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  • Patricia Hollett

    The Author

  • Currently Writing/Completed

    Currently working on:

    Fallon -70,094 words
    Forest Born -67408 words
    Ice Whisperings -2997 words
    Garrett -9623words
    Northern Blood -11658 words
    Winter's Reign -787 words

    Completed

    Blood Harvest - 998 words
    Keeping Secrets - 1500 words
    Misunderstood -700 words
    Sarah's Amulet-A Necromancer Slave Story -6004 words
    The Cult -1998 words
    Unfortunate Blessings -454 words

    To Be Published

    Artistic Escape - flash (to be pub 2011)
    Happy Birthday Honey - flash (to be pub 2011)
    Making Choices - flash (to be pub 2011)
    Together Forever - flash (to be pub 2011)

    Published

    Allie's Clown - 1500 words (Published on Dark Valentine website March 2011)
    Valeria's Knight - 4807 words (Published in Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine)
    The Angel Wars/Post-Apocalyptic Emails at the end of time-A collaboration with author Tammy Crosby (Published by PillHill Press in August 2011)
    Valeria's Knight - 4807 words (Published in Night to Dawn Magazine-September 2011)

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    All posts, stories and comments made by Patricia Hollett on WordPress.com are property of Patricia Hollett. All rights reserved. 2010 ©
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Character Development


Last week I talked about planning your manuscript right from the beginning. During the Dark Fantasy Writing course taught by Kelley Armstrong, she handed out a form to develop our character profiles.

I took the one she gave us, and revised it. I added lines for information that I needed to know about my characters so its a combination form, partly her ideas and some of my own. So its a full profile for my main characters, and I can when I write about them, I know everything I need to know to develop their personalities in my story.

Then I did another form for secondary characters…you know the people that come and go in your story, but you don’t need to know everything about them. You may need to know a little, but not a full profile.

Doing these has helped me understand my characters so much better. I thought I knew them well enough to write them into my story, but readers need to identify with them, and the writer needs to know them as well as he/she can possibly know anyone.

I know my characters so well that they’re like familiar friends or family members. I don’t know all their intimate secrets yet, but I know enough that I can write about them. They need to be just like real people and that’s what the reader will sense while they read the story. Identifying with your main characters will draw your reader in. If you don’t know them that well, then your reader won’t either.

This is another stage of planning, which I can’t stress enough as being an important part of starting your story. Hope this helps!

Feel free to use mine or make your own if you find anything useful in the form. They’re underlined in blue below.

Keep writing, and enjoy your week! 🙂

Character Profile Page-Primary

Character Profile Page-Secondary characters

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Direction, plot, characters and planning.


I took Kelley Armstrong’s ‘Dark Fantasy’ writing course last week, and I needed it.
Although I learned a lot of new ‘stuff’ about writing, it was the motivation to develop my story line, plot and characters that really inspired me to get back to writing. I had missed some of that in my original draft.
I’ve written about 70k on one of my manuscripts, my favorite story. The one I really want to finish first, but as much as I thought I knew my characters and story so well, there was something missing. Some direction, some key plot points, some character attributes needed to be fleshed out to get this story done.
After doing a week with Kelley, I now realize that sitting down, planning, and spending the prep time plotting, etc. will pull my story together and guide me through it, like a map, and that has motivated me to start at the beginning.
Get it all together, spend the time preparing your story, then dive in and start writing. Follow your map, only the key points, no filler, make your characters come alive with what you now know about them, and your story will be easier to write.
Having little direction at the beginning leaves you floundering as you write, thus creating that ‘writer’s block, or whatever you want to call it. You don’t know where you’re heading and consequently you stall out.
Having a plan, a map, and all your details helps you put it all together and now I feel like I have that.
Yeah, it means starting all over, but I have my story idea, most of it written, and now with my plot cards and character sheets, I’ll be able to flesh out my story the way it should have been done in the first place.
So now I actually feel like writing again which I had somehow lost trying to make sense of what I had written by ‘pantsing’ some of it.
Direction and a map now give me a clear view of where I’m going, and I’m ready to get this story done. 🙂

What Makes A Good Novel


This week’s blog is about ‘What Makes a Good Novel’.
I conducted some research on the above topic and here’s what I found…

