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Status as Character Calling Card

Status as Character Calling Card | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

The main character in a story will tend to have something about them that marks them out. They need to be distinct from everyone else just as a matter of practicality.


However, while you as the writer may have a very clear idea of what’s so great about the character, the reader doesn’t. And letting them in on it halfway through the book is not going to do you any favours. You have to win them over in the first few pages. So how do you do that?


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The Funnily Enough
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Waiting For A Story To Get Going

Waiting For A Story To Get Going | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Story is about character. There’s what happens to the character, and there’s what the character does (not necessarily in that order).

Of these two key elements, what the character DOES is far more important than what is DONE TO the character.

Readers want to engage with a character who makes decisions and choices and takes action.

If it’s all about what happens TO the character, then chances are it’s going to turn out to be a boring story.
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Referencing Characters by Title Rather Than Name

Referencing Characters by Title Rather Than Name | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
In the time it takes you to write two small words, you might be dramatically distancing your readers from your story’s narrative. Scared? You should be. But don’t be that scared, because this one of our most common writing mistakes is just as easy to fix as it is to commit. And what are those two small but egregious words? Your character’s title (in place of his name).
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8 Tricks To Make Yourself Wake Up Earlier

8 Tricks To Make Yourself Wake Up Earlier | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
You know that waking up early is one of the best ways to be more productive. You know that many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs are early risers.

Yet no matter how hard you try, you can't seem to stop hitting snooze.

You don’t have to let productivity slip through your hands forever. Here’s how to finally wake up earlier:
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Tricks of the Trade 3: Electric Writing

Tricks of the Trade 3: Electric Writing | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Orson Welles once told an interviewer that he considered the greatest screen actor of all time to be Jimmy Cagney. The reason he gave for this was that Cagney always played at the top of his range but was never fake or over-the-top.

The effect of this full-on style of acting was magnetic. When somebody is pouring their all into what they’re doing, you can’t help but watch. Most actors can do this when the script requires. Cagney could do it all the time. Love scene, death scene, action scene.

It doesn’t matter how big you go if you can make it feel real. And because the audience believes the actor cares, they care.

When it comes to writing fiction you can use a similar approach to keep the reader engaged with what’s happening in the story.
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5 Amazingly Simple Ways to Transform Quiet Scenes into Exciting Scenes

5 Amazingly Simple Ways to Transform Quiet Scenes into Exciting Scenes | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Today, I worked on a difficult scene. It wasn’t a big action-packed scene; those are easy. Instead, it was a transition scene that moved the story along a week and had the potential to lose the reader with it’s lack of tension.
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Avoid Overwriting – Subtle is More Sophisticated

Avoid Overwriting – Subtle is More Sophisticated | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Overwriting or over-the-top writing, where it’s obvious the writer is trying way too hard to impress,can give an impression of lack of self-confidence and can scream “amateur” to industry professionals and discerning readers.

The novice writer prone to overwriting might take a basic idea, image, or action and keep adding more fancy descriptive words until the bloated passage has grown way out of proportion to its importance to the story as a whole.

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4 Reasons You Might Be Missing Out on Your Best Plot Ideas

4 Reasons You Might Be Missing Out on Your Best Plot Ideas | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Are you missing some of your best plot ideas? Some writers tell me they find it easy to create characters and story worlds, but struggle to create enough plot. What they often don’t realize is they already have significant and rather good plot material–if only they knew where to look.

Here are four places where your best plot ideas might be hiding.
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Story Openings

Story Openings | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
The blank page faces you, whether it’s the page in your hand or the one on the screen, the question is always the same – how do you begin? Do you want to set the scene with a sweeping landscape, or launch into the action with a gunfight or duel? Will you ease the reader in with a prologue and back-story, or start with a mystery and rely on the reader’s curiosity to draw them on. There are so many ways to choose from, but which is right for your story?
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How "Strong Female Characters" Still End Up Weak And Powerless (Or, "Do They Pass The Action Figure Test?")

How "Strong Female Characters" Still End Up Weak And Powerless (Or, "Do They Pass The Action Figure Test?") | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

The idea of writing a “strong female character” isn’t enough.

 

As shorthand, it sounds noble. It seems spot on. But a lot of writers — and writing advice about the subject — seem to get it wrong.

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Don’t Show, Don’t Tell

Don’t Show, Don’t Tell | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Generally speaking showing is considered a better type of writing than telling, but there are times when neither feels quite right. Fortunately there are a couple of techniques that use neither approach.

Telling is something like “John felt sad” and has the advantage of being short and quick, but it tends to lack emotional engagement. You know what the writer means, you understand the character’s experience, but you don’t necessarily feel it too.

Showing might be something like “John let out a barely audible sigh and a single tear rolled down his cheek” which lets you see what’s happening rather than being told. This, when done right (unlike my horrible example), enables the reader to feel more present and empathetic with the character, but it can take up a lot more space.

But what if you want to create an immediate and visceral effect for the reader without taking up too much room?
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When Telling Trumps Showing

When Telling Trumps Showing | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
When there’s a lot going on in a scene, like your hero is running pell-mell through the woods to evade an axe-wielding maniac, or you’re neck deep in a scene where a frantic flight attendant is trying to land a plane during a terrorist takeover, then pace is king. Slowing down to describe the soft melody of crickets and scent of pine needles won’t fit with scene A any more than play by play description of a passenger helping by giving CPR to a pilot fits with scene B.

