Tag Archives: italy

Build your tree

Start from the roots

We realize how easy it is to start writing a story, having the right tools. But what is the content of your story? It comes from your everyday life, inspired by something you witnessed once, or some social problem? You need to ask yourself where the inspiration comes from to realize which tone is better to use. 

Your roots

Roots, image by Daniele Frau.
Roots, image by Daniele Frau.

These are your roots, the base from which you will build your story and the way you find inspiration afterward. Let’s talk about the inspiration for a moment. We’ve grown with the idea that we need a specific sparkle to write, a magic moment. Without that, we imagine the writers sitting in their rooms, desperate, in front of their typewriters. It’s not exactly like that.

Yes, you can have some blank moments, periods where you have nothing to say. Well, that’s the best moment for you; take this as a vacation, write ideas, and make your life full of experience, so then you’ll start writing again. Inspiration is a myth, solid and difficult to erase from people’s imagination, but still a myth. When I don’t have anything to say on a certain topic, I switch to another one. I start writing about mathematics, science, and economics. I write about topics far from my usual niche, and an idea naturally pops out.

For instance, a few days ago, I wrote an essay about international investments and wham! Something strikes my mind, an original idea about a real estate man that lives in the streets. The main secret here is the first rule every writer always has to keep in mind: 

Write, write, write.

If you don’t write, you won’t be able to clearly understand your limits, your common errors and as we said, you’ll feel increasingly tired of writing. See it like you were going to the gym. The more you go to do sport, the more you want to, because you feel your body is responding immediately. It’s precisely the same when you start writing, then you want to write more and more. 

Solid roots

So, you have an idea of a real estate agent living in the streets. Now you need to understand which tone you will use to describe the situation. It will be something like Jean Claude Izzo in Les soleil des mourants, or you would try a political angle? Do you want to write in a sarcastic-dark humor tone, as Jonas Jonasson? After you realize that everything will be easy, your pen will scribble so fast on the paper, faster than your thoughts.

Then, it’s time to write your characters. But this is a story for another time.

See you, people! As always, send me messages or comments here below and I’ll be glad to answer all of your questions.

Do you want to read some of my stories? Check them out!

Daniele Frau

Let’s play with words

There’s nothing like playing with words

In my previous article, I spoke about the most challenging part of writing a story. In the beginning, the beginning. So, how to go over this first scary step?

Snowflake

Yes, the snowflake method was one of the most helpful methods I’ve ever tried as a beginner. You have a story in mind and that story is nothing more than some vivid sensations and a bunch of perfect phrases you noted. But that’s not enough, clearly.

What happens next?

Most of the time, what happens next is you staring at a blank page. It seems you have everything in hand to start, but the key doesn’t turn and the engine is stuck. You check the gasoline (ideas) and discover the tank is full. So, what’s the problem? Let’s open the hood of the car, shall we? Hm, that’s the problem, you’re missing all the cables that connect the engine to the car. That’s why it wasn’t doing anything when you turned the key.

Let’s find the cables

The cables are easy to find. We just need to put them in the right place. Let’s leave the car similitude for a moment. For example, the best place to start is to write down in 15 words what is your story about. Suddenly, you realise you didn’t think it through. Your story is somewhere in your head, but it isn’t clear. Not having a straightforward plot in mind from the beginning is why you cannot move from your parking spot (oh, I’m back to the car simile).

Play with words

Play with words, write your story.
Play with words

We all know how difficult it is to write an entire story in 15 words. Too many things are missing! Plus, you have to write it in a way that sounds interesting to a reader and seems even more complex. I can tell you two of my favourite exercises to improve your 15-words writing:

  • read as many movie descriptions as you can and try to describe movies that you know by heart 
  • try to write epitaphs about people you knew or famous people

For example, this is how Forrest Gump is described in Britannica.com:

“Forrest Gump, American film, released in 1994, that chronicled 30 years (from the 1950s through the early 1980s) of the life of a intellectually disabled man (played by Tom Hanks) in an unlikely fable that earned critical praise, large audiences, and six Academy Awards, including best picture.”

How you can make it in 15 words?

The chronicle of 30 years of the life of an intellectually disabled man (1950s- 1980s).

Yes, there are a lot of things missing. This is precisely my point. Now you need to add. Divide this 15-words-description into 4 parts (beginning, development, middle, finale).

  1. Forrest is an intellectually disabled child who discovers he can do some extraordinary things.
  2. Forrest goes to war, understands he loves one girl and loses his best friend, Bubba.
  3. The girl he loves continues to escape from him. Forrest is lucky and gets a millionaire.
  4. The girl he loves returns, they have a child together and then she dies.

I know what you’re thinking: “where is the bench, that famous beautiful bench?” 

