Thursday, December 30, 2010

Patterson Novel Wins Red Adept Indie Award - 2010

I am please to announce that No Irish Need Apply has won in the Red Adept Annual Indie Award - 2010 in the Miscellaneous Genre Category.

Red Adept Reviews:

Edward C. Patterson

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Holiday Message from The Indie Spotlight

A Holiday Message from The Indie Spotlight

Once a year, humankind gathers, no matter what belief they subscribe to or what oppression they have suffered, to exchange good will and the gift of life. Many traditions have captured the essence of this habit, from a simple toast to a riot of celebration. Those who know better know that in this season of joy we have a special custodianship for one another; a camaraderie and a fulfillment beyond the burdens of daily toil and labor. It is in this ability to touch strangers and loved-ones alike that we encapsulate the notion of civilization.

We at The Indie Spotlight have been delighted to provide a conduit of great writing for our subscribers and readers; and an opportunity for authors to do what they do best - share in words their thought and imagination. Spinnings from the pen have been a tradition of the season. Great authors have made a special point to hon their craft during the holidays with memorable gifts that still linger in civilization's larder - from Dickens to Alcott, from Pushkin to Verne, from O. Henry to Schiller and a plethora of masters who command our attention, loyalty and gratitude. The wonder of it all is the wonder of this season; that there have been and are so many talents to express daily what we find best vented during these inspiring days. We are happy to say that there has been no dearth of authors or readers in the spreading of this cheer.

Expressions of thanks are often empty - often shallow and lain upon the shelf with the tarnishing trophies. However, this first year of The Indie Spotlight has been something rare and fruitful. It has given a voice to those who need to be heard and an ear to those who thirst for music. Therefore, it is not with empty words that we thank our contributing authors and our faithful readership, because we intend to continue to maintain and grow this platform for your delight and our determination. May you all have a healthy, prosperous and bright holiday season as we, together, continue this business - this business of civilization.

Edward C. Patterson
& Gregory B. Banks

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for the Reader - 83

free indirect discourse

when the author narrates a character's point of view, most frequently as postulated thought. i.e Rutabaga Jones often thought that Victor was a vagabond and sometimes expressed it in public.

Edward C. Patterson

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for the Reader - 82

ambivalent point of view

this is a false start point of view weakly presented at the beginning of a chapter where a character, usually already situated, is the point of view. However, when the scene gets going, another character is declared the point of view. This is effective when the author wishes to another character to reflect on the scene before the anchoring the scene it in an active POV.

Edward C. Patterson

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for Readers - 81

Stock character

a repeated characterization across the entire literary tradition. Examples are the precocious child, the witty waiter, or the femme fatale. When a stock characterization becomes central to a work, it is usually referred to as an archtype.

Edward C. Patterson

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Guide to Author Jaron for the Reader

third person omniscient POV (Head Hopping)

a Point of View (POV) rarely used today, but popular during the 19th century, where the author head hops from character to character. It can be disorienting to the reader and is mostly used by true master's of their craft, or in abstract novels or passages.

Edward C. Patterson

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for Readers - 79

literary novel

a novel that does not attempt to tell a story, but might (quite accidentally). However, the term is applied by different schools at different times as a snub to novels that do purposely tell a story (genre novels). Unfortunately, because of this, the term has become meaningless in discussion and is now viewed as a conservative crutch for the writing elite.

Edward C. Patterson

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for Readers - 78


a poetic exchange between two shepherds. I have never used this form, and probably never will. Not to be confused with an eclair, a device I make frequent use of when I run out of Veronas and Milano cookies.

Edward C. Patterson

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for Readers - 77

dystopian novel

a work set in a futuristic world that proports to be Utopian, but is indeed deeply flawed. A famous example is Philip Dick's Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep (Blade Runner).

Edward C. Patterson

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for Readers 76


word or object that contains symbolic meaning and is brought forward to support the theme. Example from that most emblematic of works, Lord of the Flies - Ralph's hair (which covers his eyes) = the inability to see clearly, in contrast to Piggy's specs.

Edward C. Patterson

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for Readers - 75

the slush pile

the stack of manuscripts usually found under an Acquisition Editor's desk after given a cursory scan, rejecting them. They usually linger there for months to give the appearance of serious consideration and, once in an atomic moon, one might be retrieved and given a more earnest read. These slush piles are less now as Acquisition Editors become a dying breed, a distant memory of a system in its swan song.

Edward C. Patterson

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for Readers - 74


the length of a single line of text. The measure dictates legibility and choice of point size, because the human eye can easily get lost when transitioning from one line to another. This standard depends on space between lines (leading), paragraph justification (raggged right or left justified is more legible, although less traditional) and whether you're printing in American or Euopean standard type faces (in Europe the standard is san-serif, while in America, the more legible serif fonts faces reign). Measure length can kill a book and be more disturbing to a reader than a misspelled word. Author's who also publish can disengage a reader even with the highest quality material by chosing the wrong point size and measure.

