Scene Purpose: How James Patterson (and his cowriter) does it

In the last scenes post we looked at the scene purpose, of which Larry Brooks says, "James Patterson has mastered this, and it has become the accepted model of effective scene writing today: One mission per scene." So I picked up a Patterson book (actually a Patterson/Richard DiLallo book) from my library, the most current … Continue reading Scene Purpose: How James Patterson (and his cowriter) does it

Perfect Rhythm: How Dan Brown did it in The Da Vinci Code

Last updated 4.27.21 Several posts ago, we looked at how to create a regular, rhythmic beat, as discussed in The Bestseller Code* (which lists Fifty Shades of Gray* and The Da Vinci Code* as the only two (adult) books with perfect curves). I proposed sequences as a good way to plot for rhythm, and in this … Continue reading Perfect Rhythm: How Dan Brown did it in The Da Vinci Code

Character Introductions: How the Masters Do It

In the last post, we listed seven techniques to use when introducing characters.  Most of the masters use a combination of techniques. Here's how. Method 1: Out-of-Viewpoint Description In this method, the narrator (not a view-point character) tells us about the characters. JKR uses this method to introduce the Dursleys at the beginning of the … Continue reading Character Introductions: How the Masters Do It

Character Tags: How the Masters Use Them

We're looking at character tags.  Here's how some of the master story tellers help us remember who their characters are. Jim Butcher's Dresden series Harry Dresden is a practicing wizard who hires out as a detective.  Jim Butcher has said that he consciously creates tags and traits for his characters to help readers identify them. In … Continue reading Character Tags: How the Masters Use Them

The Reader-Character Bond: How the masters do it

This week, we're learning how to forge the reader-character bond.  Here's how the masters do it: For these examples, I'm rereading only the opening scenes and otherwise drawing from memory.  Let's Get the classic example out of the way first: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J. K. Rowling (MG) Main Character: Harry Potter First … Continue reading The Reader-Character Bond: How the masters do it

Three-Dimensional Characters: How Stephen King Does It

Stephen King.  All I can say is, no matter which of the three methods for creating three-dimensional characters you prefer, Stephen King is ALL ABOUT the three dimensions of character. Especially in The Shining. To make this exercise more manageable, I've merged Frey/Egri's dimensions (physiological, sociological, psychological) and Brooks's dimensions (Surface Appearance, Backstory, and Meaningful Choices) … Continue reading Three-Dimensional Characters: How Stephen King Does It