The Editorial Dance: Finding the Right Editor

2 discussions that help you decide if this is the right editor for your story. | Fiction Notes by Darcy Pattison

I talked with an editor earlier this week about my new novel, The Blue Marbles, a sff YA and found that editorial input comes in two forms–and these are so important to finding the right editor for your story. Positioning in the Market Place The first thing we talked about was our visions for the […]

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8 Most Popular Writing Books with Our Readers

20 Master Plots

From time to time, we recommend writing books, and we find that some are popular with our readers. Following are the most popular how-to-write books purchased by our readers in the last six months on Amazon, the first half of 2015*. Action! Writing Better Action with Cinematic Techniques Certainly one of my favorite new writing […]

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Fight, Chase, Shoot, Battle! Action Scene Checklist


Darcy’s Note: In my quest to understand action scenes better, I came across Ian’s book and was blown away by how practical it is. To make it even more practical I created an Action Scenes Checklist. To understand it and fully exploit it, you should buy his book and read it cover to cover. Yes, […]

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My 4000 Word Day: Prewriting


Last Friday, I wrote 4000 new words on my WIP novel. That’s a great day for me. But it was only possible because Thursday was a planning day. When I work with students and teachers, I encourage lots of prewriting. My book, Writing for the Common Core, is essentially a book of prewriting activities. Here’s […]

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Scenes: The Skeleton of a Novel

skeleton copy

You’re a human being: you can stand up, sit down, or do a somersault. That’s because you have a skeleton that gives your soft tissue a structure. Likewise, it’s important to give your novel a structure that will hold all the soft murmurings about characters, places and events. It begins with understanding the structure of […]

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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 […]

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10 Writer Quotes to Keep you Working on Your Novel

30 Days to a Stronger Novel Online Video course Writing teacher Darcy Pattison teachers an online video course, 30 Days to a Stronger Novel. Each day includes an inspirational quote, and tips and techniques for revising your novel. Here are the 10 of the inspirational quotes. Sign up now for the online video course. The […]

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3 Ways to Know If Your YA Fiction Is Really New Adult Fiction


In the immortal words of Charlotte in E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.” I was privileged to have Deborah Halverson edit my Harcourt picture book, Searching for Oliver K. Woodman. When we met at a retreat, it was instant friendship, […]

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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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39 Villain Motivations

Villain(ess) - 39 Motivations. From

I’m working on motivating my villain(ess) and have found 39 possible motivations. I’m sure there are more, but these should jump start your imagination. They are presented here with a statement from the villain(ess)’s point of view. Romance: I want to marry the princess. Revenge – ruin a hero: I want to ruin the King. […]

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NOVEL REVISION CHARTS: 2 Tools for Smart Re-Thinking of Your Story

Finseth's Novel Revision Chart

An aid to smart revising based on Darcy Pattison’s techniques Guest Post by Claudia Finseth I recently took Darcy’s Whole Novel Workshop and read her book, Novel Metamorphosis: Uncommon Ways to Revise. Between the two, there was a great deal of valuable new information to process. I’m very visual, so one way I worked through […]

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Scene: Fast or Fast-Paced?

Fast-paced scenes aren't necessarily fast scenes.

Is your scene fast or fast-paced? There’s a difference, an important difference. A fast paced scene has lots of small changes happening, which keeps the reader on the edge of his/her seat. Think of it as the last few minutes of a basketball game where the ball changes hands often, and the score bounces back […]

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How to Ruin Your Novel’s Opening with a Few Wrong Words

Choosing the right set of words–the diction of your novel–is crucial, especially in the opening pages of your novel. Novels are a context for making choices, and within that context, some words make sense and some don’t. A novel sets up a certain setting, time period, tone, mood and sensibilities and you must not violate […]

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NonFiction Picture Books: Research Required

March 2014 picture book,

How much research do you need to do for a children’s nonfiction picture book? Tons! Nonfiction means that you have the facts straight, ma’am. 3 sources agree. Traditionally, writers look fora at least three sources to back up each piece of information. This means the content isn’t just a personal opinion or a poorly researched […]

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Frosty the Snowman’s Top 5 Writing Tips

Frosty's Top 6 Writing Tips

Happy Holidays Just got an e-newsletter from the North Pole and Santa passed along these writing tips from the Frosty the Snowman, posted for the young-at-heart who are writing novels this year. Back by popular demand is my series on writing tips from popular Christmas figures. First published in 2007, they are updated here for […]

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