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The Funnily Enough
The whole world of writing in one place
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17 School Writing Rules You Need to Unlearn in the Real World

17 School Writing Rules You Need to Unlearn in the Real World | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

We have some good news for English class haters: some of the rules your teachers drilled into your brain are absolute hooey in the real world. Who really says “an historic”? And personally, we love starting sentences with “but,” “and,” and “or.” Read on as we explore these and 15 other school writing rules that really don’t have a place in modern writing. English teachers, you have our apologies.

 

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You’re the Hero of Your Life

You’re the Hero of Your Life | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Guess what? All these psychological things that make our characters seem real apply to us too. After all, we are real. *smile*

 

Just as our characters have inner conflicts and journeys, so do we. And Michael Hauge shared a tip for how to uncover what’s holding us back.

 

He said that to identify our inner conflict, we should ask ourselves to fill in the blank:

 

“I’ll do anything to reach my goal, just don’t ask me to do xyz, because it’s not me.”

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5 Basics About Dialogue You Need to Know

5 Basics About Dialogue You Need to Know | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

“Dialogue is conversation–nothing more, nothing less”

 

[T]he purpose dialogue needs to serve in a scene to make the cut, and how to write dialogue unique to your characters. But first we need to tackle the basics of beats, tags, and punctuation. Get them wrong and you can ruin an otherwise well-written scene (and mark yourself as an amateur).

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If You Can't Say It Succinctly Then Don't Say It At All

If You Can't Say It Succinctly Then Don't Say It At All | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

If you're unclear on something, the answer is not more words. The answer is: say the same thing more effectively. Change your words, don't just add to them.

 

The reason boils down to the fact that the basic job of a query letter is NOT to tell the whole story and give away all the juicy details, but to get someone intrigued enough by your premise to read your manuscript.

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How Clichés Can Help You Create Great Characters

How Clichés Can Help You Create Great Characters | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

When I think of who my favorite characters are, the ones that come to mind have some unique quality that yells out for attention, screaming louder than the thousands of mediocre characters taking up precious ink and paper. Darth Vader. Harry Potter. Merlin. The list goes on. Everyone’s got their favorites and their own reasons for liking them.

 

The problem is that it’s easy to take this advice too far. By avoiding clichés, you can end up creating bland, uninteresting characters no one will remember.

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A Rare Glimpse Inside The Writing Process Of A Comic Genius

A Rare Glimpse Inside The Writing Process Of A Comic Genius | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

The late Mitch Hedberg is one of my all-time favourite comedians. His off-the-wall, non-sequitur observations and one-liners were delivered with amazing wit and impeccable timing, but his career was tragically short-lived.

 

The way Mitch delivered his material belied the fact that every single word was carefully worked out in advance, with hours of writing and working and daydreaming with his notebooks and a pen in his hand.

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What Lucy taught me about writing

What Lucy taught me about writing | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

In the darkness, the ceiling shimmers with fifty-seven channels of nothing on. Then, suddenly, there she is -- Lucy Ricardo. My muse, my all, my Ambien.

 

Before I know it, eight episodes have passed and the sky is lightening with a new day. I have an epiphany! Everything I need to know about surviving in publishing today can be learned from “I Love Lucy.”

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A Simple Marketing Plan Outline for Indie Authors

A Simple Marketing Plan Outline for Indie Authors | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Recently on the phone with a buyer for a large bookstore retailer, she very casually mentioned a major pet peeve she has with ALL authors. She asserted that most authors would do much better in sales if they only had one thing. A marketing plan. Though we think authors need other things too: distribution, a good book to begin with, an unlimited supply of coffee and Advil…we get it. Authors need a marketing plan.

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Resist Giving Characters A Helping Hand

Resist Giving Characters A Helping Hand | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

It is tempting, especially at the beginning of a story, to have things happen in a way that is convenient, just to get the ball rolling.

 

But the temptation for a writer to lend a hand, to put their character in the right place at the right time, makes it harder to get to know the character. You are in fact delaying the start of the story.

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Writing 21st Century Fiction: A Sneak Peek

Donald Maass, bestselling author of Writing the Breakout Novel and The Fire in Fiction, now takes an in-depth, comprehensive look at the craft and method of writing 21st century fiction. You might be asking, “What exactly is 21st century fiction?” Read this exclusive sneak peek from Writing 21st Century Fiction to find out:

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What Successful People Do With The First Hour Of Their Work Day

What Successful People Do With The First Hour Of Their Work Day | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

How much does the first hour of every day matter? As it turns out, a lot. It can be the hour you see everything clearly, get one real thing done, and focus on the human side of work rather than your task list.

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25 Resources To Fuel Your Writing

25 Resources To Fuel Your Writing | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

All growth is painful and creates resistance. It makes us uncomfortable even when we want it, even when we know it’s essential for our evolution as writers. And sometimes we wonder if it’ll ever end, if we’ll ever reach a point where we can lay back and say we’ve reached the top. But growth is a never ending process that we writers thrive on if we go about it in a practical way.

