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Story Checklist

Story Checklist | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

In Writing Screenplays that Sell, Michael Hauge offers us advise from a structural perspective that echoes that of other screenwriting gurus such as Field, Volgner, McKee, to name but three. Much of this advise can be of benefit to novelists such as myself, seeking to tighten and make supple, the overall shape of their stories. This post provides a checklist, taken from Hauge’s book, which should prove useful to screenwriters and novelists alike.

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Do Spoilers Spoil Stories?

Do Spoilers Spoil Stories? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

No one likes the surprise to be ruined, whether it’s a book, a movie or a birthday present. Even if the reveal isn’t all that great it’s still annoying if someone blurts it out before you get to see for yourself.

But the truth is finding the solution to the puzzle isn’t what makes a story work. The identity of the murderer isn’t the reason you feel satisfied when you turn the last page. Discovering the fate of the lovers isn’t going to transform a terrible book into a worthwhile one.

We often reread books and rewatch movies and enjoy them knowing full well what’s going to happen. In fact we often know how a story is going to end even the first time round. When you read book four of a seventeen book series, exactly how much danger do you think the hero can get into, seeing as he has at least another 13 adventures to endure?

But isn’t “what happens next?’ the driving force behind getting the reader to turn pages? And if it isn’t, why do spoilers annoy us so much when we can happily revisit stories for the umpteenth time?

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Writing a Novel? 6 Visual Storytelling Techniques to Borrow From Film and TV

Writing a Novel? 6 Visual Storytelling Techniques to Borrow From Film and TV | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Many of us were raised watching thousands of movies and television shows. The style, technique and methods used in film and TV are so familiar to us, we process them comfortably. To some degree, we now expect these elements to appear in the novels we read — if not consciously, then subconsciously.

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17 Ways To Make your Novel More Memorable

17 Ways To Make your Novel More Memorable | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
There are always certain ways to make your novel more memorable. Here are 17 tips for writers who want to do just that.
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Things You Should Know When Writing About Guns

Things You Should Know When Writing About Guns | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
If you’re a writer in a genre space — particularly crime, urban fantasy, some modes of sci-fi — you are likely to write about some character using some gun at some point.
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11 Novelist-Tested Ways to Defeat Writer’s Block

11 Novelist-Tested Ways to Defeat Writer’s Block | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
I’m super excited to welcome Warren Adler to our blog. He’s the author of The War of The Roses and Random Hearts, which you’ll likely recognize as major motion pictures from the 80s and 90s. As a successful career author, Warren has … Continue reading →
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Cause and Effect: Understanding Story Flow

Cause and Effect: Understanding Story Flow | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
In the real world, the cause of something happens before the effect. A light doesn’t turn on until we flip the switch, a ball doesn’t fall before it’s dropped, and we can’t eat until we’ve gotten our food.

But in writing, we can put words into any order we want.
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Different Rules for Different Writers

Different Rules for Different Writers | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Readers do not treat all writers the same. This may seem obvious but a reader does not approach the latest best-seller from a well-known author with the same mind-set as they would a writer who has no track record. This means well-known authors tend not to be held to the same standards as someone trying to get people to read novel number one.

Not that those standards are necessarily better or worse, they’re just not the same.

However, much of what we think of as good writing and good storytelling comes from the books we read. And most of these books are from the established authors we all know and admire.
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Nicholas C. Rossis's curator insight, October 10, 12:28 PM

Great article that points out something that all new authors should keep in mind, namely that new writers have to prove their credentials.  They will be judged more harshly than established authors.  They have to prove themselves to their readers: mistakes that established authors can make are strongly highlighted when new writers make them.  

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Jennifer Maestre | Sculpture | Portfolio

Jennifer Maestre | Sculpture | Portfolio | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Jennifer Maestre is a Massachusetts-based artist, internationally known for her unique pencil sculptures.
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How Do You Create Character Motives?

Motivation is a fundamental part of writing. It’s what makes us all tick; therefore, it also makes all your characters tick. What they do and why they do it is what drives the story forward to its conclusion. And the driver is always motivation.

 

Motives push us to act in certain ways, to get what we want, to achieve certain goals. Your characters are no different.  But how does a writer create the motives that make their characters behave in ways that help push the story forward?  How do you create those character motives? How do they come to be?
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6 Tips for Writing Minor Characters

6 Tips for Writing Minor Characters | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
I’m sure most writers know how to craft a major character; they understand the importance of their leads and that they should occupy the most page space. Yet every story needs supporting characters. Today, it’s all about the minor players, those characters we see briefly and yet are so well written they’ll stick with us. Sometimes the minor characters can steal the show. It’s not uncommon for TV shows to migrate a single episode character into a recurring one because viewers demand more.

