Writing Tips Video Series

I’ve been getting a lot of email lately asking for help with various aspects of writing a novel. When I wrote the Atherton trilogy I created a series of nine short videos that describe the two year process of writing those books. If you’re a teacher or a librarian, these might be helpful for the young writers in your schools. And if you’re a writer yourself and you’re feeling a little bit stuck, I hope these help! Write on. http://www.patrickcarman.com/the-author/writing-tips/

Roald Dahl and the Rewrite

I do a lot of rewriting before sending a first draft to an editor, and based on the below letter to his daughter, so did Roald Dahl. First time novelists remember: even for the best writers, it’s a long process getting to a publishable manuscript. And I love that writing chair he used!

“The reason I haven’t written you for a long time is that I have been giving every moment to getting a new children’s book finished. And now at last I have finished it, and I know jolly well that I am going to have to spend the next three months rewriting the second half. The first half is great, about a small girl who can move things with her eyes and about a terrible headmistress who lifts small children up by their hair and hangs them out of upstairs windows by one ear. But I’ve got now to think of a really decent second half. The present one will all be scrapped. Three months work gone out the window, but that’s the way it is. I must have rewritten Charlie [and the Chocolate Factory] five or six times all through and no one knows it.”


Carl Spitzweg Painting

This is a painting that used to hang in the house where I grew up. It’s by a German painter named Carl Spitzweg, and apparently this is one of his more obscure paintings.

I must have stared at it a thousand times and wondered what the story was. carl

Have you ever seen a picture and either wondered what story it was trying to tell, or made up a story for what you saw?

For this Spitzweg painting, I remember thinking it was the central scene of a fairy tale. This was the basement of a castle, and whenever the princess met someone she wanted to marry, she would send them down to this room to meet the poor poet of the house and his wife. And his monkey.

Visiting the poet was a test to see what the prince would do, because in my imagination, the poet sitting there (and his wife) would tell the prince all about the rarest gem in the world, which was worth a fortune. It was hidden somewhere in the room and it would fit in the prince’s pocket – it would be all his because they hated the princess.

All the prince had to do was take the ball and chain off the monkey and put the ball and chain on himself – then the monkey would show the prince where the treasure was hidden.

But of course once the prince put the ball and chain on, he turned into a monkey. The guy walking up the stairs is the last guy who fell for this trick, walking out in shame after having been held captive for a few years.

Now the monkey in the painting had only been that monkey for like five minutes! Right before I showed up and saw the painting, that monkey was a prince. And the guy walking out the door was a monkey.

If you have a picture and a story, I’d love to see it and hear it. Comment!

FLOORS III is here! The Field of Wacky Inventions awaits

Charlie had his chocolate factory.

Stanley Yelnats had his holes.

Leo has his amazing Whippet Hotel!  Floors-BookCovers-3-Optim

Order your copy online or from your favorite bookstore – the critics are raving!

A madcap mystery reminiscent of Roald Dahl and Ellin RAskin, complete with bizarre inventions, a mystery involving a missing billionaire and his fortune, and even a crazy elevator or two – Publishers Weekly

Mixing mystery; colorfully drawn, offbeat characters; and some Willy Wonka evoking flourishes, this series offers an absorbing, entertaining read – Booklist

An adventurous romp, as atmospheric as incense and as smooth as lemonade on a summer day – Kirkus

FLOORS provides puzzles to solve, fabulous rooms and inventions to explore, and large dollops of humor – School Library Journal


PULSE is #2 on the 2013 Indie Next List

Each season, all the independent bookstores in the country get to vote on their favorite upcoming books. It’s called the Indie Next List, and it’s tough to get on that thing. There are 50 books chosen for each season, and for the 2013 Indie Next List, PULSE is #2. It’s like a Christmas miracle wrapped in a David Copperfield illusion! Here’s what it says about PULSE:

“Pulse is a brilliant combination of thriller, mystery, and dystopian adventure. Set 30 years in the future in a world of amazing technology, dwindling energy, and imminent environmental disaster, this is a story of an independent teenager whose life is turned upside down when she discovers she can move objects with her mind. Can she master her new abilities in time to save herself and her friends from those who would hurt them? A fantastic beginning to a mind-bending new series that will leave readers eagerly waiting for the next book.”


Find PULSE wherever books are sold, and listen to an audio interview and watch the trailer here:





  • Fun to see your books all Frenched up. http://t.co/z3CJP0SAcj 3 hours ago
  • Pinball machine desk! http://t.co/h3zzzpyTPU 4 hours ago
  • I’d totally play on this thing. http://t.co/ZylHeftfZA 8 hours ago

New Comments

  • kezia
    is there going to be a third book for the pulse trilogy ...

  • evelyn
    Dear Mr Carman, I am almost finished reading your book thirteen days to midnight and so far its AMAZING. ...

  • evelyn
    I love you book thirteen days to midnight ! ...