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The Funnily Enough
The whole world of writing in one place
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Where to Start Your Story (Exactly)

Where to Start Your Story (Exactly) | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

There are basically two ways you can start a story. You can have all guns blazing action or you can establish the ordinary world of the character before things change.


Both approaches have their pros and cons and a lot of it depends on various factors to do with your story and what you consider to be right for you as a writer. But the problem comes when you show your first chapter to someone else and they don’t react in the way you’d hoped, making you lose confidence in what you had thought to be quite a good scene that set things up nicely.


Questions arise such as maybe the other approach would be better for this story, for this genre, for you as a writer. But the truth is these are the wrong questions. So if the start of your story isn’t attracting the kind of response you want, what are the questions you should be asking yourself?

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5 Hard Writing Truths

5 Hard Writing Truths | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

I’ve written about general writing truths and truths I wish I knew before I began writing. Now here are five hard writing truths, that may not be the most enjoyable to consider, but are true nevertheless (and thus, worth knowing, I think).

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15 Delightfully Inspirational Quotes from Great Writers

15 Delightfully Inspirational Quotes from Great Writers | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Any writer knows that unsolicited advice about their work is easy to come by, but finding inspiration on those days when the words just won’t come is a lot tougher. Here, 15 of history’s most famous names give you the positive words you need to get back to writing.

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Pacing - When to slow it down and when to pick it up

We always hear editors and agents talking about a fast read. No, they are not necessarily talking about a short book or one with no depth. What they are referring to is the pacing of the book. Talking about a fast read means the pace the author sets for the book keeps it really moving fast, in other words, it is a page turner.

As an author, it is crucial that you know when it is the time to pick up the pace of the book, and when it is time to slow down and linger. This is all done through not just the amount of information you provide to the reader, but also in the structure and length of the sentences, paragraphs and chapters.

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When A Scene Isn’t Working

When A Scene Isn’t Working | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

There comes a time when you have to face facts. You’ve tried to convince yourself that scene where your main character goes back to her old house and stares at it for four pages is a good scene, an important scene where the reader learns things they need to know, but... it just isn’t a very interesting scene.


You know this because none of the people who’ve read it have ever said anything good about it. Quite a few have said bad things about it. And most have not mentioned it at all. You could take their silence as a sign they’re okay with it, but do you really want to write a story that’s just okay?


So, something’s got to change.

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An Excellent Writing Tip

An Excellent Writing Tip | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
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Nicholas C. Rossis's curator insight, September 3, 1:14 AM

Always invaluable advice.  

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The Seven Don'ts of Storytelling

The Seven Don'ts of Storytelling | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

I’ve made long lists of “What Not To Do” that I use to help me when I’m writing/rewriting a manuscript. Some items are easy to track down and fix; others take some time and possibly a keen-eyed, critical reader. Here are seven DONT’S that I think are very important.

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The Secret to Crafting Genuine Characters for Your Novel

The Secret to Crafting Genuine Characters for Your Novel | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Think about what makes you interested or drawn to certain people. What qualities of theirs pull you in? Is it a sense of humor? Some interesting hobby or skill? Engaging style of talking or fascinating facial expressions or gestures?

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How to Use Backstory to Keep Readers Reading

How to Use Backstory to Keep Readers Reading | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Backstory is a weapon. And just like any weapon, it can end up doing more harm than good to those who wield it without proper experience and care. But in the hands of a writer who knows exactly what it’s capable of and how to wield it to advantage, backstory can take even ordinary stories to extraordinary places.

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Three Guidelines for Writing Villains

Three Guidelines for Writing Villains | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Most writers have learned by now that a good villain involves depth. But how do you do that? What's the secret for writing villains?
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Nicholas C. Rossis's curator insight, August 28, 9:30 PM

I think that's important because it's villains that give depth and richness to a text.  

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Five Ways to Make Description Work in Your Novel

Five Ways to Make Description Work in Your Novel | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Description is a way to engage the reader’s imagination. It is a tapestry created with words—it can summon vivid images of place and character, strong emotion and become a thread to move the story forward.

 

Here are some examples of description at work in a story.

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Nicholas C. Rossis's curator insight, August 26, 9:37 AM

Writers Write have some really useful info and tips.  

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3 Essential Questions for Better Backstory

3 Essential Questions for Better Backstory | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Every character and every world in every story has history. It’s part of the richness that makes your characters come alive.

 

But how do you write backstory without overloading your reader?

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Interesting Characters: You are what you eat

Interesting Characters: You are what you eat | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Story is viewed differently by the writer than it is by the reader.


A writer knows what kind of person he is writing about, and uses that to inform what that character does on the page.


A reader knows what a character does and uses that to understand what kind of person that character is.


Both are looking at the same thing, but from different ends. The thing they are both looking at is this: what people do reveals the truth of who they are.


