martedì 30 giugno 2020

Come scrivere una sinossi per sottoporre il tuo manoscritto a un editore

Come scrivere una sinossi 
per sottoporre il tuo manoscritto a un editore
6 trucchi del mestiere


Photo by DaYsO on Unsplash
Dopo indicibili sforzi e peripezie, il tuo manoscritto è pronto e desideri inviarlo a un editore, perché ne rimanga entusiasta e decida di pubblicarlo, rendendoti ricco e famoso. 

Hai fatto una ricerca e scoperto quali editori potrebbero essere interessati a pubblicare il tuo libro (indizio: una Casa Editrice specializzata in romanzi di fantascienza non sarà interessata a pubblicare la tua silloge di poesie); hai formattato il testo secondo le direttive (e già che c’eri ne hai approfittato per dare un’ulteriore ripassatina ed eliminare refusi) e ti sei infine scontrato con un problema: il tuo manoscritto va accompagnato da una sinossi

Un editore riceve tonnellate di manoscritti e neppure volendo riuscirebbe a leggerli tutti dalla prima all’ultima pagina. Ecco perché è importante scrivere un’ottima sinossi, per fargli subito capire che ha a che fare con un capolavoro. 


Sento che stai andando in iperventilazione. Niente panico! In questo articolo ti spiegherò come scrivere una sinossi che catturi l’attenzione dell’editore.  

1)    Primo trucco – Se la conosci non ti uccide
Cos’è e a cosa serve una sinossi
 

Prima di scrivere qualunque cosa dovresti sempre porti la domanda: “Qual è lo scopo del testo che sto per scrivere?”
Lo scopo della sinossi è fornire un breve riassunto della tua storia, scritto in un linguaggio chiaro, semplice e neutro

Ricordati che la sinossi serve solo a far conoscere la storia, non a promuoverla: frasi come “un romanzo originale che conquisterà grandi e piccini” non fanno parte della sinossi. Mantieni un tono professionale. 

2)    Secondo trucco – Di tutto e di più
Cosa includere nella sinossi

 

Photo by Sear Greyson on Unsplash
La tua sinossi deve includere tutto: personaggi, eventi, colpi di scena, tutto.
Non avere paura di fare spoiler: la sinossi non è una quarta di copertina, non è qui che devi creare suspense, l’editore non avrà il tempo di andarsi a leggere tutto il tuo romanzo per vedere in cosa consiste “l’inaspettato colpo di scena” che preannunci, dal momento che è generalmente seduto di fianco a una pila pericolante di altri manoscritti che promettono altrettanto. 

Se nel tuo romanzo c’è un colpo di scena, devi parlarne nella sinossi, affinché l’editore possa farsi un’idea ben precisa della storia che stai raccontando. Solo così sarà in grado di decidere se vale la pena pubblicarla.

3)    Terzo trucco – La bambola di carta
Costruire una sinossi – Parte I

 

Come scrivere una sinossi che trasmetta la complessità della tua storia, la profondità dei personaggi che hai creato e la ricchezza del tuo stile? Si tratta, dopotutto, di condensare in poche centinaia di parole un romanzo che ne conta migliaia. Non disperarti: usa il trucco della bambola di carta!
Ti ricordi le bambole di carta? Quelle figurine da vestire con abitini di carta che ci si divertiva a colorare e ritagliare?
Bene. Per scrivere la tua sinossi, per prima cosa ti serve una bambola. 


 -    La testa = Il contesto
Vuoi far sapere all’editore in che situazione ci troviamo: la storia si svolge in Germania durante la Seconda Guerra Mondiale; in viaggio insieme a Marco Polo; su Marte nel XXIII secolo…
-    Il collo = L’evento cruciale
Qui vuoi spiegare all’editore il motivo per cui vale la pena di raccontare questa storia: un medico si rifiuta di prestare servizio per le SS in un campo di concentramento; la carovana viene attaccata da un gruppo di Yeti; i coloni e i loro figli vogliono ribellarsi e conquistare l’indipendenza dalla Terra…

Per quanto riguarda i personaggi, una buona idea è fornirne una presentazione schematica: James Bond, agente segreto al servizio della Corona inglese, affascinante, seducente, letale, intelligente. 
-    Il busto = Gli sviluppi
Questa sarà la parte più sostanziosa, in cui elabori l’evento cruciale. Per esempio: il medico si rifiuta di effettuare esperimenti sui prigionieri del campo di concentramento e viene imprigionato/mandato al fronte/…
-    Le braccia = La crisi
In questo passaggio prepari il gran finale, raccontando l’evento o la serie di eventi che conducono alla conclusione.
-    Le gambe = La risoluzione
Come finisce la storia? È giunto il momento di svelarlo.

