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Leaving Room for Inspiration/ Creativity Within an Outline

The question of outlining in novel-writing is generally very polarizing. Some feel strongly that outlining hampers the creative process; otherwise swear it’s the necessary hand that holds ours through the duration of the first draft.

Initially of the former camp, I wrote my first novel according to scenes that popped into my head out of nowhere and voices that felt whispered from some divine source. I paid homage to the writing gods and waiting for emotion and inspiration to drive me. What I did not consider enough, however, is how to drive the novel—and I wound up deleting over one hundred meandering pages.

 

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Tricks of the Trade 2: Red Herrings

Tricks of the Trade 2: Red Herrings | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Although the term red herring is usually associated with murder mysteries, most stories contain an element of misdirection to keep the reader guessing at the outcome. When it’s obvious where it’s headed, even if the route contains interesting obstacles and encounters, you miss out on that feeling of discovery when you realise the answer isn’t A, as you thought, but B (which seemed impossible but now you can see of course it was B, it was always B, sneaky, sneaky B).

In order to create the delight a reader feels when their view of the world (even when it’s a made up world) is spun around 180 degrees and they see things how they truly are you have to first convince them of the way things truly aren’t.

So you lie to them.
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24 Hours to Improve Your Book

Have a free day and want to sharpen up your book?

There are lots of quick ways to improve your manuscript. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but the empire could definitely fix up a few statues in between sunrises.

Here’s our list of easy, fast editing tips:

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Revealing True Emotion In Dialogue

Revealing True Emotion In Dialogue | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Very few things pull people in like conversation. After all, when someone speaks, they are making themselves vulnerable to others. How? Because words are steeped in thoughts, beliefs and emotions. They have meaning. Power.
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Get Rid of On-the-Nose Dialogue Once and For All

Get Rid of On-the-Nose Dialogue Once and For All | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Know what sets apart the okay writers from the great writers? Subtlety and subtext. This is true in absolutely every area of storytelling, from narrative to plotting to character development. But the lack of subtlety and subtext is perhaps nowhere more obvious than in dialogue. I’m talking, of course, about on-the-nose dialogue.
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7 Simple Tricks to Become a Successful Self-Editor

7 Simple Tricks to Become a Successful Self-Editor | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Everyone knows that good editing is essential but you don’t to send an agent or a potential publisher a manuscript that doesn’t look like a million bucks. Lesley Vos provides some great tips to get you there.
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5 Key Elements for Successful Short Stories

5 Key Elements for Successful Short Stories | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
No matter what kind of fiction you write, being able to craft a good short story can help you sharpen your skills. Ray Bradbury recommended writing one short story a week—it seemed to work out pretty well for him.
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Every Story Is a Mystery

Every Story Is a Mystery | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
When we think of a story being a mystery the tendency is to think of the mystery genre. An investigator (usually a detective), a puzzle to be solved (usually a crime), a person to be caught (usually a criminal). But to all intents and purposes every story is basically a mystery. There is always a burning question that needs answering and someone who is tasked with finding that answer. It’s just that it might not be as obvious what the question is in Looking for Love as it is in Who Killed Johnny? And if it’s well written the reader’s desire to also discover the answer should be just as strong in both stories. Which is why when that desire isn’t so strong we can use the mechanics of the mystery genre to help work out what’s gone awry in other types of stories.
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Taking Care of the Inner and Outer Writer

Taking Care of the Inner and Outer Writer | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Writing is hard work. Unfortunately, you may get so involved in a project that you keep at it longer than you should. Before you know it, hours have passed. Continuous keyboarding can lead to Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI), including tired eyes, headache, back pain, neck pain, sore hands, aching fingers, and even Deep Vein Thrombosis.

 

Staying healthy and in shape is a challenge for today’s writer—who is often parked behind a computer screen day after day. But these self-care tips will help keep writers healthy and productive.

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Creating a Strong Mentor Character

Creating a Strong Mentor Character | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

The Mentor is one of the common character archetypes in storytelling. This is the character who guides the protagonist and offers insight, wisdom, and even tools to solve the problem of the novel and grow as the story unfolds.

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Personality Traits: Building a Balanced Character

Personality Traits: Building a Balanced Character | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Some writers want to create characters that ONLY have the best qualities, ones that prove they are good human beings that readers will admire and root for. They find it easy to create a blend of traits like loyalty, helpfulness, intelligence and determination, forming a true hero that can handle anything. But when it comes to choosing flaws, they pull their punches, worried that if they add a trait like selfishness, perfectionism, or impulsiveness, readers will view them as unlikeable.

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Six Tips to Increase Your Brain Power

Six Tips to Increase Your Brain Power | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Here are some ideas to help you increase your ability to write and to brainstorm.

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Writing the Unlikable Character

Writing the Unlikable Character | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
We talk a lot about the importance of writing characters that readers like or can relate to—and by “we” I mean anyone who feels strongly about books, regardless of profession. It’s nice to know when the good guy is good and when the bad guy is bad. That’s what you expect from a story. You want a hero, right?

