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.

David Farland’s Writing Tips: Surprise and Revelations

An even richer source for surprise than setting is your cast. You can of course use the same techniques for creating surprises in characters as you do for settings. You can for example make a character a bit strange or grotesque. In The Godfather, we are fascinated by Don Corleone because of his strange nature—he’s powerful, seemingly warm-hearted one moment and unbelievably vicious the next.

When Stories Break  

You started a story a while back that felt important and vital to you then, but you’ve matured, and it just doesn’t move you.

When that happens, write something else. Your head and your heart need to be in agreement. Many prolific writers suggest that when you feel thrilled by a story, you should apply your butt to a chair and hammer it out in the heat of passion.

Powerful Openings

The world is full of possibilities, but unless you push yourself, struggle to drive your story to its limits, you will never make real discoveries. You won’t glean the insights that your story needs to take it from the mundane to the sublime.

Audience Analysis Part 1

As a new writer, you might not have given a great deal of thought to audience analysis. I’ve known good writers who don’t seem to understand it at all. For example, one #1 New York Times Best-selling fantasy author right now insists that he doesn’t write fantasy. He has magic in his stories, and dragons–but […]

Accepting Responsibility for Your Novel: Editing

When you write a novel, the chances are good that the publisher will hire editors to massage your text. There are problems with that, of course. Not all editors are as good as you’d like. Editors get tired. Editors don’t get paid enough. Editors have lapses of judgment. Your editor might not like your work. […]

Most Common Editing Problems

One time I taught a writing workshop in Salt Lake City and spent some time reading stories. In the past, I haven’t spent much time talking about stylistic problems, but I thought it would be interesting to bring up the six problems that I see most often: 1) Weak verbs. Very often, people will use […]

Performing Your Tale

Many writers will recommend that as you edit your tale, you do a final read-through so that you can see how the story sounds. After all, if you’re going to be doing readings in libraries or at signings, you want to make sure that your tale flows well, that it’s free of typos, and that […]