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The Funnily Enough
The whole world of writing in one place
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Susan Sontag on Writing

Susan Sontag on Writing | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Gathered here are the most compelling and profound of Sontag’s thoughts on writing, arranged chronologically and each marked with the date of the respective diary entry.

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10 Questions Your Readers Shouldn’t Have to Ask

10 Questions Your Readers Shouldn’t Have to Ask | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

The most important thing an author can present in the beginning of any scene is a question that will hook readers into needing to know the answer. The second most important thing is making certain that question isn’t the wrong question.

 

You want reader’s asking concrete questions. Who stole the Statue of Liberty? How is Westley going to escape the Pit of Despair? Why did Cinderella order glass slippers a size too large?

 

You don’t want them asking the dreaded four-word question: What’s going on here? Or, worse, the end-of-the-line three-letter question: Huh?

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"Is This Meaningful Dialogue?" She Asked.

Dialogue is a tough thing to write, and it's even harder to write well. Like with the other Band-Aids, I can't promise a quick fix will solve any larger problems an agent or editor may have with your work. What I can do is make you aware of the most common pitfalls I see when it comes to writing dialogue.

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Police Procedure: 5 Ways We Get It Wrong

Police Procedure: 5 Ways We Get It Wrong | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

You know, I wish I could say the errors I see in books about police procedure and forensics are all mistakes, but they’re not...not all of them. Some of inaccuracies occur due to ill-informed editors who think they know it all because they’ve religiously watched CSI on TV since episode one hit the airwaves. Other mistakes occur because writers fall into the rut of “that’s the way it was done in so-and-so’s book,” therefore it must be right.

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Six Tips to Editing your Fiction

Six Tips to Editing your Fiction | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

The editing process can be tedious at times. For me, this is a love/hate relationship. I sometimes despise it and sometimes I enjoy it. Here are some wonderful tips (reminders) when you're editing your work.

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How To Write Killer Flashbacks in 3 Steps

Flashbacks are a perfect way to establish back story or wrangle with some key emotional issue. How to achieve that is easy. It takes only three simple steps.

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Choosing The Right Words Is One Key To Good Writing

Choosing The Right Words Is One Key To Good Writing | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

At First, Just Write


When the muse is striking, or even if it’s just sitting on your shoulder yawning, just write. Go with the flow and don’t pay much attention to what your hands are doing. Gather momentum and go. Let your mind be a baby and wander where it will.

 

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Two Sides To Every Story. At Least.

Two Sides To Every Story. At Least. | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Tension is a key element of drama. Tension is a question. It’s an outcome you want to know. It’s anticipation. Tension comes in different sizes and shapes.

 

“There’s a bomb on the bus!” is a different kind of tension to “Are you waiting for someone?”

 

The big, explosive stuff (physical or emotional) takes care of itself. You may need to manage it, but tension will be present. My daughter’s been kidnapped! — very hard to underplay.

 

This post will be about working tension into smaller, more intimate scenes.

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Top 10 Books for Writers You Need to Read Now

Top 10 Books for Writers You Need to Read Now | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

This strikes me as the perfect time to make a list of my favorite top 10 books for writers. Books I believe, no aspiring writer should be without.

 

Ideally, read these when you haven’t really decided what sort of writer you’d like to be. Heck, you are not even sure if you want to become one, or you even can. (Skip to inspiration or memoirs section, my friend. Start with that one.)

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How to Use Sound to Make Your Novel Stand Out In A Sea of Noise

How to Use Sound to Make Your Novel Stand Out In A Sea of Noise | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

If you’re limiting yourself to just naming a sound, you’re missing out on the richness that the sense of sound could bring to your fiction. You’re speaking to your reader in a monotone.

 

Next to sight, sound is the most commonly used sense in fiction, but three techniques can help you change the sounds you use from plain background noise into something that adds new depth to your stories.

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How to Write Better Fiction

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

You know that feeling you get when you read a novel and become completely lost in it? You can’t put it down, so you lose track of time. When you finally finish, you wish it would just keep going.

 

Isn’t that the kind of novel you want to write?

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Plotting Act 2: Defeat the Sagging Middle!

Plotting Act 2: Defeat the Sagging Middle! | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

I am plotting Act 2, and the terror of the empty page is hitting, take two.


So, I’m going back to some previous posts about plotting to see what they will tell me about plot, especially the middle of this novel.

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4 Ways to Improve Plot/Climax in Your Writing

Many beginning novelists think of the climax of their story as one single, explosive event. While that’s true to a degree, the climax of a novel actually has four components:

 

1.The run-up to the climactic moment (last-minute maneuvering to put the pieces in their final positions)

 

2.The main character’s moment of truth (the inner journey point toward which the whole story has been moving)

 

3.The climactic moment itself (in which the hero directly affects the outcome)

 

4.The immediate results of the climactic moment (the villain might be vanquished, but the roof is still collapsing).

