It’s Complicated

Accepting Responsibility for Your Titles

As your protagonist struggles to overcome a problem, in the past I’ve talked about how the protagonist goes through at least two try/fail cycles. Early in the story, in an inciting incident, the protagonist learns that he has a major problem on his hands. He then struggles to resolve the problem at least three times, […]

Gaming the Publishing Industry

n publishing, we have two different distribution systems. The traditional publishing industry has its editors, and they have contracts with the bookstores and with the book distribution companies that are designed to keep you from selling your books at bookstores—and these contracts are very effective.

Making Better Magic Systems, Lesson 1

making better magic systems lesson 1

The most popular books and movies of all time all have one thing in common: They transport audiences better than other books and movies in their genre. Usually, as in films like Avatar or books like Lord of the Rings or Dune, the tale transports you into another time and place. But the tale also transports its audience emotionally. In short, whatever emotion […]

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 writing Tip: Is Your Story’s Concept Broken?

Here are a couple of clues:

Is your idea original? As a contest judge, I get to see thousands of stories a year. Many of them are roughly the same story told over and over again. For example, I get stories about “brain transfers” a lot. It might be a Freaky Friday kind of story, where two people switch bodies, or it might be a person getting his memories downloaded into a machine, or it might be a person getting his memories downloaded into a younger version of himself. The question is, do you have a unique take on this idea? Have you considered the idea more deeply than others?

If your idea is not original, if you’ve seen it time and time again, then your story might be weak at its very core, and perhaps you should look for a more-original idea.