Edward C. Patterson

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for the Reader - 73


the assignment of sound to replace description, sometimes to add a sound track to writing, sometimes humor. It sometimes adds tension, especially when timepieces are involved (tick tock). It's most effective when places, where it carries a wealth of already seeded attributes. For example (and I'll use one of my own), Clang Clang represents a San Francisco Cable car. It's imbued with an entire Cable Car ride in conjunction with the conductor yelling street names, so when, a thousand of pages later, a chapter opens - Lombard Street. Clang Clang, the reader is immediately transported to the original setting without the need to repeat the setting. This is similar to the Chinese language form called carrier words, those that visually have attributes that add sound and meaning otherwise lost when not expressed.

Edward C. Patterson

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for the Reader - 72

View restricting (now called camcording)

writing in first person present tense to severely restrict the point of view so that the reader can only see what the narrator sees, experiencing it as it happens. A difficult mode to sustain for both reader and writer. However, it has been done (witness Stephanie Myers' hot Vampire series . . . what's it called?) Some authors employ it as a disruptive change (in the Dark Tower series it is used, and King also writes most of The Talisman in this mode). Its most effective use is for short stretches of intense action or suspense, otherwise it exhausts the reader, or it goes limp (shades of The Blair Witch Project).

Edward C. Patterson

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for the Reader - 71

Pathetic fallacy

assigning a human attribute to a inanimate object. ie. the singing wind, the weeping trees, a compassionate banana. (I'd like to see all these in one sentence).

Edward C. Patterson

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for the Reader

Cosmic irony

the portrayal of fate, destiny or the Universe as indifferent or hostile to humankind. The classic example are the many Thomas Hardy's novels and his cosmically tortured characters.

Edward C. Patterson

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for the Reader - 69

Dramatic Irony

When an author makes the reader privy to information, situations and events while keep the characters in the dark. It heightens the sense of drama through anticipation by making the reader a voyeur.

Edward C. Patterson

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for the Reader - 68


The specialized language of a professional, occupational, or cultural nature that is often meaningless to persons outside the group. IE: SNAFU. Situation Normal, all . . .

Edward C. Patterson

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Thank You

I want to thank everyone for the thoughts and prayers during this hard time for my family. Dad was laid to rest yesterday - in style - with a full military funeral and a 21 guns salute. He's laid beside Mom and is at peace. Now, because I know it is his wish, I'm getting back on the horse and refiring up my current novel project, recommencing by blogs and network posts and even some light promotion. It might take a day or two to get back in the saddle, but I'll get there.

Thanks again for all your support.

Edward C. Patterson

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for the Reader - 67

The split infinitive

an American grammatical error common enough, because it colloquially scans. This is when the root verb form (to be, to see, to fall) has an additional word, mostly an adverb between the to and the verb. ie. to finely see, to gloriously rule. Although it is probably good to follow this rule, because American editors and reviewers will have kittens, the truth is, it was an acceptable form of speech in England, especially among the Victorian writers. I have seen cases where a split infinite has driven a reviewer to a psychotic railing at an author, consigning the work to the fifth circle of hell. Still, der rules are der rules, even if it is some American school marm concoction. Stylewise, using the adverb is more pernicious. Better to split a nail than to sow a pernicious adverb.

Edward C. Patterson

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for the Reader - 66

A POV Fringe

a word or phrase that legitimizes a clause that would otherwise violate point of view (POV). For example, in a 3rd person limited POV, where Mary is the POV, Martin thought the sun was bright, is fringed to fit POV: Martin probably thought the sun was bright, so squinted. OR Martin thought the sun was bright, no doubt, so he squinted.

Edward C. Patterson

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for the Reader - 65

A Pirandello

a technique which has the characters directly constructing the novel either with or without the author's help and directly appealing to the reader. Named after Luigi Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author. In films, this is called an audience wink, where direct contact between the character and the audience is made, side-stepping a story. It can be a real story killer if not handled correctly, completely destroying suspended credibility. But it can also add brief and fleeting comedy at the right point. Who can forget Ferris Buehler? A recent example of a Pirandello in a major work is Stephen King's Dark Tower series, when two major characters show up at King's house to retrieve a discarded manuscript which, if not completed, would end those characters' existence.

Edward C. Patterson

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for the Reader - 64

A Horse Opera

a novel set in the wild, wild west.

Ed Patterson

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for the Reader - 63


a novel extoling the life and ways of county living. (Shades of Martha Stewart to wearing orange as a fashion statement).

Edward C. Patterson

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for the Reader - 62

Zeugma (pronouned zoygma)

the use of a single word to modify more than one objects, usually to create irony or humor. The classic Zeugma is Dickens. Mr. Pickwick took his hat and his leave.

Edwarfd C. Patterson

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for the Reader - 61


using part of an entity to represent the entire entity. Useful in dialog, but in certain narative. Examples are my wheels for my car, my windows for my house, my medical degree for my doctor and my alimony payment for my ex-wife.

Edward C. Patterson

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for the Reader - 60

episodic novel structure

a loosely sewn series of events and scenes that need to coalesce into a whole in order to succeed. These are generally held together by a protagonist that holds the reader's sympathy throughout. Examples are Don Quixote, Candide and most traditional Chinese novels - Outlaws of the Marsh (The Water Margin).

Edward C. Patterson

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for Readers - 59

falling action, better known as the denouement

a point in the story where the protagonist manages the story action and the story's intricacies are resolved. Some authors leave us dangling without a denoument, but readers usually resolve it with their own denouement. They toss the book away (or delete it from their Kindles).

