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The Funnily Enough
The whole world of writing in one place
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How to End a Chapter

Chapter endings in fiction have something in common with the Roman god Janus—they, like Janus, look both backward and forward. They are transitions between what has already happened and what is about to break loose. They are links and doorways and connection points.

 

The end of a chapter—the last scene, the last paragraph, the last sentence—brings closure to one chapter but at the same time needs to lead readers and characters to the next scene and chapter and story event.

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Clarifying Thoughts: Revising Your Outlines to Make the Writing Easier

Clarifying Thoughts: Revising Your Outlines to Make the Writing Easier | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

We talk a lot about revising our prose, but what about revising our outlines? Refining your story ideas and general plot breakdown in the outline stage can get a lot of the "first ideas" down on paper and leave you fresh to be more creative--and original--during the actual first draft.

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Joy Of Completion

Joy Of Completion | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

It can be quite a gruelling process to write a novel.

 

Sometimes you will just know there's no way what you're writing is going to end up in the finished product.

 

Things aren’t going well. There’s no point carrying on. The story isn’t working. You’re going to have to rewrite everything, maybe even give it up as a bad job and start from scratch.

 

Why not just stop now and not waste anymore time going down a blind alley?

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Ray Bradbury Gives 12 Pieces of Writing Advice to Young Authors

Ray Bradbury Gives 12 Pieces of Writing Advice to Young Authors | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Like fellow genre icon Stephen King, Ray Bradbury has reached far beyond his established audience by offering writing advice to anyone who puts pen to paper.

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Embracing Intuition

Embracing Intuition | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

This month, my writing coach gave me a challenge: every problem or challenge I faced, I was to approach it first using my intuition, or “gut feeling.” Only then (if still needed) would I use my usual, analytical approach.

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Joel Robinson’s Whimsical Photographic Abstractions of the Joy of Reading

Joel Robinson’s Whimsical Photographic Abstractions of the Joy of Reading | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Imaginative visual vocabulary for that feeling you can't put your finger on.

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You Look Familiar: Four Tips on Adding a New Twist to an Old Plot

You Look Familiar: Four Tips on Adding a New Twist to an Old Plot | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

There are more contradictions in publishing than words, and one of the more frustrating ones a trying-to-get-published writer faces is the old, "I want something fresh, but the same as what's selling" conundrum. But how do you know what's fresh and what's the same old, same old? And harder still, how do you put that fresh face on your "been-there-written-that" story?

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Finding Your Writer's Voice

Finding Your Writer's Voice | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

One of the fundamental challenges confronting every writer is “finding their voice”, their unique expression in the field or medium in which they’ve chosen to express themselves. When Alasdair Stuart was asked to identify the quality that defines the stories he’s drawn to, he cited, “a strong confident authorial voice. That feeling of, for want of a better word, swagger. If you can hit that point where you are in absolute control of your story… but it’s still you, then that really makes me sit up and take notice.”

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Finding Your Natural Writing Voice

Finding Your Natural Writing Voice | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Voice.

 

We all want it. We worry about whether we have it or not. We're pretty sure we need it in order to get published, yet we might not even know exactly what it is. And it's almost for certain that we don't know how to get it.

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Finding Your Voice

Finding Your Voice | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Having a strong voice that people will enjoy spending time with is a key part of writing a story. Lots of books on writing will encourage you to have a unique and distinct voice. Not many of them will tell you how to go about developing one.

 

So how do you make sure your voice is strong and consistent and interesting?

 

Here’s how I would do it.

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Seems So: Are Your Characters Making Misleading Assumptions?

Seems So: Are Your Characters Making Misleading Assumptions? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

One strength of point of view (POV) is that you get to judge the world by your POV character's standards. They can assume incorrectly, have an unfair opinion, or just flat out be wrong. But sometimes ambiguity gets in there when you don't mean it to.

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Coincidence Is Part Of Storytelling

Coincidence Is Part Of Storytelling | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Coincidence is an important part of most stories. People have to meet, things have to happen at the appropriate time, connections need to be made.

 

In some cases ridiculous coincidences that would never happen in real life are the only way to make a story work in a satisfying manner. The need for fantasy/wish fulfilment in storytelling is a very strong instinct within all of us. It’s why we like stories in the first place.

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What About Characters Who Don't Match Stereotypical Male and Female Qualities?

What About Characters Who Don't Match Stereotypical Male and Female Qualities? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Don’t some men and women have characteristics that usually belong to the opposite sex? How do we handle those characters in a believable way?

 

Are we geared to automatically like stereotypical male and female characters more?

