my culture instead of watching old movies or silly TV shows on the telly.

And I can see a pattern emerging. Continue reading

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The Ten Virtues of Tea

japanese-tea-ceremony1So my next short story will be set in India (aha!) and will be a steampunkish mystery caper sort of thing somewhat related to my GreyWorld project.
So far I only have an idea or two, a single character sketch and a deadline – and a very strict deadline it is, because the story will be submitted to a publisher.

Also, I have a theme: my story will deal with tea.
And I like this, because I am a tea drinker, and drinking tea is part of my writing process… because it’s a good way to take a pause, and think about something else. 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…

Continue reading

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Writing on spec – the end (?)

And so it’s done.
3500 words, ten scenes.
From open call to final draft in 48 hours.
Not bad at all, if I do say so myself.
I still need a title1 and a final revision (is it possible to turn up the volume a little on the action scenes and make the finale even more dark? Maybe add 100 good words cutting 10 useless ones?)
But I’ll send it along to the editor before midnight anyway.

Will it sell?
Who knows.
It was well worth the try anyway.


In the meantime, I have learned that the turret in a submarine is called the sail of the sub, and it comes with two sail fins – the structure is also known as conning tower.
And in old subs, the mess was between the crew quarters and the control room – the officers’ rooms being further forward.
Yes, I love doing research for my stories (and improve my English).

  1. and this is going to be tough. 
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Writing on spec – further developments

checkered-flag-flippedAnd so we got to 3000 words and a total of just ten scenes, nice and compact.
Not bad at all.
Granted, the writing is a little bit drab here and there, and I’ll have to find a way to better characterize two characters… but I have a full day to set it straight.
All in all, it’s been a fun run.
Tomorrow, revision and delivery.

And now, as a prize – I promised myself an ebook!

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Writing on spec – developments

. Viable idea sketched.
. Research done – details checked out.
. Story outlined.
. Scrivener file set up.
. Three scenes (roughly 600 words) written out of the thirteen scenes planned (might become fifteen for structural purposes).
Tomorrow – first draft finished by sundown.
Sunday – revision, proofing and delivery.

I must admit this writing-on-a-tight-schedule thing might become sort of fun, in the long run.
With a little luck, I might be able to deliver the finished story almost one day before the closing of the deadline.
And even should it not work out, it’s great exercise.


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