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The Funnily Enough
The whole world of writing in one place
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Character Thoughts Shouldn't Take Over

Have you ever been caught in a tight space, maybe where the air is stale and there’s not a lot of room to move or breathe and you’re sweating because the air is warm and getting warmer and the space is getting tighter and tighter and where the ceiling is moving down and the walls are creeping in and the floor . . . Well, where the floor is pressing up, pushing you toward that lowering ceiling?

 

May I recommend that you, knowing what this feels like, don’t imprison your readers inside a character’s head.

 

What this means in terms of the practical is to give readers variety. Rather than locking them for pages inside one character’s thoughts, introduce readers to new settings and action and dialogue and even to the minds and emotions of other characters.

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Ramp Up The Fight To Amp Up The Tension

Ramp Up The Fight To Amp Up The Tension | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

If you’re writing fiction, that anger and tension is a REALLY good thing. There’s actually twenty-three of these techniques but if I give them all at once, it’s like taking a drink of water from a fire hydrant.

So…we’re going to start with the five that will work best in fiction.

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If You Can’t Read More, Read Better

If You Can’t Read More, Read Better | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

As writers, we must feed ourselves on words. Which means reading, as much as possible. Probably more than you’re reading now. But how can we do that when we’re trying to spend less time consuming, and there are only so many hours in the day. Maybe it’s a case of reading “better”.

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Create Time To Change Your Life

Create Time To Change Your Life | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Unfortunately, there are only 24 hours in a day, and we sleep for about 8 of them. Subtract the hours we spend eating (3), showering and dressing and fixing up (1), cleaning and running errands (1), driving (2), working (8)… and you’re left with an hour or two at most. Often less.

 

Eventually, I figured out how to do all the things I wanted to do. I’ve achieved all of that and more, and in fact I have more leisure time now than ever. But first, I had to figure out the fundamental problem: how could I find the time to change my life?

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What Makes Your Character Think That'll Work?

What Makes Your Character Think That'll Work? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

If a character’s family is in dire financial straits and our hero decides to rob a bank to pay off the debts that are threatening to make his family homeless, you can probably accept that as a plot for a certain kind of story.

 

However, if you start writing that story with just that information what you will get is a pretty flat, unengaging tale. The key element missing from the summary I provided above is why — why does the MC come up with that solution?

 

If you don’t know that, you don’t have a story.

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How to Enrich Your Story With Three Levels of Empathy

How to Enrich Your Story With Three Levels of Empathy | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

How can we deepen our characters with the finer nuances of emotion – and so skillfully that readers have no option but to engage with our characters? And with our stories? In a word, how can we enrich our tales with empathy?

 

The term is not as simple as it looks.

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On Tonight's Episode: Fixing Episodic Chapters

On Tonight's Episode: Fixing Episodic Chapters | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Some chapters flow together, building off one another so the story feels like it's one seamless entity. Others feel disconnected. Every chapter might work on its own, but the book reads choppy, there's a lack of tension, and the reader doesn't feel like they're getting anywhere, even if the plot in advancing.

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If You’re Consuming Too Much Then You’re Creating Too Little

If You’re Consuming Too Much Then You’re Creating Too Little | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

These days, it seems that if you’re not consuming something – videos, podcasts, blog posts, books, magazines, films, social media streams – then you’re probably asleep.

 

There’s so much great stuff out there and many of us feel compelled to keep up at a dizzying rate. My clients and students confess that their biggest challenge is finding time to create.

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How to use theme to orchestrate your story

A story typically comprises of a sequence of linked events, centering on a protagonist who pursues a difficult goal against a rising tide of obstacles orchestrated by the antagonist, (or antagonistic forces). In achieving the goal, the protagonist has to overcome an inner weakness or limitation, which results in his/her becoming a wiser and more accomplished person.

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Secrets to Creating a Likeable Protagonist: Put Your Character in Pain

Recently I heard a writer in Hollywood talk about how to create a likeable protagonist. He said that there were “only two ways to do it,” and that is the conventional wisdom in screenwriting. But there are really several ways that the writer doesn’t seem to know about, and I thought it might be wise to look at some of these techniques in-depth.

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Bedding-In The Premise

Bedding-In The Premise | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Any idea, no matter how crazy, can be made to work in a story. As long as you set things up well enough, the reader will buy whatever you’re selling.

 

That doesn’t mean providing any old nonsense will work, but it does mean any old nonsense can be made to work, whether it's how the impossible murder was committed, or why the billionaire fell for the 6/10 brunette, or the guy who claims victory by using The Force.

 

The important thing to remember is it’s the stuff during the build-up that will make or break the story, not the explanation after the fact.

 

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The 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar

The 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

On Twitter, Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats has compiled nuggets of narrative wisdom she's received working for the animation studio over the years.