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Save the Best for Now

Save the Best for Now | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

So many times as I’m writing, I think, “This would be great for the sequel.” Soon, I have all this amazing material—characters, plot events, settings—that willappear. Someday. In a sequel to a book that hasn’t been published.

 

That’s my mistake. I need to cram all the good writing into this novel. Right here. Right now. Damn the torpedoes, we’re taking this baby down. (Okay, I got a little nautical right there.) Here’s my point: Why save amazing bits for a later book that may never materialize? No publisher or reader will want to start reading on book two. Stuff all the best and most awesome scenes into the manuscript you have now.

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Indestructible Rules Of Writing

Indestructible Rules Of Writing | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

These are the rules you must never, never, never break when writing.

 

Just kidding. There aren’t any rules that can’t be broken when writing fiction. But these are the things I choose to abide by when I’m writing my stories. My personal rules. There’s absolutely no reason you need to follow any of them.

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Why obstacles are good for stories

Why obstacles are good for stories | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

In pervious posts, I discussed the importance of turning points to the development and structure of a story, suggesting that their function is to introduce new information, which should be as surprising as it is inevitable. Surprising, because it keeps the audience/reader guessing, and inevitable, because it has been deftly prepared for by the writer. Another way to view turning points is as obstacles, blocking the way to the protagonist’s goal, forcing a change in direction.

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How To Write Better Fiction

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

Sometimes a scene in a story has nothing wrong with it (nothing obvious, anyway) and yet it doesn’t work. It’s a necessary scene, important to the story, but it feels flat and uninteresting. People who read it will notice it’s a bit lacklustre, but not really know why, or how to fix it.

 

Usually it’s a more sedate scene, a moment of discussion or reflection, maybe dialogue heavy, but artificially turning it into an action scene doesn’t feel right.

 

For those instances, I offer the following techniques to make a flat scene more immediate and engaging.

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The Next Time Someone Says the Internet Killed Reading Books, Show Them This Chart

The Next Time Someone Says the Internet Killed Reading Books, Show Them This Chart | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it
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Move Beyond Fear: Find and Keep Your Writing Voice in 10 Steps

I’ve been teaching creative writing, along with mindful living, for years now. And I can say, without hesitation, that fear is ubiquitous. Its presence, more than anything else, stops writers in their tracks.

 

All seems to be going along beautifully, words and ideas are flowing, characters and plots are taking shape, and wham! a certain self-consciousness seeps in. The flow slows to a trickle, we begin to falter, and, worst of all, we judge ourselves harshly, comparing our present writing to our glory days. Or we compare ourselves against other writers, those in our midst, or literary greats of times past.

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Creating Characters with Personality

Creating Characters with Personality | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

My characters didn’t always have personality.

 

In blind date jokes, the matchmaker skirts around the topic of a candidate’s looks and plays up their wonderful personality. It was the reverse situation for my characters. According to an editor, they had the looks, even the quirks, but no personality. I was mortified to discover I had cardboard characters. I didn’t understand how it could be possible when I had developed a character notebook filled with descriptions, pictures, and imaginary back story.

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Giraffes and Illegal Downloading

Giraffes and Illegal Downloading | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Why do we live in a world where so many bad things happen?

 

That’s the sort of thing kids ask, and for which there never seems to be a good answer. But there is.

 

If bad things didn’t happen, if earthquakes and hurricanes and tsunamis didn’t exist on this planet, neither would life. Well, maybe some blobs in the oceans, but that’s about it.

 

For living things to evolve and adapt, they need to be threatened with annihilation. Catastrophe and disaster and extinction level events are what got us to where we are today. Allow me to explain.

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Ebook Evolution

Ebook Evolution | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Personally I don’t believe you need to win the reader over with your first line or your first page. I don’t buy a book sight unseen, start reading without knowing what it’s about, and if I’m unimpressed by the first 250 words, chuck it in the bin.

 

The only people who read like that are agents.

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Layering Flavors in Your Writing

Layering Flavors in Your Writing | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

I am on an eternal quest to link writing with cooking. If I could simply saute my words over a medium heat, I’m sure I could whip up some splendid prose.

 

I recently attended a cooking class (a gift for my birthday). A lot of what the lady said I already knew, but then she mentioned something that piqued my interest. It was a soup class and she had a bowl of salt and pepper next to the stove. Every time she added a new ingredient, she tossed in a generous helping of the seasonings. She called this “layering the flavor.”

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The Good Seed — Donald Maass

The Good Seed — Donald Maass | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Will you ever run out of story ideas? What a laughable question. Of course not! There are more stories in your cocktail napkin collection than you’ll be able to use. And new story ideas–? Just read the newspaper. Cull from family lore. Do some research. Or just live life. Novel ideas are everywhere.

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