As a college student studying pre-medical microbiology, Dave Wolverton was torn. He also wanted to be a writer. So he thought, Someday, I’ll be a doctor who writes on the side.
Until one day he realized that the desire to write was overwhelming, while his interest in medicine had begun to wane. He says, “I found my biochemistry classes to be so boring, I could hardly stay awake in them, and even the thought of cutting into a cadaver left me queasy.”
“As I considered the possibility of writing more seriously,” he says, “I learned that the average writer spends seven years learning how to write well enough to get published. I began thinking about some young writers that I knew, and realized that even the talented ones seemed to be afraid to state publicly that they wanted to become writers. They weren’t fully immersing themselves. So I began to wonder, is it possible to learn to write publishable fiction in less than seven years? Could I reach that goal in one year?
“I decided that if I were to try, I would have to study it as aggressively as if I were studying medicine. I had to take it seriously.”
So Dave began writing and entering short story contests. His goal was to win first place in a contest within one year. He prepared several manuscripts and submitted them to various contests, and at the end of a year, he won them all.
Shortly after winning the International Writers of the Future Gold Award for best short story of the year, Dave was offered a three-novel contract with Bantam books. His first book, On My Way to Paradise, became a bestseller and won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Special Award as one of the best books of the year.
This set the tone for his career. He went on to publish some fifty novel-length works and dozens of short stories, both under his own name and under his fantasy writing pseudonym, David Farland.[clients]
He has hit the New York Times Bestseller list several times, and his books are published in dozens of languages.
In the early 1990s, Dave accepted a position as lead judge for one of the world’s largest writing contests and began to mentor students. A few years later, he was also invited to teach creative writing at Brigham Young University.
As a writing instructor, he has mentored dozens of other New York Times bestselling authors, including such #1 Bestsellers as Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time), Brandon Mull (Fablehaven), James Dashner (The Maze Runner), and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight). He so enjoyed teaching that he continues to hold writing workshops to this day.
Dave has worked with some of the largest properties of our time, including Star Wars and The Mummy. He also worked as a videogame designer and scripter, and was the co-leader on the design team for one of the biggest hits of all time: Starcraft Brood War.
In 1999 he set the Guinness Record for the World’s Largest Book Signing.
In the 1990s, Dave began working as a story consultant with publishers, and at one point was asked to help Scholastic Books decide which of their titles to push big the following year. Dave selected an unknown novel, to which the editor said, “Oh, our marketing department hates that book. It’s too long for the intended audience.” So Dave had to explain exactly why the novel Harry Potter could become a bestseller if given a little marketing push. Within three years, it became the bestselling novel of all time.
In 2002, Dave went to Hollywood, where he worked as a green-lighting analyst on films, helping producers and directors decide which screenplays to turn into movies. If a script had problems, he sometimes worked as a script doctor to help fix it.
Dave has written in a number of genres. His historical novel In the Company of Angels won the Whitney Award as Best Novel of the Year; he is best known though for his fantasy work, which includes the international bestselling series The Runelords.
His most recent novel, Nightingale, a young adult thriller, won the International Book Award for Best Young Adult Novel of the Year and won the Hollywood Book Festival for Best Book of the Year, beating out all novels and nonfiction books in all categories.[clients]
Today, Dave lives in Utah where he still writes novels, serves as lead judge for one of the world’s writing contests, teaches, and works as a story analyst for books and film. He says, “I seem to have become a writer who now works as a doctor on the side—a story doctor.”
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