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Remember Pacing In Your Stories

There is nothing worse than reading a story where the author seems to have no sense of pace. Either the story moves far too slow or the movie races through the plot and the readers simply beg for a chance to breathe and take it all in.

 

Appropriate pacing is crucial for any story. As an author, you have to know when it is right to pick up the pace and keep things moving, and when it is appropriate to slow down.

 

Let's talk about some cases when this is done poorly.

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After The First Draft: Part 1

After The First Draft: Part 1 | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

A short series looking at how to approach revisions. Part 1: Avoiding the Accordion.

 

Once you have a complete first draft it isn’t always clear what to do next.

 

By a complete first draft I mean where you have a beginning, middle and end with no place markers you intend to fill in later. It may need a lot of work and even wholesale changes, but there are no gaps in the sequence of scenes.

 

At this point there will be some obvious technical changes you need to make. Clarify, cut, develop etc. but generally the story is there.

 

So you have this thing. Now what?

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Hook with humor and 6 other first chapter hooks

Hook with humor and 6 other first chapter hooks | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

A first chapter has to hook you, and there's lots of different ways to do it. A Spy Like Me, by Laura Pauling, hooks with humor - it's the funniest first chapter I think I've ever read.


The first two pages hook with the setting and character. Saavy is an American teenager in Paris, on a date with a cute French waiter. He asks her to close her eyes as he sets her up for a surprise.

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Writing About Death And Crime Scenes With Garry Rodgers

Writing About Death And Crime Scenes With Garry Rodgers | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

We are fascinated with death, as evidenced by the huge number of bestselling books, TV shows and films that center around it. But as writers, it’s not necessarily something we know too much about. If you’re interested in writing about death or crime, you’ll learn a lot from my interview today.

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Appeal to the Senses—and Emotions

Appeal to the Senses—and Emotions | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Often, in my editing of fiction, I see dialogue on the page, but with no indication of where the characters are, what they’re doing, what they’re seeing or sensing, and how they’re feeling. In order for your story and characters to come to life, your reader needs to be able see what the viewpoint character is seeing, hear what he’s hearing, and smell, taste or feel along with him.

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How to Write Decision and Action Scenes

How to Write Decision and Action Scenes | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

The Decision Scene in a story usually follows the Realisation Scene – the subject of last week’s post. The Action Scene, in turn, is most often preceded by the Decision Scene, forming a realisation-decision-action structure. Although this structure varies greatly in stories – other material might intervene – the scenes are causally connected.

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10 Bruce Lee Quotes That Can Improve Your Writing

10 Bruce Lee Quotes That Can Improve Your Writing | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

When you think of writing advice, it's probably not very likely that his is the first name to pop into your head. But when you read the ten chunks of wisdom that follow, that may change. Most of these quotes were originally about martial arts or life in general, but I think they have tremendous value for writers.

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Avoiding the Info Dump

Avoiding the Info Dump | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

The character arc demands that a writer supply the character's motivation to the reader. One of the easiest, and most insidious ways to accomplish this is with ye olde info dump.

 

What is an info dump and how can you avoid it?

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When Less is More: Taking Away Elements to Fix a Problem Scene

When Less is More: Taking Away Elements to Fix a Problem Scene | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

A few weeks ago I talked about killing off characters, and that earned me this delightful tweet from @rlbelliston:


@Janice_Hardy Haha. I have a writing friend who, every time I get stuck on a scene, tells me to just kill someone off.

 

A funny off-the-cuff statement? Maybe, but there's truth in these words as well. Because sometimes looking at who you can get rid of is the perfect way to fix a scene that's not working.

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Why Writers Should Read-Chapter Lengths

Why Writers Should Read-Chapter Lengths | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

During the last two week challenge, I read Brandt Dodson's book, The Root of All Evil. A fabulous, fast pace whodunit. Before I reached the middle of the book, I knew what topic I would present in today's post: Chapter Lengths.

 

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Mistakes That Inspire

Mistakes That Inspire | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Take it or not, there is no way we can do without mistakes. This is because we are made of flesh and bones, the trademark of mortals. Most of us have made one mistake or the other in the past that we paid very dearly. We also learn one thing or the other from such mistake. The fact is that mistakes have their costs. There is no way we will not pay for a mistake no matter how insignificant the cost seems. The question that comes to mind goes thus; is mistake unfriendly at all times? Is it possible for something good to result from mistakes?

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