Edward C. Patterson

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for the Reader - 58

apotheosis scene

technically, raising a subject to devine status, but in writing, the construction of a scene so lofty that it becomes iconic and sacrosanct. Generally, it's left to the last scene and is an act hard to follow, unless you have a curtain call. A movie equivolent would be the last scene on StarWars in the great hall or the Hobbits being idolized at the coronation at Minas Tireth (a Jacksonian touch. However, Tolkien nears apotheosis with The Ride of the Rohirrim).

Edward C. Patterson

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Guide to Author Jargon for Readers - 57

parenthetical clause

sometimes known as tits on a bull. An interrupt phrase that acts as an aside to the main subject and is set off in parenthesis (). The same effect can be achieved by employing a typographical em-dash ( — ) which I've enclosed parenthetically. While the em-dash creates a pause, a breath and then a continuance, parathesis, although grammatically correct, generally disrupts the flow of a sentence for most readers.

Edward C. Patterson

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 56

epiphany moment

the point where a character is turned by a sudden flash of development — like Saul becoming Paul. In character-driven novels, it is the turning point in the story. However, it doesn't need to come mid-point. It can be effective as a starting point, especially in short fiction.

Edward C. Patterson

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Authoir's Jargon 55

Interior monologue

the recorded thoughts of a character (and in this case, the POV character). These are sometimes in first person mode (stream-of-consciousness). Interior monologue in third person limited POV is general set off in italics and dialog tagged. If he gives me another piece of jargon to remember, she thought, I'll scream.

Edward C. Patterson

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 54


a phrase that uses one sense to describe another. Sometimes it's ironic or even humorous. At other times it blend together in a duo-sense. Example: Hang them up and see what they say.

Edward C. Patterson

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 53


an understatement created by a double negative. IE. He was not unfriendly. Double negatives are Miss Precious Pipkin (the grammarian)'s nightmare and sure to get you a D on the anal-retentive scale. However, littes are often used by authors and by people that come from Brooklyn (like me, where it is officially grammatical). One might say, I'm pro-litote.

Edward C. Patterson

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 52


what I call Yoda speak. This is where two clauses are reversed for effect. So, You are a Jedi Knight, becomes A Jedi Knight, you are. It can be awkward in dialog if the character doesn't normally speak that way. How it can be very effective in narrative to raise tension. Like all things in writing, if overused, or misplaced, it feels odd to the reader, and anything that feels odd to the reader, throws them out of the story (that is, disengages them).

Edward C. Patterson

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 51

alliterative phrase

from the poetic form alliteration, a sentence that incorporates the same initial consonent for the principle stress words. Sometimes the effect is comical (unitentionally), but sometimes memorable. We all know "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled-peppers," from our Mother Goose. Keen authors will use alliterative phrases to accent a mood, where hard consonents create friction and soft ones are melodious.

My favorite alliterative phrase is from W. S. Gilbert - The Yeomen of the Guard.

"Oh, weary wives who widowhood would win, rejoice that ye have time to weary in."

Edward C. Patterson

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 50

material overshoot

Authors research, but when they insist on including their entire research in the work, instead of using it to support sound novel writing, it's called material overshoot. Details are important - gun callibers, how things work and desciptions of murder weapons, but some authors overload a work with these details so that the reader might as well have gone to the original source materials. Details engage readers, but too much detail, especailly when overpowering and forced can sink a novel fast.

Edward C. Patterson

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 49


a residue of cut phrases lingering after revision. Since good authoring means sculpting paragraphs so that sentences have a close interrelationship, when phrases, clauses and sentences are cut during revision, that relationship is broken and, in many cases, evidence of the cut remains. This is a wonderful side effect to revision work, because it adds accidental depth to the paragraph, which readers can sense as sub-text. Like ghosts, they are not actually there. Spooky, but true. It is unplanned, like that errant splash on a watercolor that makes the accidental difference between flat and exciting; boring and artistic.

Edward C. Patterson

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 48

shared illumination

writing a scene employing minimal description of objects and persons, relying on the reader's experience to fill in the blanks. For example, if I have a dining room with a chandelier, just the mention of chandelier should tap into the reader's image archive. By describing it a single crystal and perhaps the number of tiers shapes it perfectly for the reader's mental eye. Of course, with just three elements, the author has created not one chandelier, but as many chandeliers as there are readers. Shared illumination engages a reader's mind and keeps them in the work. It also reminds authors that the reading experience is one on one. Now this is not an exoneration for eliminating detailed descriptions, which are often needed in sequences and in some genres more crucial and expected.

Edward C. Patterson

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon - 47


right handed page (odd numbered page) - Titles, sections and chapters start recto. (Not to be confused with rectal).


left handed page (even numbered page) - presented blank before an initial recto page.

Edward C. Patterson

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 46


words and phrases that are added to shade a scene to a particular setting, literally to add color. So if it's about to rain and the work is set in Palermo, the tour guide could look up and use the Scicilian expression for it's about to rain. Fra dopo poco gli santi pisceranno, thus adding local color to the scene. One does not even need to translate. Colori could also be touches in dress or aromas. The more sensual, the more effective.

Edward C. Patterson

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 45


the art of telling a fable or Ru Paul, whichever comes first.

Edward C. Patterson

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 44


a novel told entirely from letters. Recent examples are Alice Walker's The Color Purple and Stephen King's Dolores Claiborne.