This is not to say high action scenes are all tell, no show, because they aren’t! Only that word economy is important, and doing more with less is key. We maintain the intensity by choosing what is important enough to show, and what can be told.
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Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 38: Irrelevant Book Endings - Helping Writers Become Authors

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 38: Irrelevant Book Endings - Helping Writers Become Authors | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Is there anything more fun, more bittersweet, and more challenging than book endings? Arguably, nothing matters more for ensuring reader satisfaction than the ending of a book. As such, few parts of your story are going to be more important to get right. But naturally, the room for error rises in direct proportion to the importance of any aspect of your novel. One of the easiest writing mistakes to fall into in your book endings is actually one that has as much to do with book beginnings–and, indeed, the entirety of your book.
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The 5 Secrets of Choosing the Right Setting for Your Story's Climax

The 5 Secrets of Choosing the Right Setting for Your Story's Climax | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
When you plan your story’s climax, the first thing to come to mind might not be the setting. Too often, the climactic setting is an afterthought. The action, after all, is what’s most important–not where it takes place. But setting can make or break any scene in your story, and this is nowhere more true than in your story’s climax.
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5 Traits Creative People Have That Most People Will Never Understand

5 Traits Creative People Have That Most People Will Never Understand | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Creative people are troublemakers. They’re druggies. They’re slightly bonkers. And they usually dress funny… or so many of us would like to think.

Creative people are, by definition, different. Of course, everyone in the world is a little different from the next person, even though most of us are trying our best to blend in.

For creative individuals, “blending in” sounds like the exact opposite of being creative. Most creative individuals aren’t crazy; they’re simply misunderstood.

Of course, some are literally crazy… but only a small proportion. Most of us just don’t like lying about who we really are.
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Analyze the Character Arcs

Analyze the Character Arcs | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Today, we'll focus on how the characters grow over the course of the novel. Consider making notes here on any weak characters to get a head start on the character development sessions next week.
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How to Write Cliffhanger Chapter Endings

How to Write Cliffhanger Chapter Endings | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
You probably know what a cliffhanger is--a surprise or story twist that leaves the reader hanging at the chapter's end, so they are compelled to turn to the next page. Sort of like every episode of...
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Eyes body language

Eyes body language | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
The eyes are often called, with some justification, 'the windows of the soul' as they can send many different non-verbal signals.

For reading body language this is quite useful as looking at people's eyes are a normal part of communication (whilst gazing at other parts of the body can be seen as rather rude).

When a person wears dark glasses, especially indoors, this prevents others from reading their eye signals. It is consequently rather disconcerting, which is why 'gangsters' and those seeking to appear powerful sometimes wear them.
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How to Write Vivid Character Descriptions: Be Invisible!

How to Write Vivid Character Descriptions: Be Invisible! | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Most authors have encountered the advice: “Avoid the dreaded mirror scene!” Why? Because using a mirror to describe your main character is a crutch upon which many authors rely to give their readers a visual snapshot of the characters in a book. But giving a snapshot not only interrupts the flow of a scene, it also reminds the reader that an author wanted them to see something. To make an authentic, deeply-connected bond between reader and character, the author must immerse the reader in the character’s voice and stay out of the character’s way.
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Should Our Protagonist Be in the First Scene?

Should Our Protagonist Be in the First Scene? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Most stories open with the protagonist on page one, but every once in a while, our story seems to work best if we start with another character. Is this a good idea? Can we make it work?
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Tension & Pacing in Your Fiction

Tension & Pacing in Your Fiction | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Fiction depends on tension. Tension—a felt response to conflict—must be heightened as well as diminished in a literary work. Where this is accomplished depends on the nature of the plot and the character arc. While tension is created by practically every story element, pacing is largely a result of style and narrative technique.
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13 Ways To Start A Story

13 Ways To Start A Story | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
If you want an audience's attention, you have to get them interested - you have to get them to care about what has happened to someone. If you don't, they will move on to the next, more exciting story.

The beginning of your story must be vivid and important enough to create empathy in readers. They want riveting stories with negative beginnings, complicated (not boring) middles, and generally positive endings.
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5 Tips for #Writing Action Scenes

5 Tips for #Writing Action Scenes | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Often times as writers, we rush through an action scene. It happens so quickly in our mind’s eye that our fingers can’t write it out fast enough. However, these five tips will help improve the action scenes in your manuscript:
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What Your First 250 is Telling Your Readers

What Your First 250 is Telling Your Readers | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
I’ve said it before, and it’s likely I’ll say it several times more: your first few pages are, arguably, the most important pages of your book. And the first 250 words? The most important of those first pages.

This isn’t a secret in the publishing world, in fact, it’s why writers spend so much time and effort making that first 250 gleam. But I think, sometimes, writers don’t fully realize everything that the first 250 words of their manuscript tells readers, whether they intend them to or not.
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Tertiary Characters Have Their Own Issues

Tertiary Characters Have Their Own Issues | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
In the last post I talked about contentious issues and how they can be used to grab a reader’s attention. But sometimes issues can sneak into a story without the writer being aware of them, and in a way that can reflect very badly on the story and on the writer.

The main character is usually well defined, as are the core set of supporting characters, but there are a whole host of other smaller parts, from the neighbour with the occasional line of dialogue to the girl at the coffee shop who never says a word, that populate a fictional world and give it a life beyond the two or three people that really matter to the story.

And it is these small, seemingly insignificant roles, that can lead readers to infer things about the writer’s view of the world that the writer never intended and doesn’t think.
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How to Create a Strong Emotional Response in Your Readers

How to Create a Strong Emotional Response in Your Readers | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
Often the books that end up on best-seller lists carry a heavy emotional punch. Books that lack emotionality fall flat. When that emotionality isn’t infused in our work, our characters fall flat. The work as a whole can fall flat, and unfortunately the result will be unmemorable novel.
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