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…)

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…)

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?

Hating Teresa Armato

Posted in Abuse, Psychology, Psychopaths, PTSD, Victimization by DLFowler on July 2, 2015

Why do women prefer to hate Teresa Armato, rather than face the fact that she needs help?

Is it that they don’t want to admit that women like Armato exist? Is it that she doesn’t fit a stereotype? Are they afraid of her?

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Building Blocks of Abraham Lincoln’s Personality

 During a decade of research into the life of Abraham Lincoln, I’ve become convinced that history is not about events. It’s about people. People cause the events that we call history. They are its roots. As such, we must study people to understand our past and learn the lessons they can teach.

I’ve captured my understanding of Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln Raw—a biographical novel. It’s a journey into his heart and mind, beginning with his boyhood, based on stories told by his contemporaries as well as stories he told about himself.

Following is an outline of my discoveries about Abraham Lincoln and how his personality emerged and the force of his character impacted history. It addresses four areas of inquiry that are essential to understanding one of the most pivotal personalities to set foot on the world stage:

  • What was Lincoln like out of the womb?
  • What preferences grew out of Lincoln’s innate personality?
  • How did Lincoln’s early life influence to his personality development?
  • How did Lincoln’s personality influence his values?

I hope you find the information enlightening, and welcome any contributions or questions you might want to add.

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Lincoln suffered from PTSD?

Abe Lincoln was anything but normal in many ways, including behavior that demonstrated hyper-vigilance, suicidal thoughts, exposing himself to mortal dangers, extreme emotional swings, unexpected eruptions, etc.

After almost drowning in a creek at 7 years old, his mother died when he was 9. He sat on her grave during a storm to be sure her body didn’t float up out of the ground. He had a similar reaction a dozen years later when Ann Hathaway, his first (maybe only) true love died.

During the Civil War he sometimes ventured to the front lines and was nearly wounded. Once he stood on the ramparts of a fort, wearing a top hat, giving Rebel soldiers a 7 foot target to shoot at. He even talked about suicide during Cabinet meetings.

Twice as a young man he was on suicide watch. Once he subjected himself to torturous medical treatments that were the equivalent of self mutilation.

All of these behaviors could be symptomatic of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Lincoln Raw-a biographical novel explores the possibility. Read it and decide for yourself.