Nowhere, now, but the exercise isn’t finished here. We need to make each part of the story divided into 4 phrases, 15 phrases long. In this way, we can start speaking about him sitting on a bench and speaking to a stranger, his disabilities and his single mum believing in him, and his crush on Jenny. Step by step, your story starts to be interesting. 

What’s next?

Start doing some exercises, put some ideas together and write your famous first 15 words. Your story will start growing on an excellent base.

Read some of my stories here and tell me what you think about them.

To be continued!

What is the most challenging part of a story to write?

What is the most challenging part of a story to write?

The beginning in the beginning

When you first start writing, the easiest part is the beginning, or at least it’s what you think. Words flow so quickly that you feel you have a gift, and maybe you actually have. The issue is, when you let someone (not your mom and dad) read it, most of the time, they do THAT face.

Which face?

You know what face I’m speaking about, the lost look. Why is that? You start wondering if the story has a sense at all, and then you start questioning everything, even the editor trying to help you. The only solution is to take a step back and re-read everything, following the advice of the experts.

Beginners

So, I answered the first question, I think. The most challenging part of a story to write is the beginning when you are a beginner. The first line is so difficult to write that it takes 25% of my time, even nowadays. That line presents your book to the reader, and nothing will change that. The reader will understand your style and what the story is about just by reading that first line.

Now, I went to a book presentation a few days ago. Friendly atmosphere, cool people. Then, I bought a book copy and sat waiting for the discussion to start. I arrived there without preconceptions, open to discovering a lovely book and a new author.

Then, I opened the first page

The book was well-edited; no problem with that. I focused on the first line. Horrible, simply horrible. I closed my eyes, breathed and I tried again. Nope, still horrific. A nightmare for anyone who had ever written something, that first line told me, “run from this place”. Still, I tried my best not to run. I thought, “maybe I’m wrong; let’s give her another chance”. 

And I did

The most useless hour I ever spent, believe me. The writer and the other two presenters started speaking about how skilled the author is. Also, they couldn’t avoid talking about how magic was the love story (apparently, if there’s no love story, there’s no book, they said) and other incredibly dull things.

What did I discover?

I discovered that you need to read many good books, but even more bad first lines, too. First, a bad first line wants to tell you something clever but doesn’t show you anything. Something like “George was walking in a garden full of roses, the smell of the paradise and the colour of passion”. After a while, you will understand how important the first line is. Phew.

If you’re still asking yourself what is the most challenging part of a story to write, here’s the answer, then. This doesn’t mean it’s always the most difficult part. In the example of the bad start, the author forgot to mention something important, questions. Questions are something you cannot forget when you’re writing anything. Questions bring answers, and answers get other questions. 

Show, don’t tell

Show, don't tell, graphic by Daniele Frau.
Show, don’t tell.

In an excellent short video by Film Courage, Glenn Gers gives the six questions that you never have to forget when writing fiction.

  1. What this story is about?
  2. What is that they want?
  3. Why they cannot get it?
  4. What do they do about that?
  5. Why it doesn’t work?
  6. How does it end?

These macro questions lead to many others in something similar to fractals or the famous snowflake method

What is this story about? A man in his forties that never left his room. 

Why did he never leave his room? Where does he live? Does he live alone? How is it possible that he never left his room? How big is his room?

And so on, you got my point.

Let’s continue to speak about it in the following article!

In the meantime, have a look at my stories on Flyingstories.org.

Read, write, explore!

Daniele Frau

How good people turn evil?

Monsters, aliens

The Lucifer effect

Go back to the future_Flyingstories


This situation reminds me of the insightful (and very popular) experiment made at Standford University in 1971 and the book that followed, written by Phillip Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect.


How nice people turn out not to be so nice anymore?


There are many reasons, many factors that sum up to create a so-called monsters. What we know is that no one is born evil. The same idea we have of evilness changed with time. The outstanding progress of medicine and the knowledge of our brain give us new keys to understand the phenomenon.

A trigger


We know for sure something that “triggers” us and made us prone to be evil. To put it in plain words, to be de-identified is a big motivator. Even the nicest person on Earth, set in a situation of having immense power and no control, can turn into a monster. Oh, it doesn’t mean everyone will react in the same way, but most people will (or let other people turn evil without doing anything to prevent it).

Go back to the future


Coming back to our story, Go back to the future: changing the name of the “newcomers” into aliens the society can turn the eyes away from the problem. The Chief of the State, a pure idiot with no skills whatsoever, become a real monster. The middle-class start shooting at the “coming aliens” just for fun.


Who’s helping the aliens?