Follow these tips and you’ll create a few background characters worthy of a readers’ attention.
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Three Steps to Start a Daily Writing Habit

Three Steps to Start a Daily Writing Habit | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
It’s one thing to call yourself a writer and quite another to actually write. So what separates the pros from the amateurs? Is it God-given talent? Natural skill? Or something else?
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Story Signposts

Story Signposts | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

I find my daughter’s middle school English homework a lot more interesting than she does.

She had a page of notes regarding “signposts” she should be looking for as she reads through various books for school this year. I did some poking around online and found that this material comes from Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst. The notes were interesting to me, as a writer. For one thing, they pointed out areas that could be problematic for us as we write our books.

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How to Write Compelling and Balanced Backstory

How to Write Compelling and Balanced Backstory | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Writers often spend hours creating a realistic and compelling backstory for each major character in their novels. After all that hard work, it’s natural to want to include as much of that as you can. But there’s a fine line between clarifying a character’s past and writing too much backstory. Readers don’t usually need to know much of the characters’ history in order to engage with the story. Here are some ways to help you find the right balance.

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Five Traits to Help You Create Your Character's Personality

Five Traits to Help You Create Your Character's Personality | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Creating a character is more than choosing a name and physical details. Who they are and how they act plays a much stronger role in how a novel unfolds. There are dozens of ways to develop the inner depths of a character, and one way is by understanding their personality.

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50 Best Films About Writers, Ranked

50 Best Films About Writers, Ranked | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

There are a lot of bad movies about writers out there. At Flavorwire, we wanted to make the definitive list of the 50 Best Films About Writers of all time, with the requisite mix of biopics, book adaptations, foreign films that actually feature female writers, po-mo meta surrealist studies of madness (very frequent), and the works of Woody Allen. Punch the keys and read this list:

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Grounding Your Reader

Grounding Your Reader | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Today I'm going to discuss a bit about what I call “grounding” the reader. Quite simply, grounding is the fine art of letting the reader know what is going on.
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3 Ways to Build a Stronger Story

3 Ways to Build a Stronger Story | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Authors face a great many challenges as we put together our manuscripts. Primary among them is working to erase our tracks on the page, creating a seamless connection between readers and our fictional world.
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The Problems of First Person Narrative

The Problems of First Person Narrative | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
There are many articles about which is better when writing fiction, 1st or 3rd person. And most of the time they end up making quite generic points and then put the decision back in the hands of the writer without any real reason to choose one over the other.

The two main points tend to be: 1) Both can be made to work if handled appropriately (which, frankly, could be said about anything) and 2) 1st is trickier to get right than 3rd.

Which is true, yet most first time writers are drawn to 1st person, while the majority of published books are written in 3rd. So why is it trickier to writer in first person? And how can you overcome these difficulties?
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How to Develop Your Best Novel Writing Ideas

How to Develop Your Best Novel Writing Ideas | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Writing a novel is no small task. In fact, it’s a momentous task. Some writers spend years just eking out a first draft, followed by years of revisions. And that’s before they even think about the grueling publishing process.

In other words, you’re going to spend a lot of time with your novel. So you better love it. No, wait–loving it is not enough. You have to be in love with it. You have to be obsessed with it.
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When to Revise What in Your Novel

When to Revise What in Your Novel | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Unless you're one of those rare authors who can write and polish a novel in one draft, you'll go through several revision passes between the first and final draft. How many depends on both the novel and the writer, and you might do as few as two or as many as twenty. No matter how many drafts a novel needs, there are a few things you can do to make the process more efficient.
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How To Rekindle Your Love of Writing

How To Rekindle Your Love of Writing | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Writing is a lonely process.

It takes a lot of courage to sit down and write day after day, week after week, month after month.

The struggle can continue for years, while self-doubt, criticism and fear bully you like a gang of thugs.

As if that’s not torture enough, you may want to move beyond writing for yourself, and pursue publication.
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Why No Advice Is Perfect: Character Emotions

Why No Advice Is Perfect: Character Emotions | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

There’s never going to be a “one size fits all” guideline for any aspect of writing. Every story is different, so some advice doesn’t apply to us. What’s right for one genre might not be right for another genre. Ditto for the point of view of the story. Or the characters. Or the plot.

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Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 34: Repetitive Dialogue

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 34: Repetitive Dialogue | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Forget all the other writing rules, but always remember this one: The reader’s time is valuable. Readers don’t want to listen to us or our characters repeat ourselves—especially in repetitive dialogue.
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Story Structure: Pity, Fear, Catharsis

Story Structure: Pity, Fear, Catharsis | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
More than 2000 years ago Aristotle deconstructed drama in his Poetics. I only just came across it (well, the abridged version), but better late than never.

His ideas on what makes a good story boil down to pity, fear and catharsis, which more or less constitutes beginning, middle and end.

Greek notions of theatre back in the day weren’t exactly varied (I believe they only had three television stations—primitive times) but I think his core ideas still hold true today.
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