For weeks I've been judging a large contest. I’ve had to “reject” thousands of stories. I hate the word “reject,” because it doesn’t really express what I want to say.
Very often I will read the opening to a story and it is obviously the first work of a very young writer. It may have a multitude of problems—from simple typos, to a lack of understanding as to how to set a scene, to clunky dialog. I know that I can’t accept the story for publication, but at the same time, I wish that I could shout some encouragement to the budding writer, much the way that my mentor Algis Budrys did to a young Stephen King.
I think that people need encouragement. It may be the only thing that will spur a young writer to greater effort.
So what does the word “rejection” mean to you as a writer? I think it’s simply, “Try harder.”
A lot of fine works get rejected. The best-selling works in nearly every genre experienced rejection. Lord of the Rings was rejected by several American publishers. Dune was rejected by all of them. Gone with the Wind made its rounds through every major publisher. Harry Potter was rejected by all of the biggest houses, and Twilight was rejected by a dozen agents before it got picked up—yet all of these novels became the best-sellers in their fields.
So does that mean that these were all bad novels? Of course not. It means that the author didn’t find an editor with a matching taste, a matching vision, right at the first.
Very often when I read a manuscript that is close to being publishable, I think, It’s a shame that the author didn’t try a little harder to . . . That’s what “rejected” means to me.
I was once talking to international best-selling author Laurell K. Hamilton and asked her to confirm a rumor that I’d heard. With her first novel, she received over 200 rejections before she made a sale. She said, “When people tell me that they’ve been rejected five or ten or twenty times, I just tell them that I don’t want to hear about it.”
Laurell has the perfect attitude toward rejection. Try harder.
Writing Enchanting Prose Workshop
Provo Courtyard Marriott
March 19-23, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
10 Attendees Total
In this workshop we will work heavily on imbuing your prose with the richness and details that bring a story to life. The goal is to teach you how to fully transport readers as you take them on a journey that captivates their hearts and minds. David Farland will teach you how to totally transport you readers so that they become so immersed in your story, they forget where they are—they forget they are reading at all.
This workshop is similar to the Writing Mastery workshop, but will be more exercise-oriented, with in-class practices. Writing Enchanting Prose is more in-depth than any of David's past prose workshops.
In this workshop, Dave would like to create an intimate environment where individual students will receive ample time for one-on-one interaction and critiques. Dave will be spending personal time with each student. Because of that, we will be strictly limiting the number of students allowed to attend to 10.
The Dallas workshop is now full, but you can also learn some of the same principles from my workshops below.
Fantasy Writing Workshop
YHA Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
August 22-August 28, 2018
Number of Students: Strictly Limited to 12
Number of Days: 7
$1099 (Lodging, food, and travel are all the student's responsibility)
Join us for our most magical workshop ever! In this workshop, David Farland will be focusing on writing fantasy—building powerful magic systems, cultures, and worlds, creating fantasy characters, plotting fantasy, and writing powerful prose.
Students will need to bring a laptop, an unfettered imagination, and a strong work ethic. Being half-mad would also be a help.
This workshop will last three days longer than most of Dave’s workshops so that you will be able to focus on writing each day but still have some afternoons free to do some sightseeing. We will spend time visiting nearby sites like Stonehenge, The Eagle and Child Pub (where Tolkien and Lewis met with the Inklings writing group), Warwick Castle, Shakespeare’s home, and we will be within easy striking distance of London.
Advanced Intensive Writing Workshop
St. George, Utah
October 22-26, 2018
10 Attendees Maximum
$799 (Room, travel, and meals are separate)
Prepare for National Novel Writing Month right in this workshop exclusively for those who would rather be dead than unread!
Dave is ratcheting up his popular Writing Mastery camp and this will be an advanced workshop where we perform daily writing exercises, give daily critiques, and work to improve our writing craft.
During the workshop, instruction and exercises will cover such topics as:
- Adding intrigue to your tale
- Creating tension
- Using the eight kinds of hooks
- Using appeals to various senses to hypnotize your reader
- Weak appeals versus strong appeals versus "failed" appeals
- The music of writing--assonance, consonance, metaphors, etc.
- Developing and using both your voice and your character's voices
- Advanced descriptive techniques
- And more!
We will have at least ten assignments over the course of the class, and Dave will review each assignment and offer critiques. We will also invite other writers to offer their own insights.
During lunch and dinners, authors will be able to set up appointments to dine with David in order to talk about specific concerns that they have with their writing, or to plan their careers.
Note to David Farland's Advanced Intensive Writing Workshop Participants: You must bring a laptop computer with you. If you don’t own one, then borrow, rent, or buy one.
While the goal for this workshop is to allow the writer to have fun, to get inspired, to work in an intellectually rich and emotionally fulfilling environment, this will be David’s most intensive class ever!
Learn more or register here.