DL Fowler's Blog

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…)

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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…)

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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Character in Characters

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Those words define what we mean by character. They are words that remind us of  the difference between a leader and a con-man. For writers like me, these words are a guide to crafting characters who inspire readers through stories. Characters with character are more important today, than ever before.

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Why Write Another Book About Lincoln?

I’m often asked that question. With more than 20,000 books written about him, I suppose the question shouldn’t surprise anyone. But my answer might shock you.

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Political Theater

A recent news item reminded me of an ominous episode of political theater that took place some 153 years and twelve days ago. Now don’t get me wrong. It’s not my intent in this post to compare or contrast the two occasions, or the people involved. I’ll leave that to you.

By the way, the event I recalled isn’t the one that happened on April 14, 1865. My mind is too complex to travel somewhere that easy.

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Lincoln’s Blackouts

Lincoln’s law partner, Herndon, described episodes when he’d find Lincoln sitting in a catatonic state from which he couldn’t be aroused. Often there’d be a book of poetry in his lap.

No one has any idea of what went on in Lincoln’s head during those episodes. He never talked about them.

One possibility is that were flashbacks of an earlier trauma that his body was defending himself against. That happens to people who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Lincoln suffered several traumatic moments early on. At 7 he almost drowned, at 9 he suffered a life-threatening head injury, and months later helped bury his mother, at 10 his father left him and his sister to weather a brutal winter unattended and on the brink of starvation, as a teenager his father beat him often and when he was just past 20 his first love died. Lincoln’s emotional responses to these and other events are explored in Lincoln Raw-a biographical novel.

Maybe his psyche just went into overload from processing flashbacks of too many traumas at once.

Would we let someone with that much emotional baggage be President today?

Gettysburg Address – the rest of the story

Gettysburg Address

We shortchange ourselves when we study history as discreet events, dislodged from the context of what happens around them. That’s especially true when we divorce those incidents from the personal circumstances of those who put historical events in motion. (more…)