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Fiction Writing Tips

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

Deciding What to Write

Before you start writing a novel, screenplay, or any tale at all, you should decide 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

Greenlight Your Story’s Concept

In short, a story isn't just one idea, it's a conglomeration—basic concepts about characters, how and why they act, and how others react to them.  If you analyze even a short story, one that is only ten pages long, you'll find that the author makes dozens, maybe even hundreds of choices regarding milieu, character, conflict, theme, and treatment.

Rules for Your Writing Group

In our Apex writing group, Apex is an umbrella organization that provides services for a large number of writers, but we also encourage writers to do things in smaller groups. For example, some writers are having great success by meeting together for daily writing sprints, or weekly brainstorming sessions or critique groups.  Remember, a writing group is a living, growing thing. It may change over time, and your rules need to evolve with it.

David Farland’s Writing Tips: Writing Media Tie-in

If you are a successful writer, the chances are excellent that all kinds of people will approach you to write for them. One perennial need is for novelists to write film or gaming tie-ins. Imagine for a moment that you’re a producer and you’ve created a major motion picture, a television series, or a videogame. You want to advertise it, but you probably don’t have a big budget. You could spend

David Farland’s Kick in the Pants: Attributions in Dialog

Writing clear dialog isn’t hard to do, but many new writers—and some old ones—make simple mistakes. Here are a few things to watch out for. Never hide the identity of a speaker. Many new writers will start a story like this: “Don’t leave me. I couldn’t bear it.” Now, it might be a perfectly good hook for a story, but I’ve read dialog where the protagonist isn’t named for a dozen pages, even though

David Farland’s Writing Tips: Plotting Your Story

We often begin a story with very little in mind—a powerful image from a dream, a play on words overheard during a conversation, an emotion that we want to capture, a clever idea for a twist. As these ideas coalesce, we begin to form a story. I often feel that the ideas that give me the genesis of a story are like pieces to a puzzle—a puzzle that I will create. 

David Farland’s Writing Tips: The “Green” Test for the “F” Bomb

Today's writing tip is offered by Jan Nerenberg.   Recently I edited a manuscript and noted the overuse of the “f” word. The writer questioned why the use of the "f" bomb was offensive, after all he stated, it's common usage. Personal preference aside (I personally don't like it) but as an editor, mentor, and fellow-writer I considered his statement/feelings/reasoning and decided I needed to look deeper into why I felt

David Farland’s Writing Tips: Heating Up

First off, let me explain that any one person might fulfill several roles. In other words, you might be able to fill three or four roles. Just as you can be a loving father, a tough soldier, and a devoted son to your mother, you can fill any of these roles listed below. In fact, to some degree you have to fill all of them. Yet if you are in a group with others who help support you, you may be stronger together than you are apart.

The Super Writers’ Bundle

The Writers’ Bundle—On Sale Now! David Farland has helped dozens of authors hit the New York Times bestseller list, contributing to the careers of J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Brandon Sanderson, James Dashner, and many more. With this bundle, you’ll get access to the audited versions of Dave’s online workshops and receive copies of his writing books, all for a special price. These courses would normally cost more than $1,600, but for

David Farland’s Writing Tips: 20 Hidden Costs of Publishing

I often hear indie authors—and authors in general—demonizing publishers for doing a poor job of marketing books. The usual complaint is that publishers “Don’t spend a dime on promotion.” But that isn’t true. Publishers often make huge investments on books, but the author never sees or hears about it. That’s because the investments are usually made in part with what we call “cooperative advertising.” That’s where the bookstore takes a larger

David Farland’s Writing Tips—Your Reader’s Alter Ego

Forty years ago, I was introduced to a nerdy game called D&D, and quickly found myself becoming a “Dungeon Master,” the person who created adventures and led people on imaginary quests. I even began designing my own games. Creating Characters  I quickly learned something about people. When I introduced someone to D&D, people wanted to play themselves . . . with some enhancements. For example, I had a couple of friends

David Farland’s Writing Tips: How Real Do You Want Your World to Be?

When I approach creating a world for a story, I ask myself, “How real do I want this world to be?” This might sound like a trite question, but it’s not. More than 400 years ago, William Shakespeare was born into a world where playwriting had become rigid and stagnant in its traditions. In his day, it was believed that a play should be set in the town where people lived. For example, if

David Farland’s Writing Tips—Your Better Half

A quick judgment. A few years ago, I happened to meet a writer at a convention who had produced half a dozen novels. I’d seen her work on a display table. Her books were self-published and full of misspellings and grammatical errors. I wasn’t impressed. As I was chatting with her, a young lady came up, introduced herself, and said, “You’re my favorite author in the world!” Then a teenage boy

David Farland’s Writing Tips: “Taking Your Book to Television” from Kevin Beggs

Recently I interviewed Kevin Beggs, Chairman of the Television Group for Lionsgate Entertainment at the Apex-Writer's Group, who oversees production and development of all scripted and non-scripted programming. He’s had a long string of television hits, so I won’t list many, but his works include series like Mad Men, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Dangerous Liaisons, Orange is the New Black, Weeds and the popular Dead Zone. I found him to be remarkably

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