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David Farland's Writing Tips

Making Your Writing Future Bright

Back in the 1960s, basketball coaches learned that if a player imagined himself practicing free-throws over and over—it greatly raised the percentage of shots that the player made in real games.  The brain actually “practices” the moves that the body must make in a precise order.  This technique for perfecting performance has been shown to work for golfers, football players,

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Writing for the Holidays

The midwinter is actually my favorite time of the year to write. There aren’t many conventions or writing workshops in January and February, since organizers know that their customers are busy with family affairs, so I like to focus on work. But there are some things that you should know as a writer. First, this is a great time of

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Writer Beware: the High Cost of Author Visits

As a new author, you will undoubtedly be asked to make author visits to various functions. You may be asked to speak at libraries, visit schools, go to conventions, teach workshops, and so on. It’s very easy to become so popular that you bankrupt yourself, and I see new authors who do it all of the time. Let’s face it,

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Investing in Your Writing

As a young writer, I used to set a rather simple writing goal: spend at least $500 per year to grow my skills as a writer.  In the early days, at the age of 17, I bought my first used typewriter, purchased some writing books from the university, and then got a subscription to some writing magazines.  Most of those

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Books to Movies

There are four major platforms for taking a fictional story big. You can launch it as a book (either traditional or comic), or film (either movies or television), or as a videogame. But in the last couple of years, we’ve also seen toy franchises breaking out as a platforms for movies with things like Transformers, Battleship, and The Lego Movie.

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Happy Holidays! Workshop Sale

From now until Monday, November 30th, you can get 25% off any or all live and online workshops at MyStoryDoctor.com when you use code “Holidays”. Treat yourself to a workshop or get it as a holiday gift for a writer you care about. Check out the online workshops here. Check out the live workshops here.

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Becoming a Writing Junkie

Writing is fun, so fun, that some people think that it’s addictive. Like exercise or alcohol, you can come to crave it. Years ago, a writer named Charlie Brown wrote dozens of novels. One day he realized that he wasn’t making a lot of money at it, and yet he loved writing, so he started the magazine LOCUS, which is

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Taking it Slow

A couple of years ago, I read that over a quarter of a million people participate in NaNoWriMo each year, yet it seems to me that the program has a questionable record. How many good novels come out of it? The answer I think is, “Far fewer than there should be.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m a burst writer. I

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Standing Out

A writer who has just begun brainstorming a novel wrote to me today.  He had an idea for a book, but while doing some research discovered that it had already been written.  What should he do?  Write it anyway, or look for a new idea?  This is a complex question.  I have another friend who recently wrote a novel in

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Ownership and Control

Very often I have new writers come to me who have been approached by agents, editors, publishers, or producers who want to take control of their work. Sometimes, that’s a bad idea. Think of it this way. Suppose that you’ve spent a long hard year tending and watering your garden. At the end of the year, you’re faced with a

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The 2015 NaNoWriMo Writing Tools Bundle

by Kevin J. Anderson National Novel Writing Month is coming up! November, when the air turns colder, winter looms, time to stay inside and write a novel. After all, you’ve got the whole month. Last year, over 300,000 official participants joined in the fun (and work). I’m a prolific writer myself and for me it’s pretty much National Novel Writing

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How to Get in Your Reader’s Way

When the movie Avatar came out, I went to see it on opening day at a theater that was nearly empty.  I predicted in my kick for that day that the movie would be a blockbuster and possibly become the bestselling science fiction movie of all time. Why?  Because the acting was superb?  Because the characters were the most memorable,

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Hit the Gas

When your work begins to pay off, don’t spend your time in celebration or take a vacation. It’s time to “hit the gas.” In the last few weeks, I’ve been hearing a lot of good news from writing friends. They’re selling books and short stories, winning awards, and so on. But often in the past, I’ve known people who celebrate

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Achieving Maximum Velocity

Several times a week I will hear from writers who say, “I’m putting my book online today. I just want to put it up and see what happens.” I’ll let you in on a secret: Nothing will “just” happen. This year an estimated one million people will put books up online, and if you don’t distinguish yourself from the crowd

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Touching Your Audience Deeply through Viewpoint

My friend James Dashner has his movie The Scorch Trials out this week, and the audiences are loving it overall, but I suspect that if you listen in to the viewers as they come out of the theatre, you will hear the comment over and over, “The book was better.” I was just talking a few minutes ago to a

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