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4 Ways to Motivate Characters and Plot

Some of your characters will change during the course of your story—let’s call them changers. Others—stayers—will not change significantly in personality or outlook, but their motivations may nonetheless change as the story progresses from situation to situation. Both changers and stayers can have progressive motivations.

 

Confused? Don’t be; it’s simpler than it may seem. Characters come in four basic types:

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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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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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What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos

What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

You have finally finished writing your article. You’ve sweat over your choice of words and agonized about the best way to arrange them to effectively get your point across. You comb for errors, and by the time you publish you are absolutely certain that not a single typo survived. But, the first thing your readers notice isn’t your carefully crafted message, it’s the misspelled word in the fourth sentence.

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The Rules of Writing According to 20 Famous Writers

The Rules of Writing According to 20 Famous Writers | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Being that writing is such a strange job, if there are rules, they should come from those who do the job, too. Here, 20 bestselling classic and contemporary storytellers share their rules for writers. To kick things off, let’s use this shiny gem of good advice from Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay: “Ignore all of this as you see fit.”

 

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Action Stations!!!

Action Stations!!! | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

There are some basic rules to writing action in fiction that are straightforward and make sense. Keep sentences short to add pace. Be clear and use simple language when describing complicated moves. Show don't tell.


This doesn’t just apply to fights and chases. Any confrontation, any physical movement, any visual scene will have an action element to it. However, you can’t just replicate Hollywood movie visuals, the picture in the reader’s head won't automatically have the same impact as stunt-work on the big screen. You have to find a way to translate what's on the page into an emotional experience for the reader.

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An Unpredictable (and Fun)Trick to Keep Your Plots Unpredictable

An Unpredictable (and Fun)Trick to Keep Your Plots Unpredictable | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Plotting a novel can be a lot of fun, but it can also get a little tedious at times--trying to figure out the next step of a puzzle, crafting the perfect response to every choice your characters make, deciding when, where, and if you need a plot twist. When the muse is on your side the story flows quickly, but when she's not?

For those days, try treating your scenes like a game of chance to kick start the muse and keep readers guessing.

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Rewriting: Longer, Faster, Harder

Rewriting: Longer, Faster, Harder | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

This post specifically relates to getting from the first draft to the second draft. This rewrite is key to the whole rewriting process. Further down the line changes in small details and polishing of the text become important, but at this stage the transition from raw material to story-worthy narrative is what’s going to keep you interested in coming back time and again in order to get the story told.


By establishing exactly what the story is about now, you can save yourself a lot of trouble later.

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Five Ways to Make Good Writing Great

Five Ways to Make Good Writing Great | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Strong writing is TIGHT writing. Getting rid of unnecessary words streamlines the writing, increases tension and suspense, and makes the writing stronger.

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How to Use Adverbs

How to Use Adverbs | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Adverbs.

Writers the world over just shuddered when I said that. The experts tell us to never use adverbs--adverbs are bad, adverbs are evil, adverbs will sneak into your room late at night and strangle you in your bed.

Well, not really.

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How to Write a Book or Blog (The 6 Danger Stages You Need To Overcome)

How to Write a Book or Blog (The 6 Danger Stages You Need To Overcome) | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

You’ve probably had the experience of starting a novel or blog with great intentions…

 

…only to find that, a few months later, you’ve barely made any progress.

 

Maybe you started strong but lost momentum. Maybe you jumped ahead when you should’ve paused. Or maybe you got discouraged and gave up. And you wonder: how to write a book (or blog).

 

I’ve coached many writers in workshop groups over the past few years, and I’ve noticed that there are six key stages when projects often stall or go wrong.

 

Here’s what to watch out for.

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Google Docs Adds Track Changes for Editing: Here’s How to Use It

Google Docs Adds Track Changes for Editing: Here’s How to Use It | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Editors rejoice! This editing tool will change your life. Here’s how to use the new Track Changes feature in Google Docs.
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How I Stay Motivated During the Tough Times

How I Stay Motivated During the Tough Times | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

No matter what stage of your writing career you're at, at some point you're going to lose steam and need a kick in the pants to get going again. Fatigue happens to everyone, but it doesn't have to keep us doesn't for long. Please help me welcome Susan Dennard to the lecture hall today to share a few tips on how she keeps going when times get tough.

