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The Funnily Enough
The whole world of writing in one place
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What's Their Story? Discovering the Front Story of Your Non-Point of View Characters

What's Their Story? Discovering the Front Story of Your Non-Point of View Characters | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

I recently talked about how helpful it was to write the backstory for my characters. That exercise went so well, I decided to write the front story for them. Find out what they planned to do with all that history I had given them.

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The Awesomeness of Attributions

The Awesomeness of Attributions | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Human beings are such amazing, complex creatures. We process huge amounts of information quickly--and half the time, we are not even fully aware of exactly how we get from point A to point B, cognitively speaking. Awhile back, I did a post about information processing, in response to a question about how two different people might end up reacting completely differently to the same situation. It was more of a broad overview, so today I'm going to talk a little about something more specific: ATTRIBUTIONS OF INTENT.

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Less is More

Less is More | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

From a writing perspective, less is more has been used to address a multitude of issues. There’s showing (dramatizing) rather than telling (summarizing), or concerns about trusting your reader, and my personal favorite…leave out the parts that people will skip. I am a fan of the philosophy/practice, but it is the basis for some of my own unease as well. There is a tipping point that those of us who follow this guideline flirt with constantly…when does less become too thin?

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Writing Secrets of Prolific Authors

Isaac Asimov, one of the big three science fiction writers of the twentieth century, published over 500 books including novels, short story collections and non fiction, making him one of the most prolific writers of all time.

 

Asked by Writer’s Digest magazine for the secret to his prolific writing, Asimov said:

 

“I guess I’m prolific because I have a simple and straightforward style.”
~Isaac Asimov (500 books)

 

Could it really be that easy?

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Ian McEwan: Reader Experiment

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Seek & Destroy Word List #3

Seek & Destroy Word List #3 | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

To aid you in further Seek & Destroy exploits, the following is a list of words over-used by me and some of my lovely, gorgeous, sophisticated followers. Check out your manuscript to see if you're an over-user too (the first step to solving the problem is admitting that you have one). Or read below the list for some help on how to determine your words de jour.

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Why Use Past Tense?

Why Use Past Tense? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

You see, while present tense’s effectiveness is largely due to its immediacy, past tense’s reflective nature is its great strength. The connotations of past tense are entirely different from present—in present tense the narrator is telling the reader the story as it happens, while in past tense the narrator is retelling the story events to the reader. In past tense, the narrator already knows how the story ends—in present, he does not.

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What Do You Love About Your Story?

What Do You Love About Your Story? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

When you first come up with an idea for a story, you don’t have to think too hard about what it is you like about the story. Something catches your interest. One idea follows another and you’re off and running.

 

You have to be able to hold onto the thing that made you want to write this particular story. When the going gets tough (and it will) you need that thing to get you through. But first you need to work out what thing is.

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Don’t tell us she’s special. Show us

Don’t tell us she’s special. Show us | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

You know one of the best ways to irritate someone? Keep telling them how wonderful a person is who they don’t know – and never say why. ‘She’s so lovely.’ ‘She’s great.’ ‘She’s terrific.’ Result? After a while, you think ‘she’ is anything but.

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“Write What You Know” Does Not Mean What You Think It Does

“Write What You Know” Does Not Mean What You Think It Does | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

If you’ve ever read anything about writing, chances are that at some stage you’ll have encountered the maxim that you should ‘write what you know’. It’s at this point that some writers will throw up their hands and declare that nothing interesting ever happens to them, so what can they possibly write about? It can also lead you into dangerous territory if you decide to turn real events into fiction – if you don’t disguise your characters well enough, it can land you in hot water with the real life protagonists if they don’t come out of the fiction in a positive light. So how on earth can you navigate this treacherous terrain and write about what you know without upsetting, or boring, anyone?

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4 Writing Routines You Can Live With

4 Writing Routines You Can Live With | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

I like schedules.

 

I remember at one point in my life actually managing to, say, go running, teach six classes, make a meatloaf, and get some writing done all on the same day.

 

But lately, with a toddler and newborn in the house, “scheduling” mostly means just ensuring that everybody eats and sleeps at predictable times. It might sound clear-cut, but the stakes are high; after all, I’m always hovering one poorly timed peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich-with-carrot-sticks lunch away from a meltdown.

 

So when to write?

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Similes and Metaphors That WORK

Similes and Metaphors That WORK | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

One thing I love about writing is using figures of speech such as similes and metaphors. Doing this well is important--and I'm still learning how to do it.