Edward C. Patterson

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 43

Metaphor medley - (also metaphor marathon)

two or more metaphors strung together in the same sentence. This is effective when the two metaphors are in contrast or a dichotomy. However, when they are similar, they give the reader a choice and they tend to slip off the path and the story. It also gives the appearance that the author can't make up their mind and is pushing a task off to the reader. Tsk Tsk. A metaphor medley can be effective, especially when expressing dichotomy, irony and comedy. It's also effective in dialog. However, authors should only use or retain when it works. If in doubt, cut one out and run.

Edward C. Patterson

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 42


a noble and pompous presentation or word order usually in the second person to give a ceremonial effect. Used in poetry, but in novels can reset or commence a section making the words more iconic than the subject matter. Authors should take care it its use or readers will either enshrine you or throw their Kindles against the wall. Example: the following set non-elegiacally: Most people would agree that wealthy men are in the market for a wife. Set elegiacal: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife — of course, the iconic opening of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

Edward C. Patterson

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 41


a post action or event reacting by a single or multiple character, usually occuring in the next or subsequent chapter from the action. This is one of the key ingredients for testing an author's mettle. Any event not worth sequeling, should probably be jettisoned from the work. Sequeling develop characters and also underscores an events significance in the reader's mind, as well as summarizing what just happened by eliminating the less important details allowing the event to gel into a particular shape for future reference. A sequel is not a second book or film in a series, a misnomer for a follow-up piece.

Edward C. Patterson

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 40

passive voice

a clause or phrase that utilizes a stative verb, such as IS or HAS and generally has no object, just a subject and verb. The door opened. The tree was big. There is nothing wrong with this construction, however, when it occurs frequently, it makes for sluggish and flat writing. Therefore, the first example, The door opened can be converted to Donald opened the door. The second, The tree was big, can become a fragment - Big tree. We are encouraged to refrain from passive sentences, because in general writing, it makes for a weak delivery of information. However, using the passive voice is an important technique in writing, the use of which can allow the reader to fall into the scene on a pastel cloud. (The last 2 sentences were passive voiced). Passive voice is discouraged for action sequences (duh) and narrative. Editors who attack every passive voice sentence should be questioned, because they are being slaves to a rule. However, an author needs to recognize every passive voice clause and question its existence, usually in revision, because when drafting, passive generally predominates, because the human brain favors its use, but readers are rarely engaged by it. There is a whole science that authors must know about the difference between writing and Reading, the one being the brain engaged to the hand and the other being the eye engaged to the brain. But that's another story.

Edward C. Patterson

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 39


unlike the story, which is the sum of the parts, a theme is a universal extraction from the parts. Like an orange, the story is the pulp, while the theme is the juice. Most successful novels have themes that rise like a halo from the book, but does not drive the novel. As such, themes are not generally part of the original process, but are grafted on after the substance of the work is finished or in revision. Novels that start with the theme generally sink like lead and stink like skunk. Nipping and tucking a theme into the work after the bread has risen lets the work breath and fills the reader with a sweet literary aroma.

Edward C. Patterson

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Authr's Jargon 38

logic suspenders

an impossibility presented and accepted by the reader, generally as a necessity that serves art, but sometimes as a triviality that gives an author great joy. The prime example is W.S. Gilbert's setting of The Pirates of Penzance Act I on the protagonist's birthday on a sunny day on the Cornwall shore, but in Act II we learn that the protagonist was born in Leap Year on the 29th of February, which would make that first Act setting an impossibility. My own use of this is when I set a split action scene, one in San Francisco and the other in Tuscany both simultaneosly at nightime. Triviality references (mine) include a cricket chirping in February in Georgia (I hang a lantern on that one) and (my favorite) a reference to a hummingbird by a Chinese character (in the 12th Cenury), an impossibility, because hummingbirds are indiginous to the Americas only.

Edward C. Patterson

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 37

kinetic redundancy

this is the inclusion of redundant words when describing an action, usually as a colloquialism. ie. He kicked the door with his foot (with his foot being redundant). She clapped her hands, (her hands being redundant). I shrugged my shoulders (my shoulders being redundant). Of course, I could kick the door with your foot, or clap my knees and even shrug my duties (I know it should be shirk), but when the action needs specific body parts to complete the action, they are best left on the wayside of the road in the dust. (That last clause demonstrates triple redundancy).

Edward C. Patterson

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 36


a rhythmic device. It’s the gallop we all know from the William Tell Overture, where the stress comes on the third syllable. Ta-ta-dum, ta-ta-dum, ta-ta-dum-dum-dum. It spices things up when things get dreary and too grammatical. It’s effective in getting the reader’s attention at the beginning of sections. ie. Flat = In the apple tree’s shade, she ate a peach tart. Spicy = She sat in the shade of the old apple tree eating her peacherine tart. Most anapests can be formed by transforming a possessive into the more rhythmic “of the.” “Peacherine,” is not any word in my or your dictionary. Writers must be prepared to invent new words that have meaning outside the dictionary. A peacherine tart is a wonderful thing to behold and eat, I’ll tell you.

