The Funnily Enough
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The Funnily Enough
The whole world of writing in one place
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Romantic Storytelling

Romantic Storytelling | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

This is not going to be a post about love, marriage, hearts and/or flowers.  The kind of romanticism I’m talking about is the kind you find in most fictional stories. The hero wins, the villain gets what they deserve, good triumphs over evil and love conquers all. This kind of romantic ideal is why we read stories.

 

We have a picture of the way the world should be, but it stubbornly refuses to live up to our expectations. So we create our own worlds where things turn out right. 

 

That said, things can go too far the other way.

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Fiction Is About Facing Problems

Fiction Is About Facing Problems | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

One of the main tenets of writing story is to make the reader as the question: What happens next?

 

But this question shouldn’t be aimed at the writer, or even the story. The question should be aimed by readers at themselves.

 

And they shouldn’t be sure of the answer

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Minna Kilpeläinen's curator insight, December 11, 2012 6:53 PM

.. and what if that happens to me what would I do?

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Get Your Novel Moving: Cure for Stagnant Openings

Get Your Novel Moving: Cure for Stagnant Openings | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Does your novel open like this: Main Character staring out a window, riding in a car, train, plane or spaceship? How about the dreaded Back Story? Many first novels open with elements that slow and in some cases, kill off the reader's sense of movement.


It's not hard to bring a novel opening to a standstill. Fortunately there are ways to remedy or prevent stagnant openings.

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Dead Story Walking

Dead Story Walking | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

What a character does in a story isn’t automatically interesting. It might be death-defying or earth-shattering, but the stakes, the goals, the point of what’s being done isn’t as important as how it’s being done.

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Your Dialogue Is Showing

Your Dialogue Is Showing | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Whether you are a strong advocate of show vs. tell, or you find it an overused instruction that’s oft misused, one thing is for certain: dialogue is always considered showing.

 

There are some people who don’t really understand why this is so, to them dialogue often seems the very opposite of showing: people telling each other things.

 

The reason isn’t do with what is being said...

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Just Another Day: Slice of Life Stories

Just Another Day: Slice of Life Stories | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Slice if life stories can be a lot harder to pull off than your typical plot-driven novel, because character growth isn't all that exciting in and of itself. It's the results of that growth, the struggle for that growth that intrigue us. Not a lot of stuff happens during "growth" like it does with a protag trying to solve an external problem. But there are ways to make these internal stories just as gripping as their action-packed counterparts.

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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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Contrivances Aplenty

Contrivances Aplenty | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

All stories are contrived. A story is carefully set up so the pieces fall when they’re supposed to. In real life it doesn’t work like that. Murder’s go unsolved. Bank robbers get away. Bankers get even bigger bonuses. But we don’t read stories so we can see the world in its unfathomable weirdness that makes little sense (that’s what we have windows for).

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Save Your Readers From Boredom: Five Fool-Proof Preventatives

Save Your Readers From Boredom: Five Fool-Proof Preventatives | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
The bored reader is the writer’s worst nightmare.
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Forcing Readers To Like Characters

Forcing Readers To Like Characters | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

The story you’re writing may have the kind of lead character that people automatically root for. He may be a good guy doing the right thing; or a decent woman trying to sort out something that needs sorting. Heroic behaviour and overcoming adversity can bypass the whole need to tell the reader this is someone to cheer on. It’s obvious.

 

But they might be a little more complex than that. Maybe flawed, maybe even a bit awkward. Or they may not get to their heroic moment until much later in the story. How do you get the reader on board as quickly as possible without having to add ‘stick with it, things get good later’ at the bottom of each page?

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Making Scenes Interesting In The Now

Making Scenes Interesting In The Now | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

In terms of what’s going on in a scene you can break it down into three main areas:

 

1. What happened ‘Before’.

2. What’s happening ‘Now’.

3. What’s going to happen ‘Later’.

 

The most important for a reader is no.2, the ‘Now’. That's where readers experience the story—what's in front of them.

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Secondary Characters

Virtually every story features at least two characters, either pitting them against one another or having them working toward a shared goal. This mirrors our lives, where we’re in contact with others daily, sometimes hourly. Sometimes every single moment of every single day.

 

Even the least social among us must rely on or deal with others. Unless we’re totally self-sufficient, someone else makes our clothing or our food or our mode of transportation or our homes.

 

We need other people.

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Writing the Heart of Your Story

Writing the Heart of Your Story | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

What would you say was the difference between a good book and a great one?

 

Between a forgettable novel and a classic that lingers long in your memory, maybe even for years? Between a book with a title and plot you’ve forgotten mere days after you read it and one with lines that haunt you for years, and characters that seem so real you find yourself thinking about them over a lifetime and wondering what they would say or do in a given situation?

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Chapter One: The Hunger Games

Chapter One: The Hunger Games | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

This is a continuation of my series of first chapter dissections where I take apart the opening chapter of a successful novel to find out what makes it work, how the author hooked the reader, which rules were followed, and which were broken to good effect

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Is Your Novel a Spineless Weakling?

Is Your Novel a Spineless Weakling? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Why is the antagonist so important? No antagonist and no story. I think most craft books make a critical error. They assume us noobs know more than we do. Most new writers don’t understand the antagonist the way they need to. We have some hazy basics from high school or college English and then we try to go pro. Then it takes years of trial, error, rejection and therapy to see any success. Um, yeah. Bad plan. The antagonist is critical, and is often one of the most troublesome concepts to master.

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Writers Who Know Everything

Writers Who Know Everything | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

A problem I’ve been coming across a lot recently when reading and critiquing on various writing workshops is the writer using his knowledge of future story events to guide present ones.

 

This is a fairly simple thing to fix, the problem is more in trying to convince the writer they are in fact doing this. It’s one of those things where if the person isn’t aware they’re doing it, proving it to them can be very difficult. They just can't see it.

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Two Pronged Attack

Two Pronged Attack | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

When you write a story and then ask someone to read it and give you feedback, you are asking two things:

 

1. How well have I said the thing I’m trying to say?

2. Was it worth saying?

 

Obviously you can give an opinion on both of those, but in order to help the writer improve things, you may also want to offer some suggestions.

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Books and the Art of Piracy

Ideas don't follow the laws of commerce. They are not objects. They are not a product. They don't run on batteries.

Information is not a fuel that you can pump out of one mind and into another. You can't price it at dollars per barrel.

If our society made money obsolete and whatever you wanted was free, would people stop writing books, making music, putting on plays?
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What's a story?

What's a story? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Ira Glass tells you Things That Tend NOT To Work… and maybe some ideas for GETTING them to work.
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