Nope. Not this reader.
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How to Create Characters Worth Reading

How to Create Characters Worth Reading | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
There’s no shortage of blog posts about what makes characters likable to readers. I’ve written about the issue myself. Theories abound with different approaches we can take as writers to create likable characters.

But with every one of those posts, some will rightly bring up the fact that not all protagonists are likable. Depending on the genre or story, the protagonist might be anywhere from prickly to a full-on antihero.
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Five Really Good Reasons To Outline Your Novel - before you write a word

Five Really Good Reasons To Outline Your Novel - before you write a word | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Outlining isn't a necessity, but there are so many advantages to it that even die-hard 'pantsters' should think twice about rejecting it. I have taught hundreds of people to write and 90% of those authors who finish writing their books have used an outline of some sort. Most of the authors I’ve interviewed also use outlines.

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10 Steps to Express Yourself Better in Writing

10 Steps to Express Yourself Better in Writing | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Good writers are able to fully express themselves with words.

But with so much flowing through the chambers of your mind, it is not easy to concisely find just the right words to express yourself, your idea, and your emotions. What phrases convey exactly what you’re thinking? How do you express yourself while keeping your reader following a logical description, dialogue or argument?

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10 Common Fiction Problems and How to Fix Them

10 Common Fiction Problems and How to Fix Them | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
When you write and revise your fiction, you deal with a host of problems. With some novels, it’s hard to decide on the right point of view. With others, it’s a struggle to work out the plot. Sometimes it’s a matter of getting the language down just right. Of course it’s one thing to spot a problem, another to fix it. Consider the following ten rather typical problems most fiction writers face—and some possible fixes.
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Scenes: The Skeleton of a Novel

Scenes: The Skeleton of a Novel | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

You’re a human being: you can stand up, sit down, or do a somersault. That’s because you have a skeleton that gives your soft tissue a structure.

 

Likewise, it’s important to give your novel a structure that will hold all the soft murmurings about characters, places and events. It begins with understanding the structure of a scene.

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New Year, New Draft: 14 Tips to Grow It

New Year, New Draft: 14 Tips to Grow It | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Can I be as positive in this new year about the new draft I've decided to tackle--I mean really tackle and not just talk about? It promises to be messy, too. In preparation, I "dug up" some tips to help me weed through its mess--which I offer to you, too, with hopes they'll help you in turn.

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21 Fast Hacks to Fuel Your Story With Suspense

21 Fast Hacks to Fuel Your Story With Suspense | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
When I ask what you need to write a story of suspense, inevitably one kid yells, “Put in a bad guy!”

Good advice, if obvious. The fact is, stories in all genres need suspense: Readers must stick with you to the end, and suspense is the foremost element that keeps them turning pages. Likewise, when you’re trying to write your way through to that teetering stack of a finished draft, a quick injection of suspense is a great way to keep your story’s engine fueled. Suddenly, you’ll very much want to write on to find the answer.

Here are a bouquet of ways to do just that, beyond the excellent suggestion of putting in a bad guy.
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Tricks of the Trade 1: The Plant

Tricks of the Trade 1: The Plant | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
This is the first in a series of posts looking at common writing techniques that can be both very effective and horribly misused. The focus here will be on how to get the most out of them while avoiding the obvious, hackneyed and contrived.

In most stories you will employ some kind of plant. This is where you establish something early on that will come back to have some significance later on in the story.

It could be an object, a name or an idea. Typically you make the reader aware of it in the first few chapters and when it turns up towards the end the recognition combined with the important role this seemingly innocuous thing/person/concept now plays can be very satisfying. It can also be crass and clunky.
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See How Easily You Can Track Your Character's Emotional Arc in a Scene

See How Easily You Can Track Your Character's Emotional Arc in a Scene | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
A character whose emotions don’t develop or change in a scene is static and not terribly interesting. On the other hand, a character who is jumping from one emotion to another in each paragraph is unlikely to seem believable. So it’s important to create limited, focused changes.
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Five Creative Ways To Make Your Story More Powerful

Five Creative Ways To Make Your Story More Powerful | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Have you ever noticed how comfortable people are with storytelling? If you want to show empathy, you share a similar experience with a friend. If you want to explain danger to a child, you make up a funny character to make the idea of danger less threatening. If you want to explain a complex idea at a business meeting, you break it down into a simple metaphor or allegory. No one feels they’re under attack when the story isn’t directly about them.

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Lessons In Innovation From Six Of The World's Most Creative Thinkers

Lessons In Innovation From Six Of The World's Most Creative Thinkers | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
As the head of Studio Ghibli, the 73-year-old animator has built a global fan base and critical acclaim for works such as Spirited Away and Ponyo. Despite the sparseness of his canon and his reclusive nature, a rare look into Miyazaki’s creative process—as well as the creative processes behind five other world-renowned innovators—reveals some fascinating lessons and discoveries.
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