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Fiction Writing Tips

Fiction Writing Tips2020-11-10T10:14:18-07:00

How to Make a Million Dollars with Your Writing

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate in IndieReCon, a free online writers' conference for self-published authors. I did a Google Hangout with Ali (our first time ever, there was a steep learning curve!) and talked about my thoughts on how to write a bestselling novel that will make you a million dollars. Now normally I would charge $29.95 for a lecture like this online, but this one

David Farland’s Writing Tips—3 Proving Questions for Big Ideas.

Over the years, I’ve seen a number of authors struggle with ideas for novels. Very often, those ideas mature into books, and sometimes they even become huge bestsellers. But how do you know if you’ve got an idea for a big book? Last week, a young man presented an idea that would work just fine. He had a historical character that he was interested in writing about. The very idea gave

David Farland’s Writing Tips: Who is this Story about, really?

When you create a story, perhaps the most monumental decision that you will make is the one regarding your protagonist. How many are there? What ages? Genders? Ethnicities? and so on. The reason that this is important is that by choosing protagonists, you may be limiting your audience. A few years ago, a survey found that about 32% of men don’t like to read across gender, and 18% of women don’t. 

David Farland’s Writing Tips: Resonance in Settings

When you write a story, any story, you write within the context of the whole of literature, of everything that has gone before.  The choice of words that you use will provide little clues to the story that your readers will often absorb almost instantly as they read.  The reader might not consciously recognize an allusion to another major work, but it will happen subconsciously.   For example, if I put

David Farland’s Writing Tips: Promises to Keep

As a teen, I once read a fantasy novel that had a picture on the cover that showed a wizard fighting with some lizard men. I read the novel, and liked it pretty well, except for one thing: the mage on the cover was too old, and there weren’t any lizard men. I kept thinking, “It must come at the end!” But the scene never did take place. At the time,

David Farland’s Writing Tips: Beware of False Suspense

I have a saying, “There are ten thousand right ways to write any story, but there are a million wrong ways to do it.” I use this to point out that lots of things work, but new writers often don’t recognize that some things never work. So let’s talk about one. “Suspense.” Suspense is a pleasurable state of excitement or anticipation that an audience feels when they engage in a

Writing Tip: Your Character’s Central Question

The script doctor Michael Hague has pointed out that for every successful motion picture, there is a central question that revolves around the protagonist: “Who are you?”  After studying this insight for twenty years, I’m convinced that Michael is right. You usually (because there are always exceptions) can’t write a powerful story of character without addressing this issue. In other words, your protagonist often has people around him who define him. 

Study with Integrity

Last week, a writer told me about how he had written a story several years ago that went on to win a Finalist in the Writers of the Future Contest. He then applied to a university to learn how to write, and his prose had gotten much richer and more powerful, but, increasingly, he no longer enjoyed writing, and couldn't stay motivated. I’ve heard this story from dozens of writers,

10 Tips for Bringing a Scene to Life (2020 update)

Years ago, I wrote an article on bringing a scene to life—and then I did an exercise based upon my own article.  Here are the bare bones of that article. These are techniques and 10 "Tips for Bringing a Scene to Life"   1. Use "Resonators" Especially at the beginning of a tale, use “resonators” to better tie into your audience's subconscious.  A resonator is a word or image that gains

How to Start Off a Story

The first scene can be anything—a funny incident that introduces one of your protagonists, or perhaps an argument that leaves your reader shocked.  Maybe you'll write a scene that will leave your reader admiring your protagonist and cheering for her, or perhaps you'll introduce your tale with a gruesome murder that will leave the reader horrified but burning with intrigue. 

Creating Likeable Protagonists

In Hollywood, it is said that “There are only two ways to make a likeable character.” Here are those two ways, plus a few more. 1) Put your character in pain. Putting a character in physical pain often doesn’t work well, but putting them in emotional turmoil can be very powerful. A person who suffers persecution for something that he can’t change, or who is falsely accused, or who simply faces

How to Start a Novel

When starting to write a novel, you should keep in mind: A good opening should promise the reader a powerful emotional impact if he or she reads on.

Learning to Write vs Becoming a Writer

So as I considered this problem, it struck me that as a writing instructor, I wanted to begin doing more than just teaching people how to write: I wanted to teach them how to be writers. We’ve been working at it with our Apex Writers Group for about ten months now, and I’m gratified with the success. One of our authors wrote just a couple of weeks ago: “After twelve years, I finally wrote ‘The End’ on my first novel manuscript, thanks to the Daily Sprints on Apex.” Another author finished his first book after 8 years. Others were only two or three.

Upcoming Online Master Workshops at Fyrecon

Hello I am teaching a series of Master Workshops on launching your book. Class 1 covers: Pre-Sales Should you write a little novel or a biog series? How do you turn your novel release into a major event? Creating a bestseller-from designing a cover, choosing a font, to getting and selecting cover quotes. How to write your bio and back copy Selecting the right reviewers for your book. Ramping up for the launch

How to Write a Good Book

Before you start a novel, screenplay, or any tale at all, you should look at a number of things: 1) Do you like the basic concept? If you aren’t excited about a novel, chances are excellent that you’ll lack the energy to finish it. Your subconscious will rebel at the idea, and you’ll just go through the motions, wishing that you were working on another project. So you have to

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