Edward C. Patterson

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 35

red herring

the introduction of a memorable object, event or character that you lead the reader to believe is crucial, but turns out to be a distraction - sleight of hand. This covers the seeding of a crucial element that is hidden in plain view. This is a popular device in mysteries. Irony is the key to its success, otherwise it is merely a device and not an engaging element.

Edward C. Patterson

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 34


the introduction of memorable objects or characters that can be used as crucial elements later on in the story or not. Usually some irony is attached to seeding. i.e. a favorite silver letter opener might becomes the murder weapon. (I have a set of MountBlanc pens, I even name them, that have a life of their own).

Edward C. Patterson

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 33

full sensing

The application of the environment so the characters (and the reader) use all five senses to convey the mood. Many authors use sight and sound primarily and forget to use touch, smell and taste. As a result they spend time describing a characters wearing apparel or the nail poilish color. Full sensing brings a reader further into a scene than any other technique. Aromas, in particular, can set off imagery, while touch can extend into pain or goose flesh (horripilation).

Edward C. Patterson

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 32

sound distraction

Inserting an errant sound in a quiet or a dialog moment to break the reader's concetration but letting the outer world intrude in the inner one. For example, a seriious conversation between two lovers can become so weighted that it sags. So we insert - "A hawk cawed in the distant woodlands." That'll do it (corny as it sounds) and it works every time.

Edward C. Patterson

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's JKargon 31

Concise Inference

The revision or rewriting of a novel from its draft manuscript employing top-drawer writing techniques that have been purposefully ignored when authoring the draft, since a draft must capture the core spirit of an author's creativity without interference from craft. Art and craft are allies only after the fact. Many readers fail to acknowlege (nor should they care), that the product they consume has been written usually three times and, in most cases, upward of eight. In the process of concise inference, the author travels the pages with a different intent with each go-through, always to make a good work better, and a fine work, great. This is not to be confused with third party intervention by editors, beta-readers and authorial panels. Only the author has the top-drawer tools to apply to the work, even in response to outside stimuli.

Edward C. Patterson

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 30

section break

often misunderstood, this is an internal break within the chapter required for a major scene shift, but particularly when the Point of View changes from one character to another (another major scene change). POV rules apply most strictly in 3rd person limited story mode, where the narrator is limited to only one character point of view at a time and other character's most reveal their intentions and development through dialog and action (and other narrating devices, such as probability assumptions). The section break, in its loosest manifestation, is signaled by three carriage returns, but most often is represented by three asterisks centered at the break ( * * *). More formally (my preference) is a number sequence (1,2,3 etc) for each section break. Even if the POV switches for one paragraph or one sentence, the section break should be observed.

Edward C. Patterson

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 29


a formulaic book written for a surefire audience with the promise of steady revenue. This does not mean they are poorly written, it just means that their author depends on the income, knows where the paycheck is and writes it to readers taste, in most cases severing the creative bond between art and commerce. The name derives from the poor starving artist metaphor that needs to pay the gas bill to keep the pot boiling. The expression usually applies to books, but the concept can be applied to any art form that is driven by popular demand instead of creative integrity. It is possible to line the two up. Usually, works of this nature are not enduring, because popular tastes change leaving these whales beached.

Edward C. Patterson

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Reader's Guider to Author's Jargon 28


the speed of delivery for a novel, which varies at different points of the work. Generally, books need a moderate to fast pacing at the onset. (The opposite is called - slow burn). The pace should be steady and secure for the exposition and developmental portions of the work. However, the last act should have a significantly faster pace. Pace is a tactical device, taken paragraph at a time. There are many ways to speed up or slow down deliver, including fragmentation, tense shift, anapestic and other rhythmic devices. Word use is important, a simplification of language hastens pace, while metaphoric overlay slows things down. A major fault in many novels (even ones by the big names) is a steady delivery through a consistent style throughout the work. This delivers a slow burn over the entire work and tends to disengage readers midstream. If I could cite one style element that can make or break the structure of a book, it is pacing.

Edward C. Patterson

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 27

Deja vu event reinforcement

a repeating event or template throughout a work that weaves the structure into a whole. Such parallel scenes can remind the reader of important events, enhance character development or heighten the effect of similar events. An example of this can be seen in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, which has a recurring image of a woman draped in shimmering gold and fading further and further away. (Goldberry, Galadriel, Arwin).

Edward C. Patterson

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 26


trade edition

a standard 6 x 9 (technically 5.32" x 8.51') paperback edition of a book, usually perfect bound for durability.

hardback edition

a 6 x 9 (5.32" x 8.51") trade edition affixed to hardcover using a single stitch and glue. Technically not a hardcovr at all.

library edition

a 6 x 9 (5.32" x 8.51") true hardback, with stitched covers reinforced for durability since it must withstand the test of lending.

mass market

a smaller format (4.33" x 7.01") or (5.12" x 7.8") on thin paper and smaller type, glue bound and of short shelf life.

Edward C. Patterson

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author Jargon 25

Story vs. Plot

a story

the product of events, character reaction, interaction and development, and narration that organically evolves into an engaging and satisfactory experience for a reader or a listener.

a plot

a hole dug in a cemetery where failed novels are buried en masse. Akin to outlines, plots are fabrications meant to hold stories together, but like a skeleton, is a fossilized contrivance.

