Ban Cliches: How to Stand Out in Today’s Crowded Market

2009 World Beard and Mustache Competition. Does that beard spell out B-E-A-R-D?

The number one rejection I hear is this: “The story doesn’t stand out in today’s crowded market.” The SCBWI is creating an opportunity for illustrators to test their art and how it holds up in today’s market. Each month, the “Draw This” monthly art prompt will provide a word for members to illustrate. For years […]

Please Nominate Fiction Notes!

The Write to Done blog has opened nominations for its 9th annual writing blog recognition. Readers, you were kind enough to nominate Fiction Notes and it was named a 2013 Top 10 Blog for Writers. Please nominate Fiction Notes for the 2014 award! Blogging has its own rewards, of course, but last year’s recognition for […]

3 Reasons I Failed NaNoWriMo – and Why It’s OK


I am a failure. I signed up for NaNoWriMo–again. And again–I failed to make 50,000 words. But I have good reasons. World Building. I did massive work this month on world building. Since I’m writing a science fiction novel, I needed to invent technology, figure out where to locate installations, design the installations to meet […]

Momentum: Keep the Writing Coming


You’ve started! Hurrah! Now, how do you keep going, especially when LIFE happens? As it invariably will! Stop in the Middle One strategy to keep momentum going is to stop in the middle of a sentence, paragraph, or scene. Those who recommend this suggest that you stop at an exciting moment, at a place that […]

Take a Creative Risk – You Might Surprise Yourself

Take a creative risk today! Try a new format, genre, audience, or marketing strategy.

I’ve been writing for years. (Let’s not discuss how many exactly!) It’s easy to fall into habits and to think about stories in certain ways. The best creative people, though, insist that they are constantly learning and to do that, they try something different. They take risks. Let me suggest some risks you might want […]

5 Small–But Vital–Tasks for Off Days: #4 is the Worst

Today is an in between day for me. I’ve finished one speaking gig, but have another on Saturday, the Little Rock Chapter of the American Christian Writers. I’m working on that presentation, of course, but I have some extra time today. I’ve just finished a project and I’m in between projects. So–an off day? No. […]

May News: Earth Day, Featured Blog and Mother’s Day

Darcy Pattison

This is a newsy post for May: Celebrating Earth Day This week, I did a couple school visits to celebrate Earth Day, as part of the Authors For Earth Day program. Yes, it was after Earth Day, but it was the only time we could schedule it. Fiction Notes: Featured SCBWI Blog for May/June I’ve […]

Arkansas Literary Festival: Cocktails, Glossolalia, and Orphaned Pumas

Mcclafferty Nichols

Cocktail Party – Author! Author! Friday night, I went to the Author! Author! party with Carla McClafferty, my author friend. We chatted with local radio celebrity, Ann Nicholson, host of KUAR’s Art Scene show. Of course, they had good food. Arkansas author Erica Taylor was accompanied to the party by her husband, Middleweight boxer Jermain […]

Arkansas Literary Festival: Ankle Bracelets, Revised Sex Scenes, and Bees

Ar Governor's mansion coffee cup

This weekend is the Arkansas Literary Festival, and I’m busy and having a blast. The day started at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion, where First Lady Ginger Beebe hosted Literacy on the Lawn for the sixth year in a row. Mrs. Beebe extends invitations to schools in the state to bring classes to the Mansion for […]

A Writing Career: Be Yourself!

Darcy Self Portrait quilt

Do you ever sit and plan out your career? Recently on a listserv, authors were talking about careers. Some knew exactly where they wanted to go and were laser focused. Some were looking all around and trying a bit of this and a bit of that. How do you plan a writing career? What are […]

Top Writing Blogs of 2013

Dancing on Top of the Mountain with the Top Writing Blogs of the Year.

Over at the Write to Done blog, they are taking nominations for the Top Writing Blogs of 2013. If anything here at Fiction Notes has been helpful or touched you this year, I’d appreciate a nomination. If you’re looking for great articles about writing, here are the 2012 winners. How to Nominate Your Favorite Writing […]