The Funnily Enough
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The whole world of writing in one place
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Draft Zero: Where Writing Begins

Draft Zero: Where Writing Begins | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Whether you’re a dedicated outliner or you wing it with no idea where your story might take you, the first complete draft you produce will have problems.

 

A lot of the time you will know a section isn't working before you even reach the end of the paragraph. Just not good enough.

 

You can stop and fret and worry about how to make it better, or you can keep going.

 

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Is Loneliness A Natural Part Of Creativity?

Is Loneliness A Natural Part Of Creativity? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Lady Gaga said her life was lonely. Danielle Steel said she started writing because she was lonely. And Dana Delaney said she never married or had children because she felt she could not do that and ply her craft. I wondered if loneliness is a natural part of creativity.

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The Art of Seeing

The Art of Seeing | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

A writer is nothing without ideas.

 

Ideas are so important to our craft that I do a whole class on them.

 

Where do ideas come from?

 

One place they come from is observation. Which means the ability to see is vital to the writer.

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How to become an e-book sensation. Seriously.

How to become an e-book sensation. Seriously. | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

This is a story about the end of the gatekeeper. About the movement spreading throughout media, from which book publishing is hardly exempt, as readers of Harry Potter, Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey have made all too clear.

 

It’s about the reading public – the great unwashed, the hoi polloi – no longer letting tastemakers decide what’s worth reading. It’s about the masses seizing the means of publication.

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You Can’t Just Leave Out The Boring Parts

You Can’t Just Leave Out The Boring Parts | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

It would be very convenient if, when people pointed out parts of your story that weren’t very interesting, if you could just cut them out.

 

Snip-snip, and there you go, perfect book.

 

Unfortunately, you can’t always do that.

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Whose Story Is It?

Whose Story Is It? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

You have to know whose story you’re telling. This is not something you find out. You have to make the decision and then you have to carry it out.

 

The key to creating a singular voice in a scene is to work out what the tone it is you’re going for. Tone is established through emotion. This can be within the characters, or it can be within the reader. Or both.

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As We Were Saying....: IT'S NOT HOW LONG YOU MAKE IT, IT'S HOW YOU MAKE IT LONG

As We Were Saying....: IT'S NOT HOW LONG YOU MAKE IT, IT'S HOW YOU MAKE IT LONG | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

The famous novelist Don DeLillo was once asked what it means to be a writer. He answered simply, “I construct sentences.” Short, straight, to the point he was, but tense, immense and dense in his meaning. Whether we are reading, writing, talking or listening, no one can disagree: a sentence lives. Words, yes, I agree, are the bricks, but sentences are the walls that make the buildings stand. The sentence is the vehicle that does all the heavy lifting, the toughest jobs. It is the life force through which we transmit our stories, our ideas, our nonsense, our truths and our lies. It moves us forward through time and space. It’s the most important and interesting thing we can do as writers: Write good ones, really good ones, one after another. But the long and short of it is; long and short sentences are very different in effectiveness and efficiency. Yes, it’s not how long you make them, it’s how you make them long.

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Showing an Authentic Villain

Showing an Authentic Villain | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

V for Villains...While readers often get a feel for the hero's moral compass from details shared about their upbringing and their relationships with others, I've read many books where I don't get any insight to why a villain behaves the way they do. Sometimes a villain who is evil simply for the sake of being evil can come across as a flat character. Here are my tips for creating an authentic villain as opposed to a cookie-cutter bad guy.

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Sarah Waters - On Writing

Sarah Waters - On Writing | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

1 Read like mad. But try to do it analytically – which can be hard, because the better and more compelling a novel is, the less conscious you will be of its devices. It’s worth trying to figure those devices out, however: they might come in useful in your own work.

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Plants and pay-offs

Plants and pay-offs | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

In this post, I want to focus exclusively on narrative elements that create foreshadowing, yet are very much part of the plot — actions and objects that participate directly in the story. It may be best to describe this sort of foreshadowing as planting and paying-off to differentiate it, for the sake of precision, from foreshadowing though theme and symbol.

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Throughline: Tying Your Story Together

Throughline: Tying Your Story Together | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

It’s a simple task to explain what throughline means. It’s making sure each scene feels connected to the main story. Whether it’s pivotal or not, even if it’s a scene without any of the main characters in it, or part of a sub-plot, if it starts to feel unconnected the reader will lose interest, and any momentum or tension you’ve built up will dissipate.

 

What isn’t so simple is to explain how to make sure YOUR story has a strong throughline.

