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David Farland's Writing Tips

The Author Must Say Something!

What story treasures do you have buried deep inside of you? When the author has nothing to say. Very often as a reader, I’ll come across a story that is well written in many regards: the author has written characters that have strong voices, the setting is energetically created, and the action progresses in a surprising, logical, and emotionally satisfying

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Fixating on a Story

Remember when you were young and your mother or father read a favorite story to you over and over? Or do you recall that one book or movie that you wanted to read or watch again and again? Most people have a few “all-time favorites.” For me, when I was a toddler, it was Jack and the Beanstalk. Then in

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Precision

Once a quarter I read through thousands of stories for a writing contest—a job that usually takes several weeks. It would take longer, but of course I don’t always have to read an entire manuscript in order to know that it is not publishable. In looking at stories and determining just why they aren’t publishable, I can usually narrow the

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Opening Strategies

There are many ways to hook a reader who opens your book–a great cover, a catchy title, luscious descriptions on the back cover, an endearing character portrait, a captivating first line to your novel, and so on. Yet all too soon, much of how well the story grabs a reader will depend upon whether your conflict is engaging. Interestingly, I

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Emotional and Intellectual Payoff

Emotional and Intellectual Payoff Some stories gain power by tapping into the emotions that we felt at a particular age, or during a certain time of our lives. For example, some novels use nostalgia as a powerful draw. I can think of a few extremely popular fantasy novels that hearken back to Tolkien’s work. A few years ago, one major

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Characters

Of all the topics on how to write, I suspect more books have been written on how to create solid characters than on anything else. So there are a lot of great resources out there on how to create characters, and I can’t even touch on every topic that I would like in the space of an article this short.

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Recognizing Your Own Skill

When you write a story, you often have to ask yourself, “Is this tale good enough to send to editors or agents? Is it ready to publish? Could it be a bestseller?” Oddly enough, you as the author may be a terrible judge of your own work. This principle was brought up to me years ago by my mentor, Algis

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When Conventional Wisdom Goes Astray

The writing world is changing quickly, and that means some things that used to be taboo are now all right. For example, a couple weeks ago, I was at the Superstars Writing Seminar, and found that there are some common misconceptions among new writers. Here are three things you should do: Raise your e-book prices. Some new authors like to

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Plots

#WritingTip—Plots A plot doesn’t have to be brilliant for a story to work. It just needs to have some basic components: characters—in conflict and in a setting. The characters must struggle to overcome some obstacle (or obtain some goal) on three or more occasions, and the tale must resolve in such a way so that the reader knows what happens.

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Update on Rachel Ann Nunes Case

#DailyKick—Update on Rachel Ann Nunes Case A few months ago I began to track the case of Rachel Ann Nunes, whose clean romance novel was allegedly plagiarized by a woman named Sam Taylor Mullens, who first copied the novel, did a minor rewrite in which she added pornographic elements, and then packaged it as her own. Alert reviewers quickly noticed

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Resolutions

David Farland’s Kick in the Pants—Resolutions I hate the word “resolute.” Whenever I think of it, I think of soldiers circa 1800, marching resolutely into battle, knowing that they’re going to die. Yet every year I make resolutions anyway. Maybe if we had better attitudes about resolutions in the first place, it wouldn’t be so hard to keep them. This

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