 
4)    Quarto trucco: I vestitini
Costruire una sinossi – Parte II

 

Ora che hai tra le mani la tua bambola di carta, è giunto il momento di procurarle dei vestitini.
Questo significa che devi elaborare qualche pensiero in più sui personaggi e sull’impatto che gli eventi narrati nella storia hanno su di loro. È il momento di rendere la storia personale. Per esempio: cosa spinge il medico a rifiutarsi di collaborare con le SS e come vive la decisione? Come affronta le conseguenze?

Attenzione: questo è un lavoro che devi fare sulla bambola, il che significa – per uscire dalla metafora – che non ti limiterai ad allungare il tuo testo iniziale, bensì lo integrerai con le informazioni che ritieni importanti.


5)    Quinto trucco: Leggi le istruzioni!
 

Vuoi sapere quanto deve essere lunga la tua sinossi? Fai riferimento alle direttive della casa editrice. Se non viene indicata una lunghezza massima per la sinossi, ricorda che "meno è meglio": non superare una pagina, meglio se riesci a mantenerla entro 500 parole.
In questa fase, se non l’hai già fatto, controlla attentamente tutte le direttive: dalla lunghezza richiesta per il manoscritto, al formato (tipo di file, font, eccetera), a eventuali particolari richieste (per esempio: la partecipazione ad alcuni concorsi è tassativamente in forma anonima, pena l’eliminazione).
Se ti attieni scrupolosamente alle direttive fornite dalla Casa Editrice parti già con il piede giusto, perché trasmetti professionalità e rispetto. 



Photo by Jonathan Chng on Unsplash
6)    Sesto trucco: Arriva fino in fondo
 

Non cadere a un passo dal traguardo. 
Nella stesura della sinossi devi mettere la stessa cura che hai impiegato per il tuo romanzo. Ricordati che è con la sinossi che convinci l’editore a dare una chance al tuo libro
Rileggi, correggi, elimina le ripetizioni e i refusi. Invia un testo pulito, preferisci una spaziatura tra le righe di 1,5 – 2 (a meno che non sia diversamente specificato nelle direttive) che renda agevole la lettura.

lunedì 29 giugno 2020

The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins

.

Wilkie Collins was an English writer who lived in the XIX century, and I fell in love with him when I read The Woman in White. Besides, just look at him: isn’t he adorable?

I hear you asking: How have you discovered Wilkie Collins? 
Well, here’s how: I went to the library, as I often do when I’m bored, and decided it was time for a book by a British writer from two centuries ago. There. I picked the above mentioned book and I was blown away already from the first pages! I finished it in a couple of days – all 900+ pages of it - and afterwards I recommended and gave it as a present to more people than I can remember. 
Wilkie Collins’s unique style and mystery plot conquered me, so I soon picked another novel written by him: The Moonstone. I actually bought this one, as I intend to buy and own every book by Wilkie Collins. See how tenderly I set it up for the picture? I loved this book!  



The main character is the Moonstone itself: a cursed Indian diamond. 

As we learn in the first pages, there’s a legend hovering over this diamond – or is it not a legend? 

The Stone is sacred and that’s why it was cursed: to prevent it from being stolen. But did people believe in the curse and leave the Stone alone? Of course not! So the Stone was stolen a long time ago. 
Since the theft, a handful of keepers follow it across the world whenever it’s sold, inherited, or whatever, and try to retrieve it each time. 

After centuries, the Moonstone lands on British soil to become the birthday present for Miss Rachel Verinder. 

You hold your breath, as you wait to learn whether anything bad is going to happen after the girl rejoices for the precious present. As a matter of fact, you already know that something is going to happen, only things are not always what they appear to be. 


