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WotF Workshop Zoom Q&A with David Farland #2

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Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
Silver Member
Topic starter
 

This topic is to discuss all questions and insight gleaned from the two Zoom sessions with David Farland on 9th and 10th of July. This is his second Weekend of Zoom workshops run by WotF. Let's share anything we learned for those who couldn't attend!

"Many people will tell you that you can't write. Let no one say that you don't." -Ken Rand
V36-37: R x6
V38: R, HM, R, HM
V39: HM, HM

 
Posted : July 10, 2021 3:28 am
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus
 
Posted by: @scott_m_sands

This topic is to discuss all questions and insight gleaned from the two Zoom sessions with David Farland on 9th and 10th of July. This is his second Weekend of Zoom workshops run by WotF. Let's share anything we learned for those who couldn't attend!

(If Wulf prefers to start this topic himself, make sure to post your thoughts there!)

Go for it!

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You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
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Posted : July 10, 2021 6:31 am
Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
Silver Member
Topic starter
 

Thanks, Beastmaster!

I'll kick us off with some of the notes I took from Dave's session on Friday 9th. It was great!

 

-In regards to good marketing, have a website (Dave later recommended using Wordpress) and begin working on a list of people who are interested in your work (having their emails helps). One successful writer described elements of her story each Tuesday on her website, leading up to the publication date of her story. She sold many copies!

-Also in regards to marketing, find Facebook groups in the genre that you love and be active in them

-World building is done by appealing to the SENSES. Dave wants to feel transported into the world (for fantasy=new/interesting magic, for Sci-Fi=new/interesting tech.)

-describe emotions viscerally, be elaborate and use metaphors. Try not to say "They were nervous." Instead, "Their hands were shaking."

-to publish novels, give them to BETA readers first. To publish fantasy and Sci-Fi, you might not necessarily need an agent--you can write directly to the editors

(Dave also mentioned there's no one set pathway to publication. Everyone is different)

-Dave doesn't really like seeing the same stories resubmitted within a short amount of time, including HM and SHM stories

-When trying to add more originality in your stories, try putting your characters in more/deeper pain (which isn't sadistic at all...) or imagining something interesting they can do

-the title must hook the reader. try to include two (or more) different images in the title "Lizard Soup for Vikings". Then straight after he reads the title, Dave reads the first three lines and expects to be hooked again. (*So check your openings!) 

-To appeal to multiple audiences, include multiple protagonists of different ages (Harry Potter was his example. I'm told that book did alright.)

-Saying 'Johnny listened to the Taylor Swift cd that was popular 500 years ago' is NOT a good way to establish a timeline in your story. Too cliche.

-Try to include KAV - Kinetic, Audio, Visual references in each paragraph. So what does the character feel, hear, see.

-When judging the stories, usually Dave gets to page 5 and starts asking "Is this a winner?" If he likes the first 5 pages, he'll skip to the end and read that. If he likes the ending, he'll read the whole thing

-With story length, don't have stories less than 4 pages (not big enough to show your writing skills). Judges can also get discouraged by the big 50 page stories (take too long to read). He recommends 25-30 pages.

-he's also having a sale soon on his website: mystorydoctor.com  !!

 

That's it from me. I loved Dave's responses. Always do.

Hope the post helps someone.  smiley  

 

"Many people will tell you that you can't write. Let no one say that you don't." -Ken Rand
V36-37: R x6
V38: R, HM, R, HM
V39: HM, HM

 
Posted : July 10, 2021 8:10 am
Joel C. Scoberg, fox, Wulf Moon and 3 people reacted
David Hankins
(@lost_bard)
Silver Member
 

Thanks @scott_m_sands for putting this thread together! I wasn’t able to make the zoom sessions, so I appreciate the great summary. As always from Dave, there are some great nuggets in here. 

I love the tip of adding visceral descriptors to each paragraph. I’m trying that on my current story and can feel it getting more vibrant.

