nown as the “Wizard of Storytelling,” writing sensation and author of fifty novels, David wrote short stories as a child and dreamt of growing up to become a fantasy writer. He gained experience in a number of career paths but never lost sight of his goals. Finally, after saving money for years, he decided to risk it all and go to Brigham Young University to study.
While there, he became ill and feverish started having some fantastic dreams. In one such dream, two futuristic mercenaries were taking shelter in the skull of some giant beast and talking while waiting out a rainstorm. His dreams became so vivid and lifelike that he had to put them in a story called “On My Way to Paradise.”
He entered it into the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest and won the grand prize for the year, the Gold Award. He was immediately contracted by Bantam Books to turn the short story into a novel of the same name, along with a contract to write two more books. The novel, My Way to Paradise spent several months on the Locus Science Fiction Best-seller list, and won a Phillip K. Dick Memorial Special Award for being one of the best science fiction novels of the year.
He wrote science fiction for ten years under his given name of David Wolverton, during which he wrote several best sellers. After having mastered science fiction, David decided it was time to take another risk and try writing fantasy, hoping to realize his childhood dream. So as not to confuse his readers, he writes fantasy under the name David Farland.
He had to work hard to achieve notoriety in two genres, but eventually his fantasy books started hitting the New York Times Best Seller’s list right out of the gates, beginning with the third book of the Runelords series entitled Wizardborn.
He had not only achieved his childhood dream, but in doing so, became popular in two genres and has amassed many awards for his short fiction in particular, and set a Guinness Record for the world's largest booksigning–a record that he still holds. In 1991, David became a judge for one of the world's largest writing contests, the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest, and for the next several years he read thousands of stories each year, edited an annual anthology, and taught writing classes to new writers.
To date, David has written and edited fifty published books. These include novels for adults, young adults, anthologies, middle-grade readers, and picture books.
Among his numerous other accomplishments, David eventually returned to BYU as a writing professor, for several years. It was getting in the way of his writing, so he ended that and decided to fill his need to share by lecturing, giving workshops and seminars to those who would be writers. He is known for having taught many great emerging writers and had a part in their success, including Stephanie Meyer, Brandon Sanderson and Eric Flint. In many cases it was his influence and words of wisdom that caused a new author to sell their first story. Now he has the privilege of helping other struggling would-be writers to achieve their success. He says, “Nobody makes it alone. We each build on one another.”
As part of his dedication to helping other writers, David writes the David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants, an email bulletin for writers or those who would be writers. Many authors rave about how it has helped them. Out of devotion, he provides the Daily Kick free. You can register to receive it in the green box in the bottom right corner of this page.
DavidFarland.net Journal Entries
Today’s question comes from one writer who says that his critique group often says, “You’re almost there, but you need to take it up a notch.” In other words, you’re good but not great. The question that he then asks is, “Kick what up a notch?”
Sometimes when you get writer's block, you just need more information.
I was listening to Orson Scott Card speak to a group of new writers today, and he said something that I’ve mentioned before. He said, “When you get writer’s block, if you will go back in your story to what you wrote the day before and check your work very carefully...
What is the core question of speculative fiction?
Many authors will try to describe groups of things—trees in groves, crowds of people, packs of dogs. The problem is that we as readers can’t really imagine things very well in groups.
In an earlier kick, I mentioned that a few weeks ago, I was speaking with a woman who had written dozens of books but who said, “I haven’t been lucky enough to get published.” This confused me.
I was watching the Olympics a few weeks ago when figure skater Jeremy Abbott took a hard fall. As he got up and continued his routine, the news announcers seemed shocked and teary-eyed and awed. Their attitude bothered.
For many writers, it seems that their early works are their biggest hits.
It’s a pet theory, but recent studies that I’ve seen seem to bear it out enough so that I’ll just say it: I believe that storytelling in humans is intimately tied to the way that we learn.
When you’re brainstorming a new story, how do you know that it will be good?