As per Wilkie Collins’s style, the story is told by many different characters, each telling her or his view of the events. Of course there are those who are biased; those who think they know the truth; those who, in the end, do not really care one way or another; and one person who is determined to definitely settle the matter. 



Why should you read this book?
The Moonstone provides you with mystery, death, loss, romance, desperation, twists, turns, and an unexpected conclusion. And don’t expect a boring or hard prose, just because the novel comes from almost two hundred years back. On the contrary: the prose is clear, witty, delightful to read. 



Have you read The Moonstone, or any other book by Wilkie Collins?
 Leave a comment and let us know!
 

martedì 23 giugno 2020

On a cold winter night


Welcome to The Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is to find 5 words in a news article that jump out at you. Write a story using those words.

Here you can find the article I read. The title is: ‘Murder Hornets’ in the U.S.: The Rush to Stop the Asian Giant Hornet, and the five words I picked are the following: Spider-Man – dragonfly – winter – night – underground.

This week story comes from Chiara. Chiara is currently in Berlin, Germany, not quarantined anymore but still doing her best to catch up with semi-abandoned writing projects.

On a cold winter night
by Chiara De Giorgi

Dragonfly-Woman cursed under her breath, then stilled herself in the dark.
After the discovery of murder hornets in the U.S.  that year – following wildfires in Australia, locust swarms in Africa, a very infectious disease that spread all over the world, and other ill-matched catastrophes –  she knew to expect anything, and the giant spiderweb she had just been caught in could mean a lot of things- mostly horrible things.
Her heart sank when she felt the spiderweb move. She closed her eyes and swallowed. Was this going to be the end, her end? Eaten by a giant spider, underground, on a cold winter night? After all she’d been through, after all the people she’d helped and saved… it didn’t seem right.
She opened her big, marvelous dragonfly eyes. She wouldn’t go down without a fight.
Dragonflies can detect so many more colors than humans with their eyes, however they can’t really see anything without light. Dragonfly-Woman had fixed the issue with enhanced contacts, which gave her an owl’s vision. Now she could spot a bulky form slowly making its way towards her, making the web’s threads vibrate, slowly but steadily.
She steeled herself, ready to set her delicate-looking wings in motion. Would she be able to cut through the spiderweb, though? Spiderwebs are incredibly resistant, after all. Maybe I could just cut the beast’s head off, if it comes to me at the right angle, she thought, and smirked. I’ll make sure it does.
“Hey, spidey, spidey spidey? Why are you hiding in the dark-ey?”
The bulk suddenly stopped. Damn!
A surprised voice rose from the darkness:
“Dragonfly-Woman?”
“Who… Spider-Man?” she asked, shocked, as the big bulk came nearer. “What the hell are you doing down here?”
“What am I doing here? What are you doing here! I thought you were dead!”
“Me? Dead? Why?” she asked, surprised, then remembered. “Oh, yeah… Well, you know how dragonfly females pretend they’re dead when they want to put off their suitors…?”
Spider-Man cracked a glow stick and suddenly a greenish light washed over the walls of the tunnel. It gave his face a gaunt and sick look.
“You pretended you were dead?” he almost shouted, outraged. “To escape my… avances? That’s insane!”
Dragonfly-Woman scoffed. “Was it?”
“I was devastated!” continued Spider-Man. “I roamed with no purpose for months, I almost got killed by a giant murder hornet, and were it not for Lady Bug I wouldn’t be here!”
“Well, I’m sorry, but--- Wait, what? Lady Bug? That vapid bimbo?”
Lady Bug jumped into the light, a belligerent expression on her plump face.
“Excuse me, did you just call me a bimbo? Did she just call me a bimbo?”
“Er…”
“You let him believe you were dead, so you clearly didn’t want him. So now what? You changed your mind, you slut?”
“Don’t you dare call me a slut!”
“Or what?” Lady Bug laughed. “Did you forget you’re trapped? What if he left you there? Hey, here’s an idea”, she added, turning to Spider Man. “What if we left her there? She’ll die for real, this time.”
“You would never…”
“Oh, but wouldn’t I?”
“Girls! I mean, insects! Insect-girls! Whatever! Shut up!”
After a few seconds of silence, Spider-Man reached for a blade in one of his pockets and cut the threads that kept Dragonfly-Woman captive, then stood in front of her as she plucked the sticky tendrils away.
“I am over you”, he announced in a tired voice. “I am over everything, actually. I don’t want to go back to the daylight ever again, it’s too depressing. I thought I’d let a rat, or a bat, bite me, but I don’t like the competition, and Rat-Man and Bat-Man were here before me, after all.”
“What are you going to do?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know. I don’t care.”
“We’ll be fine”, whispered Lady Bug, “just like we were before.” She turned to Dragonfly-Woman and looked at her with sadness in her eyes. “You can go, or you can stay. It’s all the same to me. To us. Our world got dark long ago.”
Dragonfly-Woman’s eyes glinted in the darkness. When she spoke, her voice was resolute. “I will go back outside and check the situation. As the Crow-Man said, it can’t rain all the time. I’ll come back for you as soon as it’s safe, and we can be friends again. No hard feelings. Okay?”
She stretched her right hand out, and Lady Bug slowly reached for it and shook it, a smile blossoming on her lips.
“Okay.”

