Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 26, 2010

Darcy Pattison – Developing Characters

Award-winning author and writing teacher Darcy Pattison provides novelists with innovative, in-depth revision techniques they need to morph their novel into stronger, richer, and deeper stories.

  • Learn to see and understand your story’s overall structure for yourself
  • How to turn a phrase so that readers are hooked
  • Techniques for enriching scenes and developing deeper stories
  • Understand both micro-pacing and macro-pacing
  • Turns theory into practical skills
  • Spark in-depth discussions in your critique group

Click here to buy book.

Here are 5 Ways to Use Secrets to Develop Characters from Darcy:

What is your character’s deepest, darkest secret? What is it that s/he doesn’t want anyone to know?
When you write a novel or revise a novel, YOU must know these things.

  1. Using the Secret as a Plot Twist
    When we find out that Luke Skywalker’s father is Darth Vader–the revelation twists the plot in a different direction. Make sure that the secret is truly hidden in the story as it develps, even as you prepare your readers for the revelation.
  2. Source of Conflict–Making Sure the Secret Stays Secret
    A secret must stay secret! Which creates a great source of conflict that can be mined in your plot.
  3. Tangible Secrets
    Make the secret tangible by giving it a physical presence. It is a diary, a stack of letters, a photograph, a magazine clipping, a favorite toy, a particular piece of clothing–something that you can describe with the senses.
  4. The Secret Revealed: Big Scene or Climax Scene
    A powerful use of secrets is to reveal them as part of the climax scene, often giving an extra twist of meaning to the ultimate clash between the protagonist and antagonist.
  5. What is YOUR secret?
    Often the most moving secrets are ones that come from a writer’s life. What are your secrets? Can you give one of them to your character?

If you haven’t had a chance to attend one of Darcy’s Workshop, the next best thing, if you are writing a novel, would be to buy this book.  Hope you find these tips helpful. I plan to look into having Darcy come out to do her workshop in New Jersey.  If you’ve been to one, please let me know what you thought.



  1. Darcy, is one of the hardest working writers I know. If it wasn’t for Darcy, Arkansas would not have had a SCBWI chapter. She shares everything she has learned and more to help you become a better writer.

    Mary Nida Smith


  2. Mary,

    I have only met Darcy one time, but I have heard that she gives a great novel workshop.



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