Fiction Writing Tips

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

David Farland’s Writing Tips: On Nurturing Writers

This week I celebrate a kind of anniversary. Thirteen years ago, in the first week of October, I started this blog. Originally it was going to be a daily blog, “David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants,” with the goal of helping to inspire and train writers. I kept it up daily for two years, but there were deadlines and sick days and I finally decided to cut it down to

Making Better Magic Systems, Lesson 5

Spellcasting Catastrophes   When you create a magic system, you want it to be clean and concise, right? You want it to be simple and foolproof. That’s human nature. It’s also 100 percent wrong! Many new authors forget to establish rules about how magic spells are cast. In developing a method for your magic, you might ask yourself:   How does the magic user cast a spell? Does he need to

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

How Does Your Character Feel?

  When you’re describing a setting, it’s important to bring the scene to life. Part of bringing a scene to life, though, is to explore how your character feels about the setting. I was watching American Idol once and Randy Jackson said something that you will hear over and over again when anyone discusses any art form, yet he said it simply enough to make it profound. He said, “The purpose

How to Overcome Writer’s Block

  Many writers never have a problem with writer’s block, and so we sometimes say, “There’s no such thing.” But that’s not quite right. The truth is, there are various reasons why people feel “blocked,” which makes it hard sometimes to figure out why a writer is having problems. Here are the most common reasons for writer's block. 1) You’ve taken a wrong turn in your story, and something feels “off”

David Farland’s Writing Tips—Three Mistakes in Tone

One of the most common problems I see with new writers is a “mistake in tone.” You know what I mean if you’ve ever played in a band. A new kid comes in, you’re trying to play a song, and he blats out a sour note on a trumpet. The same thing happens in writing. It usually happens because the writer wants so badly to impress the reader that he tries

David Farland’s Writing Tips: Those Troublesome Transitions

Many new writers figure out how to write great descriptive scenes, but they don’t know very well how to link them together. Let me give you an example. Let’s say that you open a novel to a scene ten pages in that starts, “Let me explain this to you just once: you stay away from my daughter!” Now, as a reader, it sounds like there is a double threat here. Someone

David Farland Writing Tip: Dream Making

As a storyteller, I make my living as a tour guide of sorts, escorting my audience through vivid dreams. As a guide, I create the setting, with its landscape, history and its wonders. I may suggest entire cultures with imaginary languages and customs. I might develop characters with their own unique habits and ways of thinking and acting. I can twist plots like pretzels so that my audience will alternately laugh,

11 Things You Want When Choosing a Publisher

Most authors don’t think about “choosing” a publisher. Most authors send out manuscripts, sometimes rather blindly, in the hopes that a good publisher will choose them.  But think about this. Before a publisher can respond to your manuscript, you have to initiate the contact. You’ll never get a good publishing deal without first choosing to send the manuscript out in the first place. For most authors, the publisher might just be a name that they see on a list. The author doesn’t necessarily know if the publisher is a good one, a great one, or a terrible publisher—and publishers do run the gamut from fantastic to mediocre and down into terrible and hellish.

Tiffanie Rushton Update

A few weeks ago I reported that our investigation into a plagiarism and cyberbullying case had led us to a schoolteacher, Tiffanie Rushton, who has since been charged with numerous offenses. Allegedly, Rushton plagiarized the clean romance of Rachel Ann Nunes, and then added porn scenes and tried to sell it as her own work. When Nunes discovered what was going on, she was suddenly hit with cyberbullying attacks, as were

How to Write Exciting Turning Points

Whenever you have a story that seems too predictable, look for ways to add turning points.  If a character is trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B, figure out how to force him to go to point C first.  If he thinks that he understands someone else’s motivations or goals—say those of a lover or killer—surprise the reader with a twist that casts the story in a new light.

Free Advice to Improve Writing

The main things to remember when asking yourself "How can I improve my writing skills?" are: 1. Remember, free writing advice comes from the heart. 2. But watch out for ignorant advice. 3) Beware of teachers who hold back vital information. 4) Even the greatest writers can be poor teachers. 5) When seeking wisdom, search widely. Test the advice.

How to Write Your First Five Pages

How to Write Your First Five Pages: 1. From the very first sentence, I want to see that you’re not just a competent writer, but a skillful one. I want to see that you have a way with words, so that I feel as if I’m in the hands of a professional storyteller. That means that I won’t feel confused, and I won’t get tripped up by typos or beginner’s mistakes. Indeed, I want to see that you’re talented right from the first sentence. Half of the editors and agents say that they look for a great voice right out the gate, whether it be the voice of the narrating character or of the author.

How do You Create Your Career as a Writer?

So here are your action items: If you don’t have an author website, build one and begin talking about how you are chasing your dream of being a writer. On that website, capture the email addresses of visitors. Make a list of family members, friends, schoolmates, and business associates who might also be interested in your work. When you speak at libraries or conventions, make sure that you add to your list every single time. A week before your first novel comes out, email your fans and let them know. Then send a second notice on the day that it goes on sale.

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