Well, whoever they might be, they can go to hell. Or to prison, to be more precise. No, this isn’t pure fantasy. The right-wing hasn’t always been like this in Italy. But the new right-wing likes to speak to the bellies of the population. Don’t you believe me? Imagine if somebody would arrest me for saving people in the open sea. As estimates from the UN attested, 25 people die every day in front of Sicilian coasts. So, this blood is in our hands.


And what are we doing to prevent it?


Nothing, really. Like real monsters do. And this isn’t just my story.

This is reality.

Writers from Sardinia?

How big is this island?

Every day I meet people from all over the world (yes, even now that we’re living in Covid-19times). The question that people ask me more often is:

How comes you have your own language in Sardinia?

Yes, believe me, this question has been asked so many times that if they gave me 1 penny for each time I heard it… well, you know Bill Gates? He would be just a poor guy selling shoes if compared to me.

A complex island

The answer is yes, obviously. Sardinia has its own language, an history so complex and different from the Italian one, not to mention it is enormous. I mean it, it’s huge. When I think that the most famous nations-islands in the Mediterranian Sea, as Cyprus or Malta are respectively 9251 square km and 316 square km, I think it makes sense that we have a peculiar language in Sardinia (which is over 24 thousand square km). This idiom is called Sardo, or Sardinian.

Sardinian writers Daniele Frau graphics

I’m not going through with the history of Sardinia and its language. There’s so much literature about it that it would take my entire blog just to start the topic. Let’s summarise what Sardinian produced culturally in the last 100 years or so.

The star

Let’s start with the star: Grazia Deledda. She was born in 1871, and in 1926 this amazing woman received a Nobel Prize for literature. If this information doesn’t shock you, think about the fact that at the time she was only the second woman ever winning the prize. Furthermore, she was the first Italian woman in history to receive it. Interesting, huh?

Many others

You can quickly check the incredible number of writers Sardinia produced over the centuries. They spoke about what being a shepherd means, or to serve in the countryside since you’re just a child. They also wrote about the First World War, and more recently, with Accabbadora by Michela Murgia, you can jump in the reality of Sardinia in the Fifties.

Furthermore, these fantastic writers wrote in Italian, considered for a long time a second language in Sardinia. When I was a child (not so long ago), it was easy to meet old people speaking broken Italian, but fluent when they had to talk in Sardinian. Even though Sardinian was considered illegal to be used in schools for a long time, it was still used in everyday life. Nowadays, Sardinian is coming back to life, thanks to the hard work of many historians, linguists, and intellectuals.

What it means to come from an island?

As everything else, being from a fantastic island as Sardinia brings positive and negative outcomes. One of the negative ones is to be isolated from everything and culturally marginalized. The percentage of Sardinian with a university instruction level is one of the lowest in Italy, and with the crisis, the situation would only get worse.

That said, I hope next time you’ll hear in Sardinia they have their own language you won’t ask the same, one- penny, question.

Which stories Daniele Frau wrote? Have a look!

Web Radio

Web Radio

statistiche radio
statistiche radio

New Birth

Today we’re experiencing the second birth of radio. Almost 120 years had passed (119 years, precisely) since Guglielmo Marconi discovered this incredible media. Today, after years of silence, radio kills the tv stars!

Some statistics

News technologies are changing the world in many fields, and media and marketing is the most changeable of this fields. Many people says “radio is a dead media, without future”. But you know what? I don’t think that, and statistics support my thesis. As I’ve already explained in my posts in other blogs, web radio is increasing every day its audience and people working in media/                         communication have to know that. Who says that? Statistics, like that.

Italy, Europe, USA, World?

Nowadays with web radio stations is not easy to know precisely what our audience is. Every countries have different cultures and different approaches, and as usual different statistics. In Germany for example stats reveal a 10% teenagers using web radio not just for music, but for information, too. Pandora, iheart e itunesradio are the most used worldwide radio platforms.

How to open a radio

Launch a new radio channel has never been so easy. You have just to follow a course, in which you understand the basis of radio and then you’ll become a speaker! I did the same and the last week I get started with my idea to have a show (I did it in Rome) with singers, actors and dancers ON AIR! And you know what I experienced? People LOVE radio!

Di: Daniele Frau

A new blog!

A new Blog

ricette
Ricette

Ciblog

I’ve made a new blog, Ciblog. All graphics are mine and original, made using the app Canvas. This app is so useful and you are able after few minutes to create something really astonishing! It’s up to you and your imagination.

My blog

My first blog is about my cooperative, SSP Coop, based in Cagliari and Rome, since 2013. I translate from English and Arabic to Italian and with SSP (you can find it on FB and Linkedin, too) I’m able to customize marketing strategies, or simply blogs and sites experience.

Why not?

So, why don’t you send me an e-mail or call me via Skype? (my account is SHA3RUTHEPOET). Let’s try my services, from translation to operative marketing!

Daniele Frau