But truth and fact are NOT the same thing.

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Three simple ways to get your hero to make a stand

Three simple ways to get your hero to make a stand | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Readers do not want to read books about eternal cowards, characters who avoid problems, and people who never learn to fight back. 

 

As a reader, I am not looking for superman in every character, but I do want characters to find that extraordinary something they never knew they had, or to admit that they will never have it. I want them to make a stand. If they don’t, I feel as if I am watching a tacky reality television show where nothing changes. But how do novelists get characters to make this stand?

 

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Plot Your Novel With Mini Arcs

Plot Your Novel With Mini Arcs | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

If you’re not the type of writer who likes to plot out an entire book before you start writing, but you’re also not the type of writer who can just wing it and have it turn out well, try breaking your novel into story arcs and plotting those one at a time.

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How to Write a Book: The 5-Draft Method

How to Write a Book: The 5-Draft Method | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Not too long ago, a friend asked me to read his book. He’d written a rough draft and wasn’t sure what to do after that. After reading it, I explained how writing a book involves five different drafts. He was surprised to hear that. Most people are.

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Your Novel’s Language: How Can You Beat the Blah?

Your Novel’s Language: How Can You Beat the Blah? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

You have an interesting and compelling premise for your novel.  Your logline is snappy and fetching.  Your characters are complex with complex relationships between them.  Your plot is lock-step, every thread tied up.  Your setting is interesting.

 

Yet the writing itself isn’t working—it seems drab.  A sample of ten to fifty pages will most likely not get past the agent or editor.  Great idea, but needs considerable work.  Give this thing some flair.

 

And so now is the time to do some major fine-tuning on the language itself.

 

 

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Waiting For A Story To Get Going

Waiting For A Story To Get Going | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Story is about character. There’s what happens to the character, and there’s what the character does (not necessarily in that order).


Of these two key elements, what the character DOES is far more important than what is DONE TO the character.


Readers want to engage with a character who makes decisions and choices and takes action.


If it’s all about what happens TO the character, then chances are it’s going to turn out to be a boring story.

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Nicholas C. Rossis's curator insight, September 3, 1:14 AM

Character building tips.  

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Teaching Yourself to Write Better Dialogue: Three Steps That Will Make All the Difference

Teaching Yourself to Write Better Dialogue: Three Steps That Will Make All the Difference | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Tuning the ear, and the creative brain, to the rhythms of written dialogue makes all the difference.

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Want to Write Better Dialogue? Break the Rules

Want to Write Better Dialogue? Break the Rules | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Want to write good dialogue? Then you’ve got to break the rules. Why? Because there are rules for dialogue that trump grammatical dogma.
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Nicholas C. Rossis's curator insight, August 31, 2:20 AM

Useful tips for writing dialogue: basically, to make it sound real, you don't necessarily need to follow grammar.  

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My Analysis of 16 books: Stephen King is correct, the adverb is not your friend.

My Analysis of 16 books: Stephen King is correct, the adverb is not your friend. | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
I had a busy weekend. What was I doing, you ask? I was combing through the contents of my digital bookshelf looking at the words, especially adverbs, my favorite authors (and others) used and how often they used them.  I was curious whether genre authors tended to use adverbs more than their literary brethren.
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10 Stunning Writing Studios

10 Stunning Writing Studios | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

We know writers have some weird habits and that a sense of place is often one of the most important aspects of a story. Considering these qualities, it seems natural that writers usually yearn for their own private sanctuaries. For the wordsmiths currently drafting their latest and greatest, but with no literary oasis to call home, let these stunning writing studios serve as inspiration to transform your corner of the world into a personal retreat.

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Dramatic Action Is More Than Doing Stuff

Dramatic Action Is More Than Doing Stuff | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Often the reason a scene doesn’t work, or doesn’t seem to have any life to it, is because what’s happening in the scene isn’t very interesting.


People may be doing things, moving around, attempting to reach their goals, but how they’re going about is too straightforward or too easy.


There are various ways to achieve things in life that are reasonable and sensible. You want to be a doctor, you go to medical school and study hard. If you portray that within a story it may feel realistic and true, but it won’t be very gripping.


There is more to a good story than holding a mirror up to life.

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Beating Writer’s Block

Beating Writer’s Block | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Many writers never have a problem with writer’s block, and so we sometimes say, “There’s no such thing.” But that’s not quite right.
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The Inciting Event

The Inciting Event | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

The inciting event is probably one of the easier things to write (because it's usually a lot of fun), and also one of the hardest to figure out (because we're not always sure where it is). It's when the story really starts and it's filled with all the promise and excitement of what that story can be. For some writers, it might be the only solid plot point they know going into the novel. It's the moment when things change for the protagonist and she's put onto the path that will become the novel's plot. Without this moment, there would be no novel.

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