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Why Boredom Is Good for Your Creativity

Why Boredom Is Good for Your Creativity | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Like most creatives, you probably have a low boredom threshold. You're hardwired to pursue novelty and inspiration, and to run from admin and drudgery. Boredom is the enemy of creativity, to be avoided at all costs. Or is it?

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Ten Reasons Why I’ll Quickly Reject Your Story

I sometimes wish that I could explain to a young writer why I’m passing on a story. So I’m going to talk about it here.

 

Here are ten reasons why I reject stories quickly—usually within the first page:

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Novel Writing: 7 Simple Ways to Make a Good Story Great

There are subtle differences between fiction that’s passable and fiction that pops—fiction that shows that you know what you’re doing. Consider agents and editors your über-readers. If you win them over, a larger audience won’t be far behind.

 

Here are seven ways successful authors make their stories crackle with authority and get the gatekeepers on their side. These techniques will work on any kind of fiction: literary, romance, mystery, sci-fi, you name it. What’s more, you can implement them no matter where you are in your writing process, from first draft to final polish.

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A Whole Lot of Points Of View: Multiple Viewpoints in Your Fiction

A Whole Lot of Points Of View: Multiple Viewpoints in Your Fiction | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

In most stories, you have one protagonist at the center of the action, and his or her scenes are going to outweigh everyone else’s. This is the person we relate to most as readers, and we want to know what they are doing, so it makes sense that this central character will dominate the scenes in a story, even one in which you’re sharing more than one character’s point of view.

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Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away, & Atypical Antagonists

Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away, & Atypical Antagonists | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

If you're familiar with his body of work, you'll notice there's rarely an obvious "bad guy." There are certainly characters who are kind of assholes, or monsters, or people who make bad choices. Overwhelmingly, however, Miyazaki chooses to focus on atypical antagonists, like industry at the cost of war or destruction of the environment. If a villain does exist, they are nuanced and rarely (if ever) 100% evil. More often than not, the "bad guys" are simply selfish -- a very human trait, and one any of us could fall victim to.

 

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The YES-BUT Method of Deepening The Plot

The YES-BUT Method of Deepening The Plot | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Every story is about a problem that needs to be solved, and the protagonist is the only one who can do it. That’s basically the definition of plot: the constant struggle of the character(s) to solve an intolerable problem and (re)establish order. But how do you make that problem increasingly difficult and complex enough to sustain a whole story?

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Characters We Love To Hate: How To Pull Off Unlikable Characters

Characters We Love To Hate: How To Pull Off Unlikable Characters | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

What is it about characters from literature who are awful, miserable, hideous people? What makes them so awesome?

 

The answer is: Brilliant writing.

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Words to Avoid When Pitching Your Book

Words to Avoid When Pitching Your Book | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Right off, we want you to know that you should be shameless when it comes to marketing your book. Your success as an indie author depends on it.

 

But there is an art to pitching your book to agents, booksellers, media, bloggers, and ultimately to your readers.

 

As you’re moving toward a marketing strategy for your book, including developing copy for your book summary, resist the urge to use the following words in your updates, tweets, pitches, elevator speeches, and in any of your other marketing endeavors.

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Your Protagonist Must Decide

Your Protagonist Must Decide | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

His hero didn't make any decisions.He never took up the quest. Time after time dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters offered a greater pur­pose, a mis­sion, a project big­ger than him­self, but he rejected them all. He was con­tent to stay there, accept­ing the sta­tus quo. He was unwill­ing to make decision.So instead we wait for hun­dreds of pages while the hero rejects one mean­ing­ful story after another.

 

At the end of the day, a story, like a life, doesn't have to be per­fect. You just have to choose something.

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Deep POV: Lesson Two by Karen Witemeyer

Head-hopping kills deep POV. The whole point of writing in deep POV is for your readers to experience the story vicariously through your POV character. If you jump into another character's head you break that bond. Yes, there are best-selling authors who head-hop, but I would argue that they aren't writing with deep POV.

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5 Techniques for Adding Subtext to your Story

5 Techniques for Adding Subtext to your Story | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

About 90% of the time, we human beings don’t say what we mean to say. Instead, we speak in subtext. The beauty of subtext is that it makes human interaction fascinating; and, likewise, it’s what will make your story worth reading. If you, as a writer, can fundamentally understand the importance of subtext, I guarantee that you'll see the benefit in adding it to you story.

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Inside Random House: Bringing Our Authors' Books to Life

Interesting although clearly a bunch of lies.

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7 Things Sapping Your Creativity Right Now

7 Things Sapping Your Creativity Right Now | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

This was a very easy article to write. I was late in getting started this month, and as my publication deadline got closer and I could no longer wait until I “felt” like writing an article, I was forced to sit down and do it.

 

In doing it, I thought about the last month (when I meant to be getting started on this as well as other creative projects), and I identified seven things that have gotten in the way of my creativity. Maybe you’ll see yourself in some of these.

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