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The Funnily Enough
The whole world of writing in one place
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Dialogue Decisions--How to Choose When to Use Dialogue (and What Kind) in Your Fiction and Nonfiction Writing

Dialogue Decisions--How to Choose When to Use Dialogue (and What Kind) in Your Fiction and Nonfiction Writing | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Dialogue isn't easy to write well. In fact, it is one of the red flags that editors use to spot an amateur writer. Maybe it's because beginning writers use dialogue more as a vehicle to deliver information than for its primary purpose: to increase tension and emotion in a scene.

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Rivet Your Readers with Deep POV

Rivet Your Readers with Deep POV | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Mastering Deep Point of View transformed my writing. While it isn’t possible to share the entire topic in a single article, I will convey a condensed version of one aspect of material that I normally teach over the course of several hours.

 

This skill was imparted to me by the first professional editor who worked with me. After she finished explaining and demonstrating the techniques that she wanted me to apply to my manuscript, I saw what a difference they made to the story.

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Your Plot Moves Too Slowly

Your Plot Moves Too Slowly | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

This is the complaint you’re likely to get from an editor when you simply don’t have enough happening. There aren’t enough twists and turns. Sometimes you might hear that your plot is too “linear.” Just another way of saying, not enough twists and turns, or not enough layers or threads.

 

You can gauge your pacing (and that’s what we’re talking about, pacing) in a variety of ways.

 

First, how long are your scenes?

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What to Do When People Don't Get Your Story

What to Do When People Don't Get Your Story | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it


On the one hand, it's incredibly rewarding when someone really "gets" your story, when they understand the theme or the characters or the symbolism. When someone else connects to your story, you're filled with a "this is why I write" joy.

 

But when someone doesn't "get" our story, we can't help but wonder why? What happened? Did we really do something wrong? Or is the negative opinion just that—an opinion.

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Be Water, My Friend

Be Water, My Friend | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

 

This is how I feel about the writing process - or any creative process, for that matter. Remember writing academic papers? I do. As an English major, I had to write a lot of them. I remember sitting down and forcing myself to write. To use Bruce Lee's analogy, I was trying to force open a rusted spigot, hoping to get the water flowing. I could usually make it happen, but it was tough.

 

How do we get our creativity to flow like water?

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Donald Maass: Without Delay

Donald Maass: Without Delay | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

While reading a well-reviewed novel, have you ever felt both awed and bored? You know the feeling. This is soooo beautifully written… when is something going to happen?

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5 Quick Fixes to Make Readers Love Your Villains

5 Quick Fixes to Make Readers Love Your Villains | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Writers In The Storm welcomes back award-winning author and RWA RITA-nominee, Shannon Donnelly.Today she’s talking to us about villains we love to hate and how to keep them from becoming a cardboard stereotype whose every action is predictable and boring.

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Genre Blending

Genre Blending | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

I’m fascinated by the very concept of genres. Every genre, whether it’s fantasy, science fiction, horror, western, romance, mystery, or others, has some level of pre-determined tropes and topics. It’s up to the writer to find which ones they want to fulfill, which ones they want to subvert, and which should be ignored.

 

Arguing about the specifics of any genre will undoubtedly find gray areas and stories that fit into more than one category. I’m going to discuss the merging of fantasy with other genres, and how some of them work together.

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How to Slam Dunk Your 90-Second Pitch

How to Slam Dunk Your 90-Second Pitch | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

1. Establish basic details. What’s your title, genre, and word count? 

 

2. State your logline. Can you summarize your novel in one sentence? Thriller writer Jon Land recommends a character-driven logline that explains “who is trying to do what and why.”

 

3. Introduce your main character(s). What do they want? What makes them interesting? Beyond the protagonist and antagonist, keep names to a minimum. Use relationships instead: “his bodyguard” or “her ex-husband.”

 

4. Reveal the inciting incident. What catapults your protagonist into the story? What shatters his or her world?

 

5. Continue with complications. Be specific. “The hero battles the dark side” won’t do. Why should we care? Don’t include theme or subplots — there’s not enough time.

 

6. Don’t give away the ending. This isn’t a synopsis. Leave the agent intrigued so you score that coveted business card.

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Character Development: Exploiting Weaknesses

Character Development: Exploiting Weaknesses | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Just as everyone has a weakness (and most of us, many weaknesses), our characters should struggle with faults as well—whether it’s a debilitating fear of butterflies, an injury that never fully healed, or an inability to trust others, the most realistic of characters struggle with various flaws. Once these weaknesses have been established, it’s our job as the writer to exploit them.

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Scene and Sequel

What is this issue? Scene and sequel. Or in other words, one action has to bring about a reaction and then some sort of conclusion or consequence which then leads to a new action setting about a new reaction. Sounds basic. Makes sense.