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S is for Stakes

S is for Stakes | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

When writing a story, plot is of utmost importance, but the plot means nothing if there isn’t something of high value at stake for the main character. My favorite writing guru, literary agent Donald Maass, asks in his book on craft, The Fire in Fiction, “If your protagonist is not successful, so what?”

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Women Are From Venus, Men Are Annoying

Women Are From Venus, Men Are Annoying | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

I do think that a good writer, of whatever sex, must be able to create convincing characters of both sexes—characters who are recognizably male or female every time they open their mouths, every time the author dips into their internal dialog. Yet, if you read some romance, you’ll come across male characters who just aren’t convincing. Certainly in romance, we aren’t looking for completely realistic male characters (most readers are women who already have an all-too-realistic male in their lives).

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Dramatic Midpoints: Raising the Stakes

Dramatic Midpoints: Raising the Stakes | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

One concept a lot of writers struggle with is the idea of a dramatic midpoint. How does this differ from an act break? What does a midpoint mean, and what is it supposed to do?

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Plot and Subplot

Plot and Subplot | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

We know that plot and subplot form the basis of all stories. What may be somewhat less obvious, however, is the precise relationship that exists between the two. How are these narrative elements knitted together, and what patterns do they form in stories?

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15 Ways to Write Tight

You’re busy, I know. So are the people you want to be read by.

 

Then why do you go on and on? Why does it take so long to take get to the point?

 

Why can’t you follow the examples of Chris Brogan, Ernest Hemingway and other masters and write tight?

 

Here’s how to do it:

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Excessive Detail Can Kill Your Story

Excessive Detail Can Kill Your Story | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

The difficulty with coming up with a story is that you start with no frame of reference. There’s you and there’s the blank page.

 

The advantage of writing description is you have a definite place to start. You may use your skill and talent to augment it, but when you describe a mug, you have a pretty good idea what a mug looks like to get you started.

 

This is why aspiring writers will often bury themselves in long descriptions. Because it’s easier. But that’s also why it’s less impressive, no matter how beautiful the prose. And why you have to police yourself much more rigorously.

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THE '10 MISTAKES' LIST

"Bob looked at the clock and wondered if he would have time to stop for gas before driving to school to pick up his son after band practice." True, this could be important - his wife might have hired a private investigator to document Bob's inability to pick up his son on time - and it could be that making the sentence bland invests it with more tension. (This is the editorial consultant giving you the benefit of the doubt.) Most of the time, though, a sentence like this acts as filler. It gets us from A to B, all right, but not if we go to the kitchen to make a sandwich and find something else to read when we sit down.

 

Flat writing is a sign that you've lost interest or are intimidated by your own narrative. It shows that you're veering toward mediocrity, that your brain is fatigued, that you've lost your inspiration. So use it as a lesson. When you see flat writing on the page, it's time to rethink, refuel and rewrite.

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Breathing Life Into Characters

How do you keep from having cardboard, one-dimensional, boring characters? What brings a character to life and causes readers to fall in love with them beyond what the characters think and feel?

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10 Reasons Pitches Don’t Work

10 Reasons Pitches Don’t Work | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Reason 10: Generic descriptors of the story

 

Reason 9: Overkill on World Building details and not enough about the story itself.

 

Reason 8: Explaining that unlike already published SF&F novels, your work has character development

 

Reason 7: Popular trends (such as Vampires, Werewolves, or Zombies) with no unique take clearly spelled out in pitch...

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How to Finish Writing a Novel

How to Finish Writing a Novel | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

I know a lot of writers who struggle with this—especially when they haven’t fully completed a novel before. And let’s face it—finishing a novel from start to finish isn’t easy. It’s difficult enough to put together a coherent first draft and even harder to take that first draft and transform it into a fully revised, layered story.

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Unmotivated Characters Don't Have to Suck

Unmotivated Characters Don't Have to Suck | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

You may at some point want to write about a character who doesn’t know what they want. Who has no focus or great passion for life.

 

Often this will be the starting point of the story and events will conspire to shake them out of their stupor. Or it could be a character study, possibly an existential tale.

 

It’s a valid character to write about because there are many people who feel that way, and they deserve to be written about as much as anyone. There are many famous precedents by writers like Salinger, Camus, Beckett.

 

The problem is that this kind of character is very hard to make interesting.

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She Did What?

She Did What? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

You’re happily reading along and BLAM, you stop dead because something does not ring true. Maybe there is a coincidence that isn’t feasible. Or a situation makes no sense. Or a character

does something bonkers and out of the range of expectations. Someone or something is not believable. Hitting something unbelievable while reading is like running into a brick wall.

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