DL Fowler's Blog

Black Swan–Inner & Outer Demons

Posted in Bloggers, Kristen Lamb, Writing by DLFowler on May 2, 2011

Black Swan–Inner & Outer Demons.

Great illustration of how to show a chatacter’s inner conflicts. I’ll tell you how I used it once I release Ripples – a novel

Strange Addictions & Habits–Do They All Have to Have Meaning?

Posted in Bloggers, Characters, Inside a Writer's Head, Kristen Lamb, Psychology, Show Don't Tell by DLFowler on April 29, 2011

Strange Addictions & Habits–Do They All Have to Have Meaning?.

Kristen is one of my favorite bloggers. And the comments on this one are great, too.

What’s Special About Female Protagonists?

I was recently asked the following question in an interview on PaperBackSwap’s blog.  You can read the entire interview here.

In your new novel, Lincoln’s Diary, the protagonist is a female. Was it difficult for you as a man to write a book from a woman’s perspective?

Not really.

As a writer I like to show my characters’ emotions by describing how their feelings play out on their faces, in their gestures and through their actions. Women make my job easy because they tend to be quite aware of their emotions and telegraph their feelings through facial expressions, body language and movement.

Men aren’t nearly as versed as women when it comes to understanding their own emotions. As a result, they find it harder to express themselves not just verbally, but through their bodies, generally.  And when they do understand what they’re feeling, their instinct is to mask it. That makes it hard to follow the writers’ rule, “Show, don’t tell.”

That said, a main character in my next novel is a man who has focused his whole life on keeping his emotions a closely guarded secret.

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Author Interview at PaperBackSwap.com

The folks at PaperBackSwap.com were kind enough to interview me on their blog. Here’s a link to our conversation. We talked about being how is it was for me, a man, to write from a female character’s POV, Lincoln’s psychology, my biggest influences and a few other things.  Hope you’ll take time to check it out.

And PaperBackSwap.com is a well done platform. Only, whenever my book goes up, it’s snatched up in a matter of minutes. So either you have to be fast , or more people need to share Lincoln’s Diary – a novel.

I Hear Voices …

Posted in Bloggers, Contest, Dialog, Emlynd Chand, Inside a Writer's Head, Show Don't Tell, Writing by DLFowler on February 14, 2011

If you’re a writer and you hear voices, that’s a good thing. It’s even better if your readers hear those same voices in your writing.

How do you make your readers hear the voices that echo off the membranes of your brain?  Here’s a sample that impressed me from an entry in Emlyn Chand’s flash fiction contest. It was written by CJ Cook.  

“So who wants to go next?” Ms. Carrol asked, her eyes scanning the crowd.  The children bounced up and down on their knees, their hands bolting into the air as they shouted, “Me, me, me!”

Can you see the whole kindergarten classroom in that short piece of dialog?

I did. I saw it in the bouncing “up and down on their knees”, in the “hands bolting into the air”, and especially in the “Me,me,me!” CJ didn’t elaborate on the toy boxes in their primary colors, the leprechaun sized chairs, or the elfin jackets hanging on hooks along the wall.  And notice, the kids didn’t bounce or shout ‘excitedly.’ I heard their excitement without being told it was there.

Read the winning entry for Harry Potter’s Hallucination flash fiction contest, submitted by DL Fowler

Posted in Contest, Dialog, Emlynd Chand, Writing by DLFowler on February 6, 2011

Thanks Emlyn. It was fun to write. It was fun to read what the reviewers had to say. It was fun to win.  I’ve never done this sort of thing before – I’ll be sure to do it again.

Read the winning entry for Harry Potter’s Hallucination flash fiction contest, submitted by DL Fowler.

