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Ask Questions to Find Your Story

Ask Questions to Find Your Story | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

So much important information seems to be missing in so many novels—especially first novels by aspiring authors. Novel writing is tricky; there are countless essential components that all need to mesh cohesively. To me, the key to reaching that goal is to ask a lot of questions.

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The Funnily Enough
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Integrating Tone into Dialogue

Integrating Tone into Dialogue | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Dialogue is a key part of any story and it’s usually what readers find most engrossing. They might skim long descriptions, but when they get to someone speaking that’s where they’ll get pulled back in.
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Macro vs Micro Conflict

Macro vs Micro Conflict | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Life is conflict. Story is conflict. One of the reasons we seek out great stories is for help dealing with conflict in our lives. We learn lessons from our characters, look for inspiration from heroes that have to risk everything to achieve their goals. After experiencing that level of conflict, sometimes our own are easier to keep in proper perspective. If they can make sense of their crazy worlds, we should be able to make sense of our own.
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Brainstorming Does Not Work

Brainstorming Does Not Work - Galleys - Medium
By the end of the twentieth century, its origins forgotten, brainstorming had become a reflex approach to creating in many organizations and had entered the jargon of business as both a noun and a verb. It is now so common that few people question it. Everybody brainstorms; therefore, brainstorming is good. But does it work?
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7 Surprising Ways to Overcome Writer's Block

7 Surprising Ways to Overcome Writer's Block | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
The words stop flowing and we can become desperate. There could be a deadline looming or just our own daily goals. Writer’s Block – fearful words. How can we overcome it and move forward? Try these tips from the pros:
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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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Openings

Openings | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
It’s a writer’s truism: the most important paragraph is the first one. It opens the door to the reader, inviting him or her to come into the place you have prepared for them. Your opening must convince them that this place is somewhere they want to visit, and perhaps stay for a long time.
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Ten Ways to Tighten Your Writing & Hook the Reader

Ten Ways to Tighten Your Writing & Hook the Reader | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Time is our enemy. Most people don’t have enough. This is why our writing must be tight, direct and hook early. Modern audiences have the attention span of a toddler hopped up on Pop Rocks and Mountain Dew. We can’t afford to let them drift.
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The Five Criteria for Creating Successful Story Goals

The Five Criteria for Creating Successful Story Goals | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
How do you know if your story goal is good enough to support your entire novel?

In last week's post, The Story Goal - The Key To Creating A Solid Plot Structure, I discussed what a story goal is and the importance of this goal. This week, I want to give you a checklist to find out if you have a good enough story goal.
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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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