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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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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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Why Writers Should Always Make a Scene

Why Writers Should Always Make a Scene | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Making a scene will not make you very popular and you should save that for when you are famous, but making scenes when you write will help you get to the famous part. 

 

Scenes are the building blocks of a novel. They are the stepping stones that get you from the beginning of your book to the end. On average a novel has around 60 scenes. This, of course, depends on the writer and the genre, but I find it helps to have a number to work with. An action scene is, on average, 1200 - 1500 words. A sequel, or re-action scene, is around 500-800 words.

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Editing And The Writing Craft. Tips From An Editor

Editing And The Writing Craft. Tips From An Editor | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
How does the drafting, editing and rewriting cycle work?
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Why Should Anyone Help Your Protagonist?

Why Should Anyone Help Your Protagonist? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

I have a small pet peeve in fiction, even though I do it myself--characters who are always willing to drop everything and help the protagonist when she needs it. I'm not referring to the best friends (that's kind of their job), but the random people your protagonist runs into over the course of a story. The characters who have no good reason to answer questions, or agree to turn their backs at the right moment, or even take any risks for a total stranger, yet they do time and time again.

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How We Make Progress

How We Make Progress | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
“Slipping back” isn’t a shameful retreat from our goal—it’s part of the process of getting there.
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What is Crowdfunding And How Can It Work For Authors?

What is Crowdfunding And How Can It Work For Authors? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Even when a book has been written and edited to perfection, the publication process remains. With the advent of the Internet as a literary marketplace, authors have more opportunities than ever before. Self-publishing is on the rise, and crowdfunding has emerged as a worthwhile resource for authors seeking an engaging way to market their books.

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Making Time to Write: Four Tips From a Writing Superstar

Making Time to Write: Four Tips From a Writing Superstar | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

It is the act of writing that makes you a writer. Talking about writing, reading about writing, and blogging about writing doesn’t do it. Those are all good extras, but only by putting words on paper, by creating something out of nothing, do you become a writer.

 

In her book, How I write, Janet Evanovich has great advice regarding time and discipline.

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Penelope's curator insight, July 31, 10:24 AM

 

Four awesome tips inside this article. Author Janet Evanovich, the third richest author in the world in 2012 with her Stephanie Plum series, says to Write something every day, even if it means getting just a few sentences on the screen.

 

I'll give you the first two, and you'll have to read the article for #3 and #4.

 

1) Do it by time: Start small, if you want. Start with five minutes and increase the time by five minutes a day. In two weeks you’ll be sitting at your desk for about an hour a day. Add more time as you choose. 

 

2) Do it by pages: Start with one paragraph a day and work toward a page a day. If you do only that, by year’s ends you will have written 365 pages. 

 

***This review was written by Penelope Silvers for her curated content on "Writing Rightly"***

 

Link to the original article: http://writerswrite.co.za/making-time-to-write-four-tips-from-a-writing-superstar

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5 Essential Tips for Writing Killer Fight Scenes

5 Essential Tips for Writing Killer Fight Scenes | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Fight scenes are dangerous territory for writers. On the surface, they seem as if they’re guaranteed to keep the reader glued to the action in the same way as they often do at the movies. In reality, though, readers tend to skip over fight scenes – skimming the long, tedious, blow-by-blow descriptions in favour of getting back to the dialogue and character-driven drama that truly engages them in the story.

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Don't Overstuff Your Verbs: Unpack

Don't Overstuff Your Verbs: Unpack | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Sometimes it’s perfectly fine to use an adverb (no, really , it is). An adverb is a modifier, and if you’re modifying the verb in an unexpected way that changes the meaning of the verb it can be a useful tool.

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Writing Active Settings

Writing Active Settings | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Have you ever read a book, set it down at the end of a chapter because it was late or time to stop reading and, when you returned to it, you struggled to get back into the story?

 

Or you’re reading along and are jarred out of the story because you become confused, especially about where the characters are or how much time has passed since a scene or chapter break?

 

It’s important to never jar a reader, making them suddenly aware that they are in fact reading rather than experiencing.

 

How do you get around this? Anchoring.

 

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Secondary Characters with Their Own Needs

Secondary Characters with Their Own Needs | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

The importance of secondary characters in your novel cannot be overemphasized. They are crucial to your story, unless you are writing about a protagonist in isolation, which is a unique kind of story. And novels about one person off alone (usually a “man against nature” structure) are challenging to write because of the dearth of a “supporting cast.”

 

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