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Emlynd Chand’s Flash Fiction Contest

Posted in Bloggers, Contest, Dialog, Emlynd Chand, Writing by DLFowler on February 2, 2011

Just entered a flash fiction contest (never done this before) over at Emlynd Chand’s blog (aka Ambitious Ambigue).  Here’s the idea:

Here’s what you have to do:  take any scene from any of the seven Harry Potter books, any scene at all.  Now, pick any character from the series that you like—maybe Snape, Hagrid, Dobby, Mad-Eye Moody, Hermione—I mean anybody.  The only rule is that you can’t choose Harry himself.  Through the voice of your selected character explain to Harry what really happened in the scene you’ve chosen.  Give a perfectly rational explanation grounded in the Muggle world.  Wizards never existed as it turns out, and Harry just imagined the entire episode.  Your write-up should be a dialogue between Harry and your chosen character.

Now here’s my entry:

Ron toed the out-of-bounds line on the turf as he glanced over his shoulder just to be sure everyone had straggled into the locker room. He didn’t want anyone to see his reaction. He especially didn’t want Malfoy or his cronies to get wind that Harry was jabbering about some bizarre parallel existence. Even if the referee had cleared Harry physically, Ron sensed something wasn’t quite right.

When the last of them disappeared through the doorway, a smirk fought its way onto Ron’s face and his voice cracked. “Dementors, Harry?”

“Believe me. They’re nothing to joke about.” Harry stared into the dark grey mass collecting on the horizon.

Ron raised an eyebrow as he subdued an urge to laugh out loud. “Dementors?”

“Yes. Dementors. Black cloaked ghosts swooping down to suck the life out of us.” Harry waved his hands in front of his face.

“No, Harry. It was that beast of a sweeper. He got you good with a header. Ref never saw it. You were out for a good ten minutes.”

Harry clutched his forehead, massaging his scar. “Ron, this isn’t for joking around. You’ve never had their cold, rattling breathing numb your face. You’ve never stared into those empty sockets where eyes should have been. They’ve never grabbed your face with their clammy hands and fought to plant the frosty kiss of death on you.”

Ron shrugged. “No. That’s why I stay in goal. You get carded for manhandling the goalie.”

“Look, Ron. If the dementors penetrate the shield, Hogwarts will be wiped out.” Harry stared again at the horizon. The black mass of clouds seemed to be gliding toward them with increasing speed.

“Harry. You’re starting to freak me out with this stuff about gnarly black ghosts and warty livestock. I think you’re going bonkers.” Ron reached for Harry’s forehead, trying to test it for signs of fever.

Harry jerked back. “You mean you didn’t see them. They were swarming all around me.”

Ron held his hands out, palms up. “Yeah, the whole team was hovering over you. We were scared to death you wouldn’t wake up.”

“What about my patronus. You saw it, right?” Harry’s eyes were open so wide they appeared dilated.

“Patron- what?” Ron slapped the heel of his hand against his forehead.

Harry’s gaze turned transcendent. “My stag. It was brilliant this time. Lit up the sky like a comet.”

Ron shook his head. “Look, Harry. You got zonked. When a person gets knocked out like that, weird stuff goes off inside their head.”

Harry sulked. “You’re saying there weren’t any dementors?”

“No dementors.”

“And Hogwarts is safe?”

Ron smirked, but this time Harry didn’t notice. “Believe me, if hogs’ warts are what the dementors wanted, I’m sure we don’t have to worry.”

Harry looked at Ron. “You’re sure there are no dementors?”

Ron grinned. “Not unless that’s the handle you’re giving that sweeper. Though, I’d call him the Liverpool Express.”

Harry cocked his head. “Sweeper? You mean seeker. Right?”

Ron planted his hands on his waist. “No. Sweeper. The bloke who guards center-pitch.”

Harry shook his head. “Defenders are called beaters.”

Ron palmed the back of his neck. “No. Sweeper. He defends the middle.”

Harry gave Ron a hard stare. “There’s no middle defender in Quidditch.”

Ron laid his hand on Harry’s shoulder. “That blow scrambled more than just your brain. It’s got your tongue all twisted up, too. It’s football. Have you forgotten where you are? You’re in the middle of a football pitch and the ref called the match after you went lights out.”

Harry tried to shake the fog out of his head. “Did I catch the snitch?”

Ron laughed. “Yeah, you caught it right here.” He poked at a spot behind Harry’s left ear. “And you landed square on your back. Knocked the wind right out of you.”