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David Farland's Writing Tips

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?”
KamiMMcArthur - 4/18/2014
Sometimes when you get writer's block, you just need more information.
KamiMMcArthur - 4/15/2014
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...
KamiMMcArthur - 4/14/2014
What is the core question of speculative fiction?
KamiMMcArthur - 4/11/2014
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.
KamiMMcArthur - 4/7/2014
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.
KamiMMcArthur - 4/2/2014
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.
KamiMMcArthur - 3/31/2014
For many writers, it seems that their early works are their biggest hits.
KamiMMcArthur - 3/24/2014
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.
KamiMMcArthur - 3/21/2014
When you’re brainstorming a new story, how do you know that it will be good?
KamiMMcArthur - 3/17/2014
As readers, we eagerly anticipate engaging in imaginary conflicts that we would actively avoid in real life.
KamiMMcArthur - 3/14/2014
When Mark Twain lay dying some 100 years ago, he got to the point where he was too weak to speak. Yet he pointed to a typewriter and a manuscript at his nearby writing table, and to his assistant mouthed the word, “Burn!”
KamiMMcArthur - 3/12/2014
A reader wrote last week and asked, “Can you talk about the promises that authors make in a manuscript? I’m not sure that I understand what people mean.” So I hope that this article helps:
KamiMMcArthur - 3/10/2014
I’m participating in a storybundle this week, and to my surprise, I got a number of emails from people asking what a bundle is, why you would do it, and so on.
KamiMMcArthur - 3/7/2014
I was talking to a movie producer yesterday who has about eighty films to his credit, and he was telling me some war stories about how producers and directors had destroyed various actors’ careers.
KamiMMcArthur - 3/3/2014
As I write this, the Lego Movie has been #1 at the box office for the past three weeks. Box office sales are at $190 million on a $60 million investment.
KamiMMcArthur - 2/28/2014
More than twenty years ago as I was finishing up some of my writing classes, I asked an aging poet named Leslie Norris, “How have the audiences changed in the course of your writing career?” Leslie grew thoughtful and said, “What astonishes me most is just how lonely people have become.
KamiMMcArthur - 2/26/2014
About five years ago I looked at the future of publishing and felt . . . deeply worried.
KamiMMcArthur - 2/24/2014
Sometimes as we are writing, we become so focused on the labor of writing—of stating facts clearly, at choosing precise words, at trying to write dazzling prose and descriptions, that we become blinded by the minutiae of what we are writing.
KamiMMcArthur - 2/20/2014
Some authors advocate writing only a single draft of a work, and then moving on.
KamiMMcArthur - 2/18/2014
Mysterious Galaxy Books