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Train your brain: Pen pushers

It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s gloomy – the ideal time for some exercises in writing funny from Lizzie Enfield

You’ve got to laugh.’ A friend rounds off a tale of tragedy and despair with the popular saying and most of us nod sympathetically, with the exception of a friend who is Russian.

‘Why?’ she asks. ‘What you just told us is terrible. Why would you laugh?’

We try to explain the saying to her but she’s unconvinced. Laughing, no matter what the circumstances, seems to be a peculiarly British trait but one that we value enormously. Laughing, at ourselves, in the face of adversity, at a particular situation is how we deal with things as well as how we try to entertain those around us. GSOH isn’t a popular dating initialism for nothing.

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BUMPER ISSUE: Plan your writing year with our definitive guide to festivals, workshops, courses and events for writers in 2016 101 ways to inspire new ideas How to: Market your ebook Write the perfect submission letter Sell your article ideas 'Leave it out!": Create cliché-free crime dialogue Get active! Make the most of your writing retreat AND Get Booked at your local library Star interview with crime writer Louise Welsh, on tackling dark topics with a light touch

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