Summer Plans: Ideas for Topics


This weekend, I sent a special email to subscribers to Fiction Notes, asking you to suggest topics for summer discussion.

Here’s the skinny on who YOU are:
Note: Percentages will add up to more than 100% because participants could choose more than one category.

First 75 people responded to the survey—Thanks!
That’s about 5% of those invited to take the survey, which is actually a very good participation rate.

  1. What interests you the most?
    • Writing novels 72%
    • Finding your publishing home 38?
    • Writing picture books 31%
    • Finding your voice 29%

    Hurray! We are mostly novelists here. But some of you join me in writing both novels and picture books—we can mix the two and apply many concepts to both. As for finding a publishing home and finding your voice, we can do some summer treasure hunts.

  2. What characterization topics interest you most?
    • 30 Days to a Deeper Character 77%
    • Giving the protagonist larger-than-life qualities 35%
    • Making the antagonist likeable 30%
    • None of the above, Don’t need to work on characterization 3%

    OK. Who said you don’t need to work on characterization, because I want to learn from you! The rest of us may take a journey into uncharted depths.

  3. What plot topics interest you most?
    • 30 Days to an Action-packed, full-of-twists plot 54%
    • Adding tension to every page 68%
    • None of the above, don’t need to work on plot. 0%

    I was glad to see plot garnered interest from a majority of you. It’s time to spend some conflict-filled days together.

  4. What book marketing topics interest you most?
    • 5 Days on Facebook Marketing, with special tips on saving time 39%
    • 5 Days to a Fantastic Book Trailer 22%
    • 5 Days to Jump Starting your Online Book Marketing 36%
    • 5 Days to a Great Book Launch 39%
    • None of the above, don’t need to work on book marketing 14%

    This topic got the most negative answers. Just guessing here, but I think that’s because these people are focusing on the writing, which is a great strategy. Write and let the agents, editors, and publishing houses sell. Still—we all know that has changed so much the last two years, so I’ll probably do some of this, but keep it spaced out, with most emphasis on writing.

  5. Specific Suggestions. 45 of you also wrote in with specific suggestions and topics and that’s exciting. I’d rather talk about what you want to know about. As the summer passes, I’ll try to answer every one that I can.

Give me some time to think about all these answers and plan for some great summer posts and events. It’s going to be fun!

If you didn’t take the survey, it’s not to late to chime in. Please leave a comment or email me at darcy at darcypattison dot come with suggestions for summer topics. Or, if you have a question you want answered, I’ll look for answers.

Summer, here we come!

  • Beth MacKinney
    May 19, 2012

    Darcy, I’d like to hear your ideas on planning a writing retreat for a critique group. I’ve been looking around, and there’s not a lot of material available on how to plan a truly rocking retreat. I’d like to incorporate time for writing on works-in-progress, exercises that will refresh creative thought, and skill building ideas.

  • Janet Ruth Heller
    May 22, 2012

    Dear Darcy Pattison,

    Michelle Bradford e-mailed me today that I have won a copy of your new book Prairie Storms. I’m delighted and look forward to reading your book.

    I have also published a book with Sylvan Dell, How the Moon Regained Her Shape (2006).

    Best wishes for your writing and teaching of writing!

    Janet Heller