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The whole world of writing in one place
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Readers Face the Slush Pile: A Few Hard Truths

Readers Face the Slush Pile: A Few Hard Truths | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

First novel attempts are out there (thank God this option wasn't around when I thought my first attempt at writing a book was made of awesome--it wasn't and would be an embarrassment to me now.) Rough drafts are out there. Total, breathtaking masterpieces are out there. But it's up to the consumer to sift through it and discover and applaud the ones worthy of it by posting great reviews and passing on word of mouth.

 

But here's the thing: lots of readers seem to be perfectly impressed by mediocre writing.

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3 Ways To Hack Into Your Spirit And Become Infinitely More Creative

3 Ways To Hack Into Your Spirit And Become Infinitely More Creative | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Infusing your writing with spirit is a very underestimated but very valuable skill.

 

You may be aware of writers and bloggers who infuse their writing with spirit every day, but you haven’t been aware that this is what they’re doing.

 

The lively spirit that exists in these blogs is part of the secret of their success.

 

The question is: how can you do the same?

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Foreshadows and Plants in Fiction

Foreshadows and Plants in Fiction | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Any writer who produces a first draft of a novel will be faced with a really cool dilemma: by "The End," you'll acknowledge how much you've improved and grown as a writer, but now you'll also have to make sure the tone and the story are even. A lot of the time revision will include foreshadowing and planting characters or information so the reader won't be unpleasantly surprised as they read along.

 

Here are some tips on foreshadowing and planting characters and info:

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21 ways to make your plot more compelling

This is second of five checklists I've put together to help me in revising my novel. My first checklist, for characterization, is 38 Ways to Check for Character Life-signs. I'm also compiling checklists for Starting your Story (the all important first page and first chapter), Setting/Description, and Voice/Dialogue (coming soon).

 

To build a compelling plot, start with a tried and true structure...

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Easy Ways To Keep The Reader Interested

Easy Ways To Keep The Reader Interested | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

The reaction I want when I read a story is Ooh, possibly Ah and maybe, if I’m lucky, Woo hoo! What I usually get when reading a WIP is Meh, maybe Blah and more often than not, Huh?

 

It’s all very well advising writers to write something interesting, but how do you do that? It’s all subjective isn’t it? When you read a good book it holds your attention — sometimes it’s obvious why, sometimes it isn’t.

 

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How Not To Start a Story: 5 Bad Story Openers

How Not To Start a Story: 5 Bad Story Openers | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Your story’s opener is your one opportunity to capture an editor’s or agent’s attention. Learn how to avoid the critical mistakes (such as providing too much backstory) that lead to rejection and write a great beginning for your story. Today’s tip of the day, taken from Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers At Page One by Les Edgerton, illustrates the five wrong ways to start a story.

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Author, We Have a Problem: 4 Tips on Plotting Your Novel

Author, We Have a Problem: 4 Tips on Plotting Your Novel | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Plot is just the events that make up your story. The same story can be told a million different ways because the plot can always be different. This is an important distinction, because it allows you the freedom to change your plot without feeling like you're losing your story. A good example here is how I re-wrote Blue Fire five times. The plot changed constantly, the story never did. To use my house analogy: You build a house once, but you redecorate it every year.

 

The house is story. Decorating is plot.

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9 Things I've Learned About Writing by Teaching Freshmen to Write

When I first started, I was a Strunk and White apostle. Good writing was clean, clear, and concise. I still believe that, but what I’ve learned from trying to teach is that much of what makes writing hard has little to do with the sentences on the page.

 

Writing well isn’t just about using commas correctly or choosing strong verbs; it’s also about understanding yourself, your audience, and what the goals of writing are.

 

So here are nine things I didn’t know about writing well until I started teaching 18-year-olds how to write.

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What Does the Editing Process Look Like?

What Does the Editing Process Look Like? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Several of you have been curious about editing inside a publishing house. Every publisher has their own process, and they may call each step by a different name. It’s basically three steps, and they’re usually done sequentially, although there is overlap and not every publisher does all three of these steps. The edits might be done by one person, or two or three people.

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Stephen King’s 20 Tips for Becoming a Frighteningly Good Writer

Stephen King’s 20 Tips for Becoming a Frighteningly Good Writer | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Have you ever wished you could peer inside the mind of one of the greatest writers in the world and find out exactly what makes them tick?

 

Well… here’s your chance.

 

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Creating Villains or Other Bad Guys in Middle Grade Novels

Creating a good villain is challenging. In The Fire in Fiction, Donald Maass discusses the difficulty of writing a good villain: “…they are frequently cardboard. Most are presented as purely evil.”

 

To create villains with depth, it’s important to consider positive character traits as well as negative ones. I love the character of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter books, because early in the series, Harry sees him as a typical, mean, unlikable villain, but as the books move along, Dumbledore has mysterious faith in him, and it leads me, as a reader to question how I feel about him along.

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The Emotion In Your Writing Is Failing, and Here’s Why

The Emotion In Your Writing Is Failing, and Here’s Why | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Have you ever read a story you wrote and feel like it’s missing something?

 

It’s probably got something to do with that age-old writing advice: “Show, don’t tell.”

 

But why does “telling” fall flat? The part of the brain where we process words is not the same part of the brain where we process emotions. Sure, you know what “grief” means, but when you read the word it doesn’t make you feel grief, does it?

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Structure of a Scene, Part Two – Motivation Reaction Units

Structure of a Scene, Part Two – Motivation Reaction Units | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Anyway, so back to Motivation Reaction Units (MRU), another fun technique I learned about in Margie Lawson’s Deep Editing Course. MRU’s are basic Stimulus/Response patterns. Margie included in her lecture this informative post by Randy Ingermanson (the ‘Snowflake Guy’) to help drive home the lesson. Randy refers to this particular set as the small scale structure of a scene. In other words, you’ve set up the Scene & Sequel, and now you have to write the smaller stuff, the actual sentences and/or paragraphs that make up the scenes.