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5 Ways You’re Preventing Readers From Suspending Disbelief

5 Ways You’re Preventing Readers From Suspending Disbelief | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Unlike non-fiction or memoir, the whole point of fiction is that it isn’t true. Or rather, that’s half the point. The other half is that this untruth is constructed in the pattern of truth, in order to shine a light on the reality of our lives. As Pablo Picasso said, “Art is the lie that tells the truth.”

 

Readers open a book with the understanding that everything to follow is fake. But they also open that book with the understanding that the author is going to do his darnedest to make part of the reader’s brain believe it’s true. Enter suspension of disbelief.

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The Antihero – Writing a Dark Character that Readers will Love

The Antihero – Writing a Dark Character that Readers will Love | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Few character premises are more interesting and complex than the antihero. The concept has been around as long as Shakespeare, as is evident when looking at the main character in “Macbeth.”

 

Constructing an interesting antihero can be a great addition to stories and novels. Their complexity can make other characters seem dull, and maybe even annoying.

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Come On, What's the Worst That Can Happen?: Plotting Your Novel

Come On, What's the Worst That Can Happen?: Plotting Your Novel | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

What's the worst that can happen? is probably the most-recited piece of advice on plotting. It's good advice, and I'm a big fan, but as the joke illustrates, "worst" is very subjective.

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The Human Beneath the Hero

The Human Beneath the Hero | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

A common trait of beginner fiction is that its protagonists are all – to use the technical term – “total badasses.” They have no appreciable sense of fear, pain, apprehension, or doubt. They take multiple drastic wounds without slowing down, are threatened with all manner of terrible fates without flinching, and always seem to know the right thing to do.

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The Power of THEME

The Power of THEME | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Strong stories have great themes. They may also have great plots but, for a story to endure, theme is everything. Plot is what happens. Theme is the why.

 

A theme is the meaning of a story. As humans, we lust for meaning, for pattern in all things, including fiction.

 

How do we power our stories with a great theme?

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What is the Throughline of a Novel?

Once you conceive your basic story idea and characters and start writing, you’ll reach the heart of the book, that painful place where, like Hansel and Gretel, it’s not uncommon to become lost in the dark, savage woods. It’s scary in there. Intimidating. Confusing. It’s easy to become frightened and lose your way as you try to move forward. But as someone said who must have once found herself in a similar position, “The only way out is through.”

 

The best way to travel the length of your story is to grab hold of the throughline—the driving force of the book—and refuse to let go.

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7 Essential Elements of Scene

7 Essential Elements of Scene | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Whether you write short stories, novels, or memoirs and/or creative nonfiction, you will write countless scenes. Keep in mind the following elements when creating a scene. Just as plot has many different layers, every scene has layers of functions, too.

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Competing Goals

Often when we think about goals, we think about external goals that come in the form of antagonistic opposition. That is, Character A has a goal and takes  action to advance the goal. Character B says, "Bitch, please," and takes  action to prevent the completion of Character A's action. This is the classic character-versus-character form of external conflict. But what happens if there's no Character B, no "Bitch, please," no antagonistic opposition from outside forces?

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The Slow Start: How to Open Your Novel With a Bang

The Slow Start: How to Open Your Novel With a Bang | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

One of the most annoying facts about inexperienced novelists is that they often will open their novels with tons of backstory about some character or place. The novel might begin with something like “The war was ongoing” or “this is the reason these two people did not get along with one another” or some other long explanation.

 

The truth is that we live in an era where people who read will put a book down if it is not grabbing them by the brain and the heart after the first few pages. I try to do this with every book I write.

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Story of a Writer: Ray Bradbury on Storytelling and Human Nature

Story of a Writer: Ray Bradbury on Storytelling and Human Nature | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
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Why We Keep Getting the Same Old Ideas

Why We Keep Getting the Same Old Ideas | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabridge Uinvervtisy, it deosnt mttaer in waht oredr the litteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a ttoal mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is besauae ocne we laren how to raed we bgien to aargnre the lteerts in our mnid to see waht we epxcet tp see. The huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. We do tihs ucnsolniuscoy.

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Vertical and Horizontal Writing

Vertical and Horizontal Writing | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

The short-story writer, André Dubus, described writing as having vertical and horizontal moments. In an interview for the anthology, Novel Voices, he spoke of the challenges in his first novel, The Lieutenant: “I’m not sure I knew how to bear down then. . . . I was writing what I call hori­zontally, making scenes go. In my forties, I switched to writing vertically, trying to get inside a world and inside a character.”

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How to Write Better Stories

How to Write Better Stories | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

I always thought the protagonist's goal drove the narrative. But that's a limited view. There's something missing here. If you want to have a character with realistic depth then they need more than motive. They must posses an underlying need.

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