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20 Tips on Writing from Famous Authors

20 Tips on Writing from Famous Authors | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

There is an abundance of writing advice available to authors these days, but sometimes the classics are best. Some of the most famous authors of the past and today have doled out writing tips that can apply to any writer’s life. From Ernest Hemingway to Kurt Vonnegut, some of our favorite authors let the world in on their writing secrets.

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Stronger Emotions Through Melodrama

Stronger Emotions Through Melodrama | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Melodrama makes people think of bad soap operas. In fact, melodrama is about emphasising the emotional aspect of a story, but when you do that you can very easily tip over into hysterical characters who overreact to every little thing.

It’s a bit like overacting in a movie; a big performance can be enthralling if done right, and ridiculous if pushed too far. Melodramatic stories suffer a similar problem, although, like bad acting, they can still be entertaining when preposterous.

However, emotions are important in all stories. You want the reader to feel connected to the character and to empathise with their plight. And there are a number of techniques used in melodrama that can be applied (in moderation) to your story and help those feels reach your readers.
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More on Chapter and Novel Lengths

Firstly, I’m going to repeat a snippet of advice I dispensed in the first article and that is novel lengths are dictated by the story itself, not the writer or the editor or a specific written formula. Secondly, writers don’t have to fit their word count into generic set amounts. The story will dictate how long the novel will be.

But plenty of writers still fret about the length of their chapters, let alone the length of the novel.
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Go On! Make a Bad Decision! Your Story Will Thank You

Go On! Make a Bad Decision! Your Story Will Thank You | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Still life.  A painting term for something captured in time.  Frozen, unmoving, maybe even perfect.  Looks pretty.  Gets a little boring after a while.  Is far from real life, isn't it?


Still life never makes a good story.

Bad decisions? They do.
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What I've Learned from a World-Class Novelist

What I've Learned from a World-Class Novelist | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
When novelists speak about their craft, I feel like a voyeur - because what is more intimate than storytelling? Novelist Kazuo Ishiguro recently told me that he drafts novels long-hand, partly because writing at a keyboard feels "like a performance." Actually, he said this to about a hundred people, but he was looking right at me!
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Five Ways To Make Your Reader Care

Five Ways To Make Your Reader Care | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

I have found my new all-time, favourite writing advice:

 

'The bigger the issue, the smaller you write. Remember that. You don't write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid's burnt socks lying on the road. You pick the smallest manageable part of the big thing, and you work off the resonance.' ~Richard Price

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Want Readers to Adore Your Book? Learn How to Ace Your Climactic Moment

Want Readers to Adore Your Book? Learn How to Ace Your Climactic Moment | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Your story will contain many important moments.

 

Actually, we could say with accuracy that every moment in your story is important, since any misstep could conceivably jar the whole line of dominoes out of sync.

 

But the moment in your story is the Climactic Moment. This moment is the reason your story is even being told in the first place. It’s what you’ve been building toward since the Hook in the first chapter.

 

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Jack Ryan's curator insight, April 7, 5:22 AM

Good advice

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4 Storytelling Techniques Stolen from TV

4 Storytelling Techniques Stolen from TV | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
I’ve discovered that no matter what so-called good writers say, if you want to write a good and commercial novel, there’s nothing more important than structure.

Here are four more crucial storytelling techniques I’ve learned from the fast and formulaic world of television.
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The Secret of Getting Your Writing Unstuck

The Secret of Getting Your Writing Unstuck | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Whenever I get stuck writing, whether it be in the pre-writing stage or in the middle of a draft, my go-to tool for getting unstuck is the free write. Take a look at how you too can use free writing to get your writing unstuck!
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Art Holcomb on Rewriting Your Novel or Screenplay

You’ve just finished your first draft – or maybe your 10th draft – of your work-in-progress and you suddenly realize that there’s a problem you haven’t considered. You’ve become so intimate with the characters and their actions that you can no longer see where the potential problems are. You’re wondering now what errors you can no longer see but will be evident to the first editor or agent you send this to. You’re afraid you no longer have the perspective you need to see the story clearly.

Take a breath and relax.
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37 Ways To Write About Anger

37 Ways To Write About Anger | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
We all get angry. It is natural and it can be a good thing. When it is uncontrolled or unnecessary, anger will not do us any favours on either a personal or a social level.

The same is true for the characters we create. When we write about angry characters, we should remember that there is always something behind this emotion. Anger is usually a surface emotion. It is a reaction to an underlying problem.
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Getting Characters Out of Work Mode

Getting Characters Out of Work Mode | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Most characters have a profession—doctor, cop, assistant in a cupcake store—and in the course of doing their job they will slip into work mode. They will talk and act in the way you expect someone in that position to talk and act. The problem is that this can make them come across as stereotypical. 

 

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Your Book’s Inciting Event: It’s Not What You Think It Is

Your Book’s Inciting Event: It’s Not What You Think It Is | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Is the Inciting Event the first thing that happens in the story?

Is it the moment that kicks off the plot and the conflict?

Is it the First Plot Point at the end of the First Act?

Is it something in between?

Is it something that happens before the story ever starts?

The chief trouble with identifying the Inciting Event is that the term is used rather wildly to apply to just about any of the above. One writer calls the Hook the Inciting Event, another calls it the First Plot Point. Argh! No wonder we’re all so confused.

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LEONARDO WILD's curator insight, March 23, 9:12 AM

Utterly correct in stating that the "wild" use of story terms—Inciting Incident, Hook, Structure (vs. Plot), Plot (vs. Structure), Outlining (vs. Plotting), Plotting (vs. Outlining), Structuring vs. Plotting, and a whole lot more—are creating a breed of well-informed writers who will need an story-interpreter in order to communicate what it is they're talking about. In order to get out of my state of literary befuddlement, I decided to compare all these terms and see what they mean when the say "XYZ" ...