 

But oh so easy to forget. Especially if you are winging it. And, I guess, even when you are planning and outlining.

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5 Lessons Learned From Writing 3 Novels

5 Lessons Learned From Writing 3 Novels | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

I’ve produced some incredibly bad writing during my 10 years of aspiring-writerdom. But I’ve also spent literally hundreds of hours poring over my writing, figuring out what makes it weak, and finding ways to make it stronger.

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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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Put Baby in the Corner: WriteYourself Into a Corner

Put Baby in the Corner: WriteYourself Into a Corner | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

I'm about to suggest something that many folks will point to and say, "No! Bad advice, don't listen to her!"

 

Write yourself into a corner.

 

I do this a lot, because I like to get my characters into as much trouble as possible without always knowing how they'll get out of it. For me, this makes the story more unpredictable, because if I don't know how they're going to get out of it going in, how can the reader figure it out?

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How to Create Visual Metaphors

How to Create Visual Metaphors | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

A visual metaphor is an image that connotes something over and above its denotative aspect – it carries an idea that resonates with readers or audiences on many levels. It forms part of an image system that informs and supports the story’s hidden meaning while at the same time helping to define its visual context.

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Use the Senses in Fiction

While we learned all about the five senses when we were kids, and while we sometimes read of characters with extra senses, I’ve found that writers often limit their characters to a single sense.

Characters interact with their story world by seeing people and events and objects. They don’t necessarily notice every detail, but they do notice, through the visual, quite often.

 

That is, they see a lot more than they touch, taste, feel, or hear.

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Five Things to Consider During the Revision Process

In the past six years, I’ve judged a lot of writing contests for both published and unpublished work, though far more of the latter. I’ve judged entries in a variety of sub-genres, and the majority of unpublished work I’ve judged were pretty terrible. Honestly, I don’t think most of the entries were critiqued, edited, revised – nuttin’ honey!

 

Most of these entries shared common short-comings. I hesitate to call them mistakes because in most cases, they were easily fixable. I’ve lumped these “short-comings” into five major areas. So once you have finished your first draft and are ready to polish your manuscript, take a look at these five issues.

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Exploring the Story Netweork

Exploring the Story Netweork | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

In this third and final post on understanding story networks, we look at the dynamic relationship that exists between the 2nd turning point, climax, and denouement.

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Writing Believable Dialogue

Writing Believable Dialogue | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

One of the most important keys to writing an engaging novel is dialogue. However, some writers are able to write it well, and some writers have trouble. Today I thought I would discuss four pitfalls that writers often find themselves and some ways to combat this nasty issue.

 

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5 Ways Writers Can Get the Most Out of Goodreads

The Goodreads Author Program is free and we currently have more than 48,000 authors in our program. Over the years, the same question has come up: “How can I get the most out of Goodreads?”

 

So, I thought about the authors who have been most successful on our platform and came up with five pieces of advice. If you follow them, you’ll be off to a strong start toward helping your book be discovered by the more than 10 million readers in the Goodreads community.

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How to Revise a Novel

The number one most important thing I’ve learned in my time as a writer is how to revise a story. And yet it’s not something I ever see taught in college writing classes. Even books on the subject can be hard to find–which is odd. Maybe revision just isn’t sexy. I can say it’s a lot of work. But revision is the best, strongest, most useful tool in your arsenal, and is more than worth whatever time it takes to get it right.

 

Here’s a quick guide to what I’ve learned about revision in the last few years.

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Working Out Doesn’t Just Make You Stronger, It Makes You Smarter

Working Out Doesn’t Just Make You Stronger, It Makes You Smarter | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

This new infographic, from OnlineCollegeCourses.com points out that exercise has some great benefits for not just how our body works, but how our brains work, too. It’s clearly important for kids, who need all the brain power they can get for school, but it’s equally important for adults: A fit worker is a fast, efficient worker.

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A Writer’s Reasons For Falling In Love

A Writer’s Reasons For Falling In Love | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

If your story has two (or more) people who fall in love, it’s easy to explain away those feelings in vague terms. She was beautiful, he had amazing eyes, it felt like he’d known her all his life, her heart skipped a beat and she just knew he was the one etc. etc. etc.

 

Although those sorts of reasons are perfectly believable and exist in real life as well as in numerous works of fiction, there is still a sense that the writer doesn’t really have much of an idea of why these particular people hooked up, or even what love really is. Readers make allowances for it because they don’t really know either. But just for fun I thought I would try to make a list of non-vague reasons for people to fall in love.

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The 21 Traits Your Fiction Book Should Have

Do you wonder want readers want? In today’s writing tip, you’ll discover the 21 key traits of best-selling fiction excerpted from The Writer’s Little Helper by James V. Smith, Jr.

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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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