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/


J.D. Robb and the In Death series




J.D. Robb is one of the pseudonyms used by the American writer Nora Roberts.

She’s such a prolific writer, that I suspect an army of Fairies take up her job every night when she goes to bed. That, or she doesn’t go to bed at all. 








The In Death series was started in 1995 with “Naked in Death” and isn’t finished yet: the last published book (at the time of the writing), “Faithless in Death”, is, after all, only number 52!



I must confess I’m still at book number 19, “Imitation in Death”, but am planning a binge-reading weekend to reach at least number 30: “Eternity in Death” seems a good title to read before taking another break.


It’s a compelling series, set in New York in the near future: it’s not proper sci-fi, but there are some nice details, such as the AutoChef, a wonderful device that cooks for you! Weapons have been banned, and the police use tasers to stop and arrest criminals. Sex workers and professional mothers are a thing, and people can go-off planet for a business conference in space. 


Of course there are downsides: real coffee is rare and expensive, for example (which is dreadful), and people manage to kill each other just as they’ve always done. 

Here come our two main characters to the rescue: Lieutenant Eve Dallas solves impossible cases and catches murderers; her charming, rich, handsome, Irish husband Roarke provides real coffee – and a seemingly infinite number of useful gadgets. 

Both have a dark and stormy past: they both have faced death and lived through things they wish they could forget. They find true understanding and consolation in each other’s arms. They seem almost too perfect to be true, but you can’t help caring for them!
Roarke is a romantic, and Eve is his one true love, although she’s as romantic as a cactus and easy prey to doubts about their relationship.


Since Roarke is a very resourceful man, and also a very clever one, the two end up working together on cases more often than not, which makes everything very entertaining.

Lieutenant Dallas’s official team is composed of Detective Delia Peabody (of the big butt – her words, not mine) and Detective Ian McNab (computer geek, likes to dress smartly), whose story-lines develop and entwine over time - and give  Lieutenant Dallas more than one headache.



Eve has a best friend, Mavis, who goes rapidly from singer in a less-than-upper-class club to superstar, thanks to Roarke’s intervention. 

She is the opposite of Eve: dresses extravagantly, loves to party, cares a lot for her hair and nails, and she often tricks Eve into a beauty treatment - which Eve, admittedly, probably doesn’t really need. 



Each book deals with a new case, so they can be read independently. Anyway, since there are characters who develop relationships of many kinds, it’s nice to follow the order in which they have been written.




 

Why is the In Death series worthy of your time? 
Well, first of all: with such a long and yet unfinished series, you have a guaranteed bazillion reading hours. If you like the characters, it’s going to be extra-fun.

There’s crime, death, danger. There’s also a steamy romance, and good values like friendship, loyalty, and family find their way through the pages.
Each book normally takes me a couple days to read from cover to cover: I find them relaxing, entertaining, and they make me smile. When I close one, I want to open the next right away! I tend to repeat the process at least 5-6 times, before forcing myself to stop and pick something different from my bottomless To-Be-Read pile – mainly because I don’t want to risk reading all of J.D. Robb’s already existing books and having to wait (God forbid!) for a new one.