DL Fowler's Blog

The Whole Story

Posted in Inspiration, Moments of Grace, Plots, Psychology, Reading, Themes, Transform Your Fiction, Writing by DLFowler on October 26, 2017

When I ask readers what a book is about, they often give a description of the Lead character’s physical journey. Such answers tend to reflect our human tendency to express ourselves in terms of a physical realm, even though our emotions operate at a psychological level.

Jesse Lee Kercheval explains in her book Building Fiction[1] that readers need to see the tangible evidence when internal conflicts are resolved. To satisfy that need, authors must manifest psychological change with physical consequences. (more…)

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We’re In This Together: Celebrating Writers Who Persevere

Posted in Angela Ackerman, Intimacy, Psychology, PTSD, Themes, Victimization, Writing by DLFowler on October 25, 2017

Today I am happy to be part of Writers Persevere!, an event that authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are running for the next few days to celebrate the release of their newest book, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma. This book looks at the difficult experiences embedded in our character’s backstory which will shape their motivation and behavior afterward.

By the way, I wouldn’t be sharing this with you if I didn’t already use other tools Angela and Becca have designed. Their unique thesauruses for writers (like The Emotion Thesaurus, The Positive Trait Thesaurus, and The Negative Trait Thesaurus) have helped me overcome  blockages and elevate my own writing. I can’t wait to put this new one to good use.

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A Story’s Five Psychological Movements

Posted in Emotions, Psychology, Transform Your Fiction, Writing by DLFowler on October 19, 2017

Woven into a story’s three acts we often find five psychological movements. These movements parallel Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: physiological, safety, belonging, esteem, and actualization. Readers are most satisfied when stories help them grow psychologically alongside our characters. (more…)

The Hero’s Journey in Three Acts

Posted in Plots, Plots, Uncategorized, Writing by DLFowler on October 12, 2017

No matter how unique we want to make our stories, readers need a familiar pattern to follow. Otherwise, they will likely get lost. A millennia-old recipe provides a roadmap for the Lead’s journey. (more…)

A Story’s Moment of Grace

Stories often begin to lose steam near the middle. The Lead character has worked through, around, and over obstacles for almost half the story, having made little progress. We start to worry that readers will grow impatient. We become tempted to add extra scenes solely to ratchet up tension. Big mistake. There’s another way to energize the middles of your stories. (more…)

A Story’s Physical Journey

Posted in Plots, Psychology, Ripples, Stanley Williams, The Moral Premise, Transform Your Fiction, Writing by DLFowler on September 28, 2017

A compelling synopsis of a story’s physical journey can help sell books, but it can do much more. (more…)

A Story’s Psychological Journey

Posted in justice, Psychology, Stanley Williams, The Moral Premise, Writing by DLFowler on September 21, 2017

Great stories are driven by moral dilemmas that focus on a central theme. In Cinderella, the moral dilemma (cruelty versus kindness) is fueled by two words the Fairy Godmother spoke. (more…)

What Is Your Journey About?

Posted in Lincoln Raw, Lincoln's Diary, Lincoln's War, Ripples, Themes, Transform Your Fiction, Writing by DLFowler on September 14, 2017

My 100th blog post should be special, but whether it is isn’t for me to say. Only you can do that. So here it is. I am launching a series of posts excerpted from my recent book Transform Your Fiction. These posts spill the beans about what makes a story … well what makes a story a story.

Some of what follows in the next seven weekly posts, you’ve heard before. But not the juicy, closely guarded secret parts. The secrets are small and hard to see. You see, many secrets hide in plain sight, camouflaged by the mundane and obscured by myriad tricks and gimmicks that are supposed to engage readers. These secrets are so powerful they can turn you into a master storyteller. You’ll find the first installment below.  (more…)

Confession: I Went to a Library … I Had No Other Choice

Posted in Lincoln Raw, Lincoln's personality, Lincoln's Psychology, Research by DLFowler on September 11, 2017

Sounds terrible, right? I mean the “had no other choice part.” Don’t judge me so quickly. It gets worse.

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Local Book Review: Hagridden by Samuel Snoek-Brown

Posted in Uncategorized by DLFowler on June 10, 2017

Poignant portrayal of the psychological cost of a war between brothers. The choice between union and disunion at a personal, rather than political, level. I highly recommend.

Blue Cactus Press

How often do you pick up a book from one of your favorite authors and hope and wish and pray it’s as good as the last? I do it every time, but truth be told, only about half the books I read live up to my expectations. Lucky for me, Samuel Snoek-Brown’s Hagridden did, in fact, live up to my expectations as I read it while camping in wilds of Utah.

Hagridden is a historical fiction novel and it’s set in the U.S. South as the Civil War came to a close. It follows two women who’re struggling to survive in the bayou and rebuilt their lives with the little (humanity) they’ve got left. The book reads very much like a Cormac McCarthy novel, both in tone and content, but it’s much easier to palate during the gritty moments (read: less depressing and less descriptive of gore … most of…

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