Edward C. Patterson

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon

Second person omniscient restatement

A mode of narrative whereby the 2nd person is used and the language is puffed or pretenscious giving an epic effect. This is a good device for short stretches toward the end of a work when an author needs to bring the reader up out of the minutia and into the rarified air of summary. In this case, the distance assumed between the narrator and the reader is sufficiently startling as to reset the work on a new plane. Story elements familiar to the reader are treated as newly introduced and with different language, and main charaters are refered to in type as opposed to developed characters. Since this is used after the reader is embedded in the work, the effect is like an iceberg hitting a volcano.

Edward C. Patterson

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 23

tense change

This is a section change from past tense to present tense to indicate a break in the story line. It can be disorienting, however, in this case it is meant to be so.

Edward C. Patterson

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 22

tense shift

The slight and imperceptible switch from the past tense to the present tense in an action sequence. This is done to make it more alive for the reader. However, it can also disorient readers and get you an F from Miss Biddiebartlestein's English grammar exam (not to mention a reviewer's perverse glance). It's done all the time, but can only shift for a few sentences and needs transitioning.

Edward C. Patterson

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 21

About Point of View - avoiding POV Violation

POV filters

These are words that glue the reader into the particular POV, generally the word knew - Paul knew that Leslie loved apples. However, when overused, filters become the source of loose writing, so authors need vigilance in their use.

POV maintainers

These are words and phrases that allow the non-POV character to express their probable point of view, yet maintains the POV established in the section. i.e. She probably knew him. OR Sydney always ate his sandwich with his hand, no doubt (that is when Sydney is not the POV character). These words generally do not cause reader anxiety, or less so than a slip in POV.

Edward C. Patterson

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 20

Novels by specie and genus

A sword and sandal

Traditionally a gladiatorial novel, but now any work that reflects the arena, featured in many SciFi books.

A horse opera

Traditionally, an American Old West setting, but now has been adopted by fantasy works as well.

Slice of Life

At one time a popular term for a gritty, realistic work that connects to the readers real life. Is less used now since this type can fall in many genres.


a particular type of fantasy where the fantasy world and the real world is express by a slight degree from each other so as to produce an illusive familiarity. Tolkien called his brand of fantasy faerie.

Edward C. Patterson

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 19


a technique of creating cloned or similar characters that either strengthen a view through underscoring or opposition. Usually these characters have a similar look, names and are genetically related. Their use is important for continuity. Generally less important characters, they can shore up structure when the story moves to different locales and the characters do not. I look upon it as double or triple casting roles to serve the protagonist at all point in the stories development.

Ed Patterson

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 18


a trail off from the high point in the work, which should be reserved for sequeling and the end of the story . Sometimes the climax is placed to close to a powerful core scene and becomes anti-climatic, usually viewed as a major structural flaw.

Edward C. Patterson

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 17

string of pearls

this is a technique of developing characters and event in a circular pattern, alternating between at least three sets of story-lines and characters, each time tightening to a climax that stands in the center. Usually all the characters and events come to a head. This structual technique works best in a five-act structure, between the third and fourth act.

Edward C. Patterson

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Readers Guide to Author's Jargon 16

Slipping and Sliding


a scene set out of sequence in the past.


a scene set out of sequence in the future.


a section that suddenly thrusts the reader into the back-story, sometimes for a paragraph and sometimes for a longer stretch. (In Stephen King's Wizard and Glass, for example, the slip-back is over 400 pages).


a brief glimpse at the future, usually at the end of a chapter. For example, He left the apartment. He would never see it again.


like a triple lindy, this is a difficult progression of slipping further and further into the backstory, sometimes three or four layers deep, and climbing back out. It's difficult (I've done it, and hopefully well). King's most famous double slip back is in The Gunslinger, where he slips back twice in the story before regaining the current timeline.

Edward C. Patterson

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 15

square dance POV

a neat scenic structure, best used for exposition, where a scene or chapter is devided into three parts, beginning in one character's point of view and ending in anothers. The middle section is POV neutral (not an easy thing to master), but the effect is like watching a wave hit the shore.

Edward C. Patterson

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 14


a novel where the characters are shipwrecked or marooned on a deserted place (or Island), from Robinson Crusoe. Examples, Swiss Family Robinson, Mysterious Island, Off on a Comet, Typee.

Edward C. Patterson

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 13

Tags - you're IT

dialog tag or active dialog tag - the he said/she said dialog tag - when the noun or pronoun is the the subject of the clause. Nelson said. Mary said. He said/she said. It is the most commonly used and acceptable dialog tag.

passive dialog tag - when the noun or pronoun is the object in the clause. Said Nelson. Said Mary. Said he, said she. Most common in Youth books - less so in mainstream fiction, although not uncommon in older 19th Century works. Because it is used in YA genres (Harry Potter comes to mind), some traditional acquisition editors will reject adult works that are passively tagged.

unvoiced dialog tag - commonly, this is the word said, which, although written, falls into white noise and is unvoiced by the reader. Writers are cautioned when using any other word to replace it.

voiced dialog tag - any verb in a tag that expresses a sound or verbiage - he stammered, she yelped, Mary chuckled. Misaligned tags in this category are such things as He smirked or she careened - physical attributes beyond verbalization.

inferred dialog tag - the omission of a dialog tag (unwritten as well as unvoiced), because the reader can infer who is speaking by tonality, dual participation or content.

revoiced dialog tag - the omission of dialog tags to the exclusion of all other text types, so that their omission is noticed by the reader. It intensifies the dialog, makes it claustrophobic and, when done well, has a powerful emotional effect.

adverbial dialog tag (the modified tag) - a dialog tag that includes a tonal adverb. He said quickly. Mary said, sweetly. Nelson said, sourly. These are sometimes necessary, but point to an author's lack of character and mood development, relying on adjectival adverbs. Some mentors call it lazy writing.

