Don’t Write a Damsel-in-Distress OR a Modern Super-Woman: Be Original

Sick Character? Give them Bigger-than-Life personality. Here's how. | Fiction Notes by Darcy Pattison

I have a problem in my WIP novel, which is just in the outline stage. There’s a specific illness going around and to SHOW, DON’T TELL that the illness is really bad, an important character must become sick. But then, I have this sick character, Em. And she’s, well, sick. She’s become a Damsel-in-Distress, who […]

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Online Video Course: 30 DAYS TO A STRONGER NOVEL

The course is now live on Udemy.com! Each day includes: A quote that inspires Short, practical instruction from Darcy on a specific topic A simple “Walk the Talk” action to take Over the course of the month, you’ll receive the entire text of Darcy’s book, 30 Days to a Stronger Novel (November, 2014 release). We […]

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Tea Party or Fist Fights? Why Action Scenes are Hard to Write!

ActionViolence

In my current WIP, I want to up the action and make this a physically exciting story. So, I bought a great ebook, Action! Writing Better Action Using Cinematic Techniques by Ian Thomas Healy. It’s great, as I said, and breaks down the actions into easy components that can be easily mastered. Even for me, […]

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How to Write a Book Series: 3 Crucial Decisions

More Info

To write a series of books, my biggest tip is to plan ahead. You may get by with writing one book on the fly—plenty of people do that. But for a series to hang together, to have cohesion and coherence, planning is essential. Here are three decisions you should make early in the planning process. […]

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Complicated Dialogue: Keeping 5 Characters in Line

Fiction Notes at darcypattison.com

Today, I’d like to answer a question from a reader. Shena asks, “I’m writing a story and I have five people who are carrying on a conversation with each other. How do I go about stating each person’s line without constantly using, he said, he replied or using the person’s name to say this person […]

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False Teeth and Blue Eyes: Keeping Track of Characters

Keep track of your character's false teeth and blue eyes with these tech toys.

Traditionally, novelists have been told to keep track of their characters with a Character Bible. Especially for a series that features the same characters, it’s important that a blue-eye beauty in Book 1 is still a blue-eyed beauty in Book 3. To maintain consistency, authors often need to keep detailed lists of characters and his/her […]

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13 Blast it Out of the Park Posts of 2013

c. Dwight Pattison. My favorite picture that my husband took this year. Pelicans along the Arkansas River

It’s a time to look backward. What are the 13 most popular posts on Fiction Notes in 2013? Here’s the countdown! Posts Written in 2013 13. 63 Character Emotions to Explore When your character gets stuck at sad, even sadder and truly sad, explore these options for more variety. 12. 5 Quotes to Plot Your […]

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3 Simple Ways to Use Photos to Establish Characters

boy1

I need my characters to come to life quickly for me and this time, I’m trying a shortcut. Photos. It’s easy to go to google.com/images or flickr.com and search for images that might fit your characters. Start with a gender (male/female) and age (child, teen, adult, senior, 30s, 40s, etc). Ethnic background. For my story, […]

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Point of View: Inside a Character’s Head

Ivan

How does an author take a reader deeply into a character’s POV? By using direct interior monologue and a stream of consciousness techniques. This is part 3 of a 3-part series on Point of View: Techniques for Getting Inside a Character’s Head. Read the whole series. Outside Outside/Inside Inside Going Inside a Character’s Head, Heart […]

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Point of View: Outside/Inside a Character’s Head

Partially Inside a Character’s Head: OUTSIDE AND INSIDE POV How deeply does a story take the reader into the head of a character. Many discussions of point of view skim over the idea that POV can related to how close a reader is to a reader. But David Jauss says there are two points of […]

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Point of View: Techniques for Getting Inside a Character’s Head

Ivan

A story’s point-of-view is crucial to the success of a story or novel. But POV is one of the most complicated and difficult of creative writing skills to master. Part of the problem is that POV can refer to four different things, says David Jauss, professor at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, in his book, […]

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Cloak, Cape or Hood: Writing Consistent Fiction

baseballbat

In this January 6, 2013 NPR interview, John Sandys talks about inconsistencies in movies that were released in 2012: Well, I think ’cause “Men in Black 3” travels back and forth in time, it means you’ve got a whole host of factual mistakes as well, which it opens itself up to. One which jumped at […]

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Telling the Other Side of the Story: Switching Point of View

POV

Question: How do you tell a story and make sure that both sides get heard? Answer: This is a time when switching point-of-view might be helpful. The default for telling a story is 3rd-person point-of-view. You tell it like you are recording from a camera that sits right above the point-of-view (POV) character’s head. Usually […]

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Dialogue: Make Each Character Unique

library

Dialogue, what characters say, is an important element in any story. DH, a reader here, is puzzled how to switch from one character to another. Here’s an example she gave: “Hey Danielle! Come check out this new book I got!” says Viola. “Okay just a sec.” says Danielle. See, what I’m asking? I need to […]

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63 Character Emotions to Explore

Explore your character's inner life with these emotions. | Fiction Notes by Darcy Pattison

Readers want to get emotional when they read a piece of fiction, whether it is a novel or a picture book. We concentrate usually on character and plot, but often forget the emotional thread of a story. Emotions are one place where the author should “show, don’t tell,” or “show, then tell.” Show, Don’t Tell, […]

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