A novel should show the character’s personality. A novel also should have a good story or hook. You need to believe what is happening on the pages. The main quality of a good novel is its ability to make you care about its characters, worry for them, dislike them, pity them, but above all believe in their reality and their journey.
Another obvious quality is the page-turning one. You want to know what happens next in a good novel. Sometimes it depends on the characters and their interactions, but as the plot develops, so do your characters. They redefine themselves, which makes them easier or harder to like, they need to be tested, questioned, and they need to grow.
Sometimes the things that make a good novel are the hardest to pinpoint. After finishing a novel, your mind keeps returning to what happened or stayed with you, or you remember certain things that you enjoyed about it. It’s those extra elements, a layering of sorts, suggesting undercurrents, which give you the satisfaction of the story.
Detail is additionally important for the reader to create a picture in their mind. And, without this we wouldn’t be able to envision the world that our characters and story take place in.
Novels are certainly about people, but they’re also about indefinable forces.

It’s hard to pick just one thing that makes a good novel, but I asked several Authors/Writer friends to answer the question below and pick only ONE thing they think makes a good novel, and they all came up with something great. Here’s the question, and their answers.

If you could pick one specific thing that you think makes a good novel, what would it be?

Danielle La Paglia (Dannigrrl)
The most important thing for me is a strong voice. I love to look at a story from different sides and decide which voice/POV to use–the killer or the victim or the witness. 1st person, 3rd person, it doesn’t matter as long as the voice is strong and clear. I don’t want a narrator that rambles and I don’t want constant descriptions of scenery and mundane things. I want to feel what that character feels and join them on the ride–the ups, the downs, the surprises, whatever. That’s what draws me in to a novel and keeps me coming back for more.

Anna Krowe (Anna K)
Difficult question, as a good novel is compiled of multiple important factors. But, if I had to pick a single most important element, I would say plot. When people think back on a book, what do they remember most? The way it was written or the story? I say story. If you have a memorable, strong, and unique plotline, you’ve got a good book.

Tammy Crosby (CDNWMN)
For me, a good novel must assume that the reader is somewhat intelligent. There’s nothing worse than a patronizing author.

Gareth (Drosdelnoch)
This is like asking which is the first rain drop that falls, everyone will have a different answer, but to me, the one key element that an author has to get right is the lead character. They have to be well built, be believable and someone that you can empathise with. Fail that and no matter how good the other elements are and you’re at a huge disadvantage to keep the reader hooked.

Lisa Murphy (BookFever)
For me a good novel must have great relationships between characters. Sometimes you’ll see it in the dialogue and at other times in the silences while many things can be discovered in the characters actions. Too much description bores me and I have been known to skip over wordy dull paragraphs in search of the next juicy scene.

Julie Campbell (Firewolf)
Compelling characters doing compelling things.

Anne Michaud (annemichaud)
The author’s voice. It could be the most spectacular premise, unique plot and amazing characters, if the voice is flat and boring, it wrecks dialogues, descriptions, and everything in between. Same thing if the writer tries to ‘replicate’ more than to ‘feel’ – it doesn’t flow and isn’t enjoyable as a read. The craft of writing isn’t copy/paste or generic, it’s Art, must come from within. And what’s more original than a writer’s voice?

Dianne Waye (Diannewaye)
One specific thing that makes a good novel, for me, is an emotional connection to the main character. I want to read a character-driven story, where you laugh and cry along with the hero. Where you cheer for their hard-earned victories. Defeat, triumph, love, hate – I want to feel it, too.

Kelly Metz (bwlrgrl300)
If I could pick one specific thing that I think makes a good novel, it would be the characters. They make or break stories for me. It could be the most outstanding story idea ever imagined, but if I don’t care about the character, I’m not going to read it. The characters need to be real to me, and that doesn’t mean that they need to be sunshine and roses nice. Real means they have faults and problems just like anyone else, and they struggle with them and take me as the reader through their struggles. I want to cheer for their successes, and cry at their losses.

Jessica Peters (psyche_13)
I think that one of the main things in a good novel is the pacing. It has to move at a good clip, without exhausting the reader.

I just want to thank all of you for these brilliant answers. It’s been fun doing this and I hope everyone enjoys reading this as much as I did. It’s been very interesting!
Thank You All!! 🙂