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9 Things You Can Do to Feel More Confident

9 Things You Can Do to Feel More Confident | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
One way to make a good first impression is to go into a situation with your chin up, head held high, exuding confidence. New research says we judge how confident others are in just .2 seconds, and if you’re feeling weak or insecure, your voice will give you away almost immediately. Here, a few scientifically proven ways to boost your self-esteem. 
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Fallacy: The Primer for Surprise

Fallacy: The Primer for Surprise | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
“How do mystery writers do it? How do they surprise their readers?” I reflected on Chesterton’s Father Brown and Doyle’s Sherlock and Rowling’s Comoron and a weird idea came to me — for years I had been analyzing authors and their plots. I would think through an author’s knack for withholding information and how their plot would hit on every detail but the solution to the mystery. Wasn’t that the surprise?

Turns out I had started in the wrong place. The first question on the origin of surprise is this: What goes on in the reader’s mind the moment they’re surprised?
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The WHY behind Why You're Not Writing

The WHY behind Why You're Not Writing | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Sometimes after people learn I’m a writer, they confess to me in private they have a book inside them. They dream about it and long to make that happen.

 

I know others who talk a lot about writing. They post writerly quotes on social media, links to publishing articles and always know the latest industry buzz. Another set are voracious readers; they can discuss a variety of cool topics or brainstorm story ideas. They love the whole literary scene.

 

What all these folks share in common is…

 

They’re not writing.

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How the Rule of Three Can Help Writers Avoid Backstory Slumps

How the Rule of Three Can Help Writers Avoid Backstory Slumps | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
When you use backstory in fiction to deepen characterization or add information about the story, it’s easy for readers to become confused. If readers enter a flashback or backstory and wonder when or where they are supposed to be, confusion often turns to frustration and they stop reading. That’s why it’s so important to craft backstory in an effective way.
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Bad Emotions Made Good

Bad Emotions Made Good | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
When writing a story you may find that the good guy has access to a limited range of emotions compared to the bad guy.

Basic emotions (happy, sad, angry, etc.) are easy enough to evoke, but more complex or darker feelings tend to be more difficult to justify.

For example, if the hero’s best friend wins the lottery, a good guy would react how? If he’s a decent human being, probably by being pleased for his friend.

If a friend of the villain—usually a not so wholesome individual—wins the lottery, then the response can be more varied. Pleased (because he plans to ‘share’ in the wealth), jealousy, resentment, maybe even plans to steal the money. These darker thoughts are often more interesting and offer more ideas for where to take a story.

While making your main character evil but still likeable is a very hard thing to achieve, that doesn't mean you can’t give them (and the reader) the chance to experience the darker side of their personality. 
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Fundamentals of Writing a Novel - Part 2

Continuing with the fundamentals of novel writing – those basics of any novel – we’ll take a look at a few more essentials that make up the list for authors to consider before embarking on writing a full length novel.
Part 1 looked at things like Planning, length, plot, POV, characterisation, conflict and structure, so now it’s the turn of The Beginning, Ending, Dialogue, Exposition and Balance.
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Jack Ryan's curator insight, April 7, 5:21 AM

#have alook!

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Tips for Writing Fight Scenes

Tips for Writing Fight Scenes | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Fight scenes, like love scenes, must drive the story forward. They must create change either by resolving something or by complicating something. Change advances the story. If your fight is gratuitous, if it isn’t serving a purpose, cut it.

Keep these points in mind when creating your believable and exciting fight scenes.
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Emotional Work

Emotional Work | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

We connect to fiction by association. We bring our biases, baggage and opinions to what we read. We say things like, “I hated that character”, or “I didn’t buy that character’s choices, I would never do that.”  We argue with authors in our heads. We wish for different outcomes. We discuss and judge the stories that we read, placing higher value on stories that stir us up than on stories that soothe us and too easily affirm our feelings.

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Fundamentals of Novel Writing – Part 1

There are some things that every writer should get right before any thought of publication (either through self publishing or traditional). With the onset of self-publishing, especially, there is a tendency of complacency (and lack of writing ability) in so much that a writer can write however they wish, because there are no ‘rules’ to follow.
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11 Writing Tips That Will Change Your Life

11 Writing Tips That Will Change Your Life | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
There seems to be two different camps regarding the writing process. One adheres to a strict regime of rules and writing tips to achieve success: you must write everyday, you must show your work to others, you must produce X amount of pages in X amount of time. The other camp seems to believe in no rules: do whatever you want, whenever you want.
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Dan Harmon On Story Structure

Dan Harmon On Story Structure | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Yesterday a friend sent me a link to Dan Harmon’s series of articles on story structure. I had no idea Harmon was passionate about story structure, though I should have guessed. In this article I barely brush the surface of what Harmon has to say, so I will be returning to this material in future articles. Or at least that’s the plan.
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Tricks of the Trade 4: Hero Upgrade

Tricks of the Trade 4: Hero Upgrade | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Making sure readers actually care what happens to your main character is integral to any story. You can’t just take it for granted that just because your story has stuff happen to a guy that the reader will automatically be interested.

If your story happens to be about a noble main character who has exciting adventures this is less of a worry since this is the basic story archetype from fairy tales and myths, but not all stories follow this template.

While the simplest way to endear your MC to the reader is to demonstrate their general decency, what’s sometimes referred to as a pat the dog or save the cat moment—the MC goes out of their way to be helpful to some innocent in trouble and their good guy credentials are confirmed—not all main characters are straight out of a Disney family movie.

Fortunately there are a number of other ways to boost your hero’s general appeal.
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