Swifties (a derisive name for a special breed of adverbial dialog tags) - Derived from the Tom Swift novels, a long standing joke whereby the adverb is created to underscore the action or environment. "I'm riding as hard as I can," he said from the saddle callously. "I'm on fire," Mary said alarmingly. etc. etc. In fact, there's a game that authors play called Swifties to see who can make up the most ridiculous one. In every one of my novels (as an Easter Egg, and to annoy my editor), I include at least one Swifty. Some day I might run a contest for readers to find them.

Well, I'm all tagged out.

Edward C. Patterson

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 12


An incomplete sentence (sure to get you a D in Miss Bartlestein's English class), is an encouraged technique in the creative writing world, although it sometimes drives grammarians to drink (hemlock, I hope). This is removing the verb from the sentence, thus making it an incomplete sentence. It is most effective with single words and needs to be used judiciously. It is particularly helpful in turning passive measures into active measures by eliminating stative verbs, such as is and was. Creative minds treat fragments as an opportunity to use words poetically - that is, for the sound and image quality, thus getting quite a bang for their money. Fragments can also be used as an intensifier for hastening the pace. Speed it up. <---- fragment. (the larch). <----- another fragment.

Edward C. Patterson

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Reader's Guider to Author's Jargon 11


the last paragraph of a chapter, when the author abandons the main point of view (POV) in favor of another POV. The effect is a palate cleanser and also reveals elements that the POV character doesn't see. It can be disorienting to the reader if not done with care, and should probably be used sparaingly and only at the end of a chapter or section. The Chinese novel tradition of the Yuan and Ming dynasties use it constantly, often turning Western readers off as it can jettison them out of the story.

Edward C. Patterson

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 10


A word or phrase that repeats throughout the work, but each time it picks up new meaning or additional baggage, so that when it is used at a key point, it has a viseral effect on the reader. (Run for the Hankies). A good example is from the film Ghost, (many authorial techniques come from or lend themselves to cinematography), the word ditto is an echo, which by the time it's delivered at the climax point, packs a powerful emotional whallop. My favorite echo is from the 1940's tearjerker Imitation of Life (often called the tear-jerker of the century). There the echo is a phrase (I kid you not) I want my ducky. That unlikely bit of echoing send millions into post-theater trauma. I've used such words as clot and Wham! Bam! Boom! as echos and, my favorite, I am your Rachel in Turning Idolater.

Edward C. Patterson

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 9

mentorial homage

A phrase or reference borrowed from the author's mentor, slipped in as an easter egg somewhere in the manuscript as a homage to that mentor. An example, from my own work - In one novel I have a Chapter called The Battle of the Somme. The chapter is not about the Battle of the Somme. In fact, it describes going through the Infiltration Course. However, the Battle reference is not only metaphoric, it's a mentorial homage to Tolkien, who fought and began writing The Lord of the Rings during the Battle of the Somme. (And for the Tolkien scholars out there, it wasn't actually LOTR, but The Last Cottage, which featured beginning of the Rivendell scenes). King does similar things all throughout The Dark Tower Series.

Edward C. Patterson

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 8

temporal slip

A technique to begin a chapter by slipping back in the second paragaph by a few moments and then playing catch-up. Works best with a dialog statement. "That's terribly loud, you know," Hildegard said. Then in the next sentence. He had been in the quiet bathroom and decided to take a nap, but the noise upstairs was annoying. etc.etc.etc.etc. Then, "That's terribly loud, you know. You'll be deaf before you're twenty."

Edward C. Patterson

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 7

Hanging a lantern

This is the act of drawing the readers attention to a logic lapse (eventhough the author may not correct it), before the reader gets a chance to find it and lessen their credibility in the story. Such lapses are essential for pace and exposition and, if corrected, would tear the fabric of the work. Therefore, we do not ignore them, but cover them up in plain sight. The term comes from the silent movie days when pieces of the set were incongruously in sight. The director would yell, Hang a lantern on it.

Edward C. Patterson

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 6

Sequel or Sequeling

NOT a second book in a series (a misnomer), but a section, usually at the beginning of a chapter when a character reviews the situation, generally from the previous chapter. Such reviews in situ would soften the effect of the action, but the absence of reaction from the character shallows both character development and the significance of the action.

Edward C. Patterson

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 5

Jimeny Cricketing

Having the point of view character hear the words of their mentor during a sequel. Almost like bringing the reader onto the character's left shoulder (or right according to your political persuasion).

Edward C. Patterson

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 4

comma roulade

The defiance of the chain noun comma rule (he ate pancakes, eggs and tomatillo salad) by substituting a conjunction, such as and or or. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my. An excellent way to heighten reader tension, and followed by a throwaway word, brings things to a screeching halt. It can be used with clauses also. However, if the clause is too long, the effect is dissipated, i.e. Virginia Woolf's never ending sentences.