Good tip on the titles! I have noticed when I’m browsing my Kindle that the only books I click on to read more about are the ones with interesting titles, but I’d never made the connection of why those titles spoke to me.

Hopefully I can make the next Q&A!

Winner, Volume 39, 2nd Quarter, 3rd Place
V38: HM, HM, SHM
V39: HM, 3rd Place

Published Stories:
"A Properly Spiced Gingerbread" in DreamForge Anvil Volume 7
"The Last Quest of Corbin the Coward" in Factor Four Magazine
"Reassessed Value" in Third Flatiron's After the Gold Rush Anthology

 
Posted : July 10, 2021 1:17 pm
Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
Silver Member
Topic starter
 

Yeah, I've struggled to 'hook' with my titles, even though I know I need to. Sometimes what I see as a cool sounding title is less so for others. So I liked Dave's idea on how to make your title a hook.

Definitely get to a Q and A when you can. They're worth it. Great insight, and you get to see amazing authors read YOUR specific questions and give feedback. Well worth it. 

"Many people will tell you that you can't write. Let no one say that you don't." -Ken Rand
V36-37: R x6
V38: R, HM, R, HM
V39: HM, HM

 
Posted : July 10, 2021 1:52 pm
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
 
Posted by: @scott_m_sands

 -Dave doesn't really like seeing the same stories resubmitted within a short amount of time, including HM and SHM stories

The big thing that caught my attention with regards to resubs is that he suggested a cap of three tries. (It's also probably good to wait two or three quarters in between resubs if you're going to do them, for the reasons mentioned above. Dave is looking for things that seem new and interesting, which means that seeing the same story over and over can lessen his interest in it over time depending on the story in question.)

If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales
Twitter
4th and Starlight: e-book | paperback

 
Posted : July 10, 2021 5:28 pm
Joel C. Scoberg, Wulf Moon, Scott_M_Sands and 2 people reacted
storysinger
(@storysinger)
Gold Star Member
 

Thanks for Dave's stuff Scott.

Even if you've read an article, or watched a video, it never hurts to do it all over again.

My take is, if I absorb enough info my writing will improve. sippincoffee  

Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality-D.R.Sweeney
HM-V32/Q3
HM-V36/Q4
HM-V38/Q1
HM-V38/Q4
HM-V39/Q2
Published Poetry
2012 Stars in Our Hearts Notions
Silver Ships

 
Posted : July 10, 2021 11:14 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus
 

@scott_m_sands 

Great review of the meeting, Scott. Thanks for sharing it with our forum!😊

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" won Best SFF Story of 2019! Read it in WotF, Volume 35. Order HERE!
"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!

 
Posted : July 11, 2021 7:46 pm
Joel C. Scoberg
(@joel-c-scoberg)
Bronze Member
 
Posted by: @disgruntledpeony
Posted by: @scott_m_sands

 -Dave doesn't really like seeing the same stories resubmitted within a short amount of time, including HM and SHM stories

The big thing that caught my attention with regards to resubs is that he suggested a cap of three tries. (It's also probably good to wait two or three quarters in between resubs if you're going to do them, for the reasons mentioned above. Dave is looking for things that seem new and interesting, which means that seeing the same story over and over can lessen his interest in it over time depending on the story in question.)

This is really helpful to know. I received a SHM in Q4 vol 37 and am revising it for hopeful submission either Q4 vol 38 or Q1 vol 39. It will be different (potentially substantially), rather than a straight resubmit. Does that make a difference?

 

 
Posted : July 14, 2021 1:08 pm
Joel C. Scoberg
(@joel-c-scoberg)
Bronze Member
 

@scott_m_sands

Thank you for sharing this summary. I attended the one before but could not make the last two. The one I attended was incredibly helpful and gave a great insight into the mind of a judge and what Dave (and others) are looking for. Now, just to turn what I've learned into results...easy, right laughing  

 
Posted : July 14, 2021 1:10 pm
Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
Silver Member
Topic starter
 
Posted by: @joel-c-scoberg
