All Writing Tips

David Farland’s Writing Tips: “Greenlighting” a Novel

In Hollywood, before a producer or a studio even begins filming a movie, they go through a process called “greenlighting” to figure out whether it is worth the effort.

When you greenlight a film, you do a great deal of research to figure out things like: How large is the audience for this film? What techniques work best for advertising the

Boosting Your Prose – Part 1: Setting

I am currently in Denver but thought I would share checklists over the next few weeks that I use to go over each and every one of my stories to make sure that all of my stories are "up to snuff," so to speak. I think that setting up your setting is something you need to do early on. Yes,

Heroes and Anti-Heroes

When you’re writing a novel, you may create a protagonist who is “heroic,” or one who is an “anti-hero.” But do you know the difference between the two?
A heroic character is typically likeable. That means that he is often in pain—perhaps both physically and emotionally scarred. He also cares deeply about others, enough that he tries to become a

David Farland’s Writing Tips—Writing the “Big” Book

When you look at novels carefully, you will notice that the bestselling books of all time are usually big “doorstoppers.” In each genre, we see this pattern. 

When the novel Dune was published, it was rejected by every publisher in the business until a company that sold engine books illustrating engine parts (so that you could easily order parts

David Farland’s Writing Tips: Math for Writers

In high school, I was fairly good in math—good enough to win a National Math Award and complete several years of college math in one year.

As a writer, you would think that we don’t need to use math very much, but we do it every day.

For example, yesterday I wrote 2200 words on a story. I then revised another

David Farland’s Writing Tips—3 Proving Questions for Big Ideas.

Over the years, I’ve seen a number of authors struggle with ideas for novels. Very often, those ideas mature into books, and sometimes they even become huge bestsellers. But how do you know if you’ve got an idea for a big book?

Last week, a young man presented an idea that would work just fine. He had a historical character that

David Farland’s Writing Tips: Who is this Story about, really?

When you create a story, perhaps the most monumental decision that you will make is the one regarding your protagonist. How many are there? What ages? Genders? Ethnicities? and so on.

The reason that this is important is that by choosing protagonists, you may be limiting your audience. A few years ago, a survey found that about 32% of men don’t

David Farland’s Writing Tips: Resonance in Settings

When you write a story, any story, you write within the context of the whole of literature, of everything that has gone before.  The choice of words that you use will provide little clues to the story that your readers will often absorb almost instantly as they read.  The reader might not consciously recognize an allusion to another major work,

David Farland’s Writing Tips: Promises to Keep

As a teen, I once read a fantasy novel that had a picture on the cover that showed a wizard fighting with some lizard men. I read the novel, and liked it pretty well, except for one thing: the mage on the cover was too old, and there weren’t any lizard men. I kept thinking, “It must come at

David Farland’s Writing Tips: Beware of False Suspense

I have a saying, “There are ten thousand right ways to write any story, but there are a million wrong ways to do it.” I use this to point out that lots of things work, but new writers often don’t recognize that some things never work. So let’s talk about one.

“Suspense.” Suspense is a pleasurable state of excitement or anticipation

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