Edward C. Patterson

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 3


a sentence or paragraph at the end of a section or chapter that leaves the reader at rest, happy or even sublime.

Edward C. Patterson

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 2

Roman a clef or Roman a cle

A novelized memoir. Technically (from the French) a romance with a key. A true life story veiled in fiction.

Edward C. Patterson

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 1

In Media Res - This is when a story begins in the middle of an action. Nice effect, because it sweeps the reader into a mood of immediacy - sort of getting on the roller coaster as it makes its first drop and then worrying about who's in the car when the ride stops. It's a favorite movie opening mode.

Friday, August 6, 2010

What are you working on now that you can talk about?

I am currently working on the fourth installment of The Jade Owl Lagacy series, a big tome entitled The People’s Treasure. I have also started revisions on a novel called The Road to Grafenwöhr, a gothic mash-up of Jane Austen and Stephen King. Later in the year, I will move forward with the third book in the Southern Swallow series (Book 3 of 5) entitled Swan Cloud. I have been working on this series for 37 years, since my college days as a Sinologist (that’s not a Doctor of Sinus Headaches, but a specialist in Chinese History and Culture). I currently have ten works in progress for release in 2010-2013. It takes a few years for anything worthwhile to gel.

Edward C. Patterson - Interviewed

Friday, July 30, 2010

Do you own an e-book reading device?

Yes. I am in the first wave of Kindle owners, and was one of the first authors to publish on the Kindle (November 2007). I started with a K1 and graduated to a Kindle DX. In fact, I received the DX a few days before I attended a conference where I was to read from one of my books, and, to my knowledge, I am the first American author to perform a book reading from a Kindle DX. Amazon’s tech staff even provided support. I have 6,000 books contained in 1,250 items on my Kindle. I need to install an outlet in that aforementioned plot as I intend to read for eternity.

Edward C. Patterson - Interviewed

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What drives you to chose the career of being a writer?

Well, I wouldn’t call it a career. I had one of those — a Marketing Director at a Fortune 500 company. To me a career is something interesting to earn your living. I now earn my living in a greatly reduced corporate capacity. Writing, on the other hand, is my vocation. It’s what I do and have been doing since I was thirteen, and that’s fifty years ago. The only difference now is in the professional aspects of it. Now I publish what I author and thereby share it with readers. Now that’s novel, isn’t it? However, I also have the responsibility to serve up the best possible product within my abilities (shades of the marketing director). I have a passion and to share that passion is a joy. To know that someone else is reading and enjoying my books (or rolling them in dog food) is a mighty pleasure. I guess the notion that something beyond my final heartbeat will linger drives me forward to the end.

Edward C. Patterson

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?

Absolutely. Not every session involves writing. Some sessions involve authoring, which usually doesn’t produce words, but mental images and a cornucopia of ideas. However, in the writing session, my goal is 4,000 words, but my happiness is 2,000 words . . . that work. I never have Writer’s Block, because I always stop mid-flow and begin afresh in the next session in the middle of a thought.

Edward C. Patterson, Interviewed

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What do you draw inspiration from?

Every day and every moment that I encounter inspires me. Few things do not inspire me to write. As for story ideas, they come to me without my searching for them. To contrive a plot (I don’t believe in plots, except the one I’ll wind up in), is nothing more than pretending to be an author. If it doesn’t come to you, how can you nurture it until it becomes something to offer a reader?

Edard C. Patterson, Interview

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?

I detest outlines and over planning. Generally, books derived from outlines and extreme details (to the point where every back-story and character arc is predestined) are indubitably flawed works. Research, I do, although most of my novels come from my experience level, in either life or education, so I generally do not need to go too far a field for the research, and in that, I will jot down a note or two. I primarily use the computer, however, I have a scratch sheet, one per novel with some notes to keep me honest — character names (especially Chinese ones), places names (especially Chinese ones) and doodle maps (especially . . . well you get my drift). By developing a novel organically, you allow the elements that make a story to form. You also permit your characters to come alive and then share the writing task. Although I sometimes need to chastise a character and they have held union meetings to protest something I’ve forced on them, generally a first draft is born from a harmony of my imagination and the characters extendion of that imagination, thus engaging the reader.

Edward C. Patterson , Interview

Sunday, May 30, 2010

What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?

Since I have a full-time job, I slot my writing time between 6 pm and midnight. The key is not so much the time, but the frequency, which is daily and at least five times per week. Although much time is spent writing mentally (in the car, in bed, in the shower), there is that point daily when one must glue ones ass to the seat and apply ones fingers to the keyboard.

Edward C. Patterson, Interview

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Operation eBook Drop Founder's Blog

Just posted a new article "How to Adopt an Aircraft Carrier" on Operation eBook Drop's Founder's Blog

Ed Patterson

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Relaunch fo Cutting the Cheese

I'm happy to announce that Cutting the Cheese has been completely revised and re-released. And out of respect for all those readers who have purchased a copy on the Kindle or for other eReaders, for the first 2 weeks (until January 31,2010), I am offering this novel for FREE, so copies can be replaced and new readers can add it to their stacks.

FREE on Smashwords - Cutting the Cheese
use Coupon Code FB57N upon check out (be sure to download the 2010 version).

Thanks to all
Edward C. Patterson