Category Archives: The Four D’s

The Four D’s: All in One Place


16246-we-are-better-togetherIf you’ve perused my blog at all, you may be familiar with a series of posts called The Four D’s. These posts stem from my experience as an MFA student at Pine Manor College in Boston, where I was fortunate enough to spend a semester under the mentorship of New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane. 


On day 1 of our workshop, Dennis told us that all stories must have four things: depth of character, depth of story, depth of insight, and depth of language. 



This simple set of “rules” has had a transformative effect on my writing, so I wanted to share it with other writers and did so in a series of blog posts. Now that the series is complete, I thought it would be more convenient to bring all the posts together in one place. So, if you are interested, just click the links below.


Dennis Lehane and the Four D’s

The Four D’s: Part 2 – What is Depth?

The Four D’s: Part 3 – Depth of Character

The Four D’s: Part 4 – More on Depth of Character

The Four D’s: Part 5 – Depth of Story

The Four D’s: Part 6 – Depth of Insight

The Four D’s: Part 7 – Depth of Language




The Four D’s: Part 3 – Depth of Character

  Craft books and writing teachers will tell you that readers read for character. Indeed, the cornerstone of literary fiction is the complex character study. At a minimum, even the most surface-dwelling, plot-driven genre novel needs engaging characters to carry the story. These characters are not expected to confront deep emotional issues or transcend their… Continue Reading