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How to make good writing great

How to make good writing great | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

You're probably sick of hearing that good writing requires well-drawn characters, exhilarating plots, conflict on every page and lots at stake - but that's really like saying what makes a great pizza is flour, eggs and tomato - we all know it takes a little more than that. Besides, a cursory analysis of what readers really like (i.e. what they keep buying) is a heady combination of story, romance and milieu.

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Advantages of Writing a Fast First Draft

Every one of us is different, which means we each need to discover what process works best for us when we write. Some writers meticulously plan out every detail of their story before they begin the first draft, some dive right in and wing it. Some writers will polish a chapter until they can move on, some power on and go back later to do the polishing. There is no right or wrong way to write, however this post is about the latter technique. It's about why I've found writing a fast first draft is advantageous:

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Use Smells and Tastes for Powerful Writing

Most writers have heard how important it is to use all the senses to make a story come alive. But sometimes it's difficult to find the right words, especially when it comes to describing smells or tastes. Here are some tips for using smells and tastes in your writing:

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Sensory Details Put Readers On-Location

Where? Where does your story take place? If it’s in Barrow, Alaska, then I’d better see the Arctic Ocean, the ice jutting up in sharp columns as it is pushed against the shore. If it’s on a horse ranch, when you walk into the barn, I’d better smell that horse smell.

 

You can’t just tell me that I’m in the back of a fast food restaurant. I’d better smell that stale grease, hear the sizzle of fries cooking and ignore the kid with a cold who wipes at his nose with the back of his hand just before he scoops up the fries for the next customer and the other kid who licks a finger, runs it through a line of spilled salt and licks it off and then reaches over to slap the thin patty onto the hamburger.

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What Do You Love About Your Characters?

What Do You Love About Your Characters? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

When it comes down to it, it’s the people in stories that stay with the reader. You may be impressed and delighted by a plot twist or a surprise ending, but that’s not what you’ll remember years later. It’s the characters that will stay with you.

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How to Make Your Book Play Out Like a Movie

How to Make Your Book Play Out Like a Movie | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

We want to bring our story to life in such a way that the reader feels they are there experiencing the story right along with our characters.

 

So how do we make our books play out in the reader’s mind like a movie? Here are just a few things I do:

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4 ways your protagonist can learn the truth

4 ways your protagonist can learn the truth | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

It's not just detective stories that require the protagonist to discover hidden truths. An MC actively pursuing some hidden knowledge will provide strong narrative propulsion to any story – providing it is done right. Here are four paths to discovery that you could use in your work.

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Why Use Present Tense?

Why Use Present Tense? | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

Stylistically, the differences between past and present tense are pretty subtle—and both function well in their respective novels. Books like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Across the Universe by Beth Revis and The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson were all successful with their use of present tense while books like The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, Immanuel’s Veins by Ted Dekker and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin worked well with past tense. (Note: I haven’t fully read all of the books I mentioned, but I’ve at least read samples if not the whole thing, and found the voices to be particularly interesting).

 

So what’s the difference between the two? Why use one over the other?

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Kelsey Green's curator insight, September 12, 2013 3:38 PM

Good comparison of the benifits and losses of each writing tense.

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David Foster Wallace: "failure"

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Seek & Destroy Word List #2

Seek & Destroy Word List #2 | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

If you're working on ways to tighten your prose without changing the storyline, doing a find and replace on the following words and phrases will help lower your wordcount and streamline your read:

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Tips on Writing: Building Momentum

Tips on Writing: Building Momentum | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

I often tell people that writing every day is an excellent way to build momentum.

And then they look at me blankly and wonder why in the hell they need momentum, since they are writers, not rocket engineers.

 

I tell them (and I'm telling you now) that momentum is what gets the novel (or memoir, or article, or any writing project) done.

 

So, what exactly is momentum?

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Don't Give Characters What They Want

We all know what children are like when they’re denied a treat or something they’ve been looking forward to—they fuss and fume and then they stomp off angry or disappointed or both.

And adults who are denied either plot ways to get what they want by another method or they’re plotting revenge against the individual responsible for the denial.

 

You can manipulate your characters—even the sweetest, most agreeable ones—into heinous behavior by denying them what they most want.

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On Logos, Arrows, and Storytelling

On Logos, Arrows, and Storytelling | The Funnily Enough | Scoop.it

We can blame my brother for sending me off on this tangent--but I'm glad he did. You see, he's the one that mentioned it first.

 

"Have you ever seen the arrow in the FedEx logo?" he asked. And that's when the adventure began.

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