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The Joy of Discovery: Keeping Readers Hooked Through Story Revelations

The Joy of Discovery: Keeping Readers Hooked Through Story Revelations | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

My husband and I were talking the other day at dinner about the new Men in Black movie. We both loved the original, felt the sequel was meh, and I'd just read a horrible review about the third. This saddened me, as I'd wanted to see it (mostly to see Josh Brolin play a young Tommy Lee Jones).

Then the hubby said something profound.

 

"The first movie had the joy of discovery in it that was missing from the second."

 

And he nailed why a book, especially a series, can fall flat.

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The Four Types of Dramatic Tension – Part Two

The Four Types of Dramatic Tension – Part Two | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Today we’ll move on to the remaining three types of tension. Once again we’ll use Stockett’s novel for illustrative purposes. This is for two reasons. Firstly, because I want to demonstrate how even a “quiet” genre like women’s fiction can be made to crackle with tension on every page. And secondly, because it’s easy enough to pull examples of the different types of tension from any novel you could name – but it’s far more helpful to see how one author has incorporated the various tools into one book.

 

Because that’s the whole idea, isn’t it? – to vary the techniques we use to create tension, and then layer them one on top of the other in order to produce the most wildly compelling read possible.

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What's the difference between capturing an emotion and creating a mood?

What's the difference between capturing an emotion and creating a mood? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Science fiction and fantasy stories transport us to a whole other world. And immersing us in a fantastical place needs more than just great world-building — it needs a sense of mood. The best speculative fiction authors are experts at conjuring the mood of a particular time or place.

 

But what's the difference between summoning a particular mood, and bringing to life an emotional state? And how can you excel at both?

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25 Things To Know About Writing The First Chapter Of Your Novel

25 Things To Know About Writing The First Chapter Of Your Novel | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

1. Every Book A Hook (And The First Chapter’s The Bait)

 

A reader walks into a bookstore. Spies an interesting book. What does she do? Picks it up. Flips to the first chapter before anything else. At least, that’s what I do. (Then I smell the book and rub it on my bare stomach in a circular motion and make mmmmmm noises.) Or, if I can find the first chapter online somewhere — Amazon, the author’s or publisher’s site, your Mom’s Myspace page — I’ll read it there. One way or another, I want to see that first chapter. Because that’s where you grab me by the balls or where you push me out the door. The first chapter is where you use me or lose me.

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Letters of Note: It has never got easier

Letters of Note: It has never got easier | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

In March of 1962, acclaimed author John Steinbeck wrote the following letter to Edith Mirrielees — a lady who, as his professor of creative writing at Stanford 40 years previous, had been an enormous influence on his development as a writer and, he later claimed, one of the few things he respected about the university.

 

His fantastic, insightful letter later featured in the paperback edition of Mirrielees's book, Story Writing.

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What Your Character Really Needs, The Central Question

For the last couple of kicks, I’ve been talking about what you really need to create a believable, dramatic protagonist.

 

The script doctor Michael Hague has pointed out that for every successful motion picture, there is a central question that revolves around the protagonist: “Who are you?” After studying this insight for a dozen years, I’m convinced that Michael is right. You can’t write a powerful story of character without it.

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Do Your Word Counts Measure Up?

Do Your Word Counts Measure Up? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Setting a goal to write so many words a day (as Stephen King and many other writers do) can work for you, but only when you’re generating new material.

 

That might seem obvious, but keep in mind, there are six stages in the creative process and in only one of those six stages do you have your fingers on the keyboard or pen on the page.

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Summer Submissions To Literary Agents And Editors

Summer Submissions To Literary Agents And Editors | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Summer’s a fantastic time for R & R. Sometimes, rest can rejuvenate the imagination.But if you’re career-minded, summer is also a great time to keep your submissions on track.

 

Here’s why.

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Hunger Games — Lessons From the Film Adaptation

In this series I’ve called out several ways, and several specific instances, in which The Hunger Games, the film, is different than the book upon which it is based. The author, Suzanne Collins, received a screenwriting credit (which may or may not mean anything in terms of who actually wrote the final shooting script, and it only very rarely signifies a collaboration), so lets assume she was in on this very deliberate departure.

 

Or at least signed off on it while sitting on a yacht in Cannes.

 

But why change anything, one might ask?

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Conflict In Story Is Like Finding Gold

Conflict In Story Is Like Finding Gold | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Conflict is the key to writing an interesting and dramatic story.

 

When you come across a moment where the main character faces a difficulty, that is a precious and valuable thing to have found. You need to keep digging until you get it all out.

 

What you shouldn’t do is find ways to make the problem go away. In real life you should, in fiction you shouldn’t.

 

There are three main cop-outs I encounter again and again when it comes to writers creating a wonderful opportunity for conflict and then running away from it as quickly as possible. If you do any of these, you need to stop. You’ve found gold, stop throwing it away.

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Maria Smith's comment, May 26, 2012 2:29 PM
Totally agree with you...no conflict, no story, so ramp it up!
Good post.

www.firstdraftcafe.blogspot.co.uk
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Who's There? Introducing Characters in a Scene

Who's There? Introducing Characters in a Scene | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Have you ever walked into a room, thought you were alone, and then realized someone else was there? A little jarring, right? It's unexpected and totally throws you. Well, you can do the same thing to your reader if you forget to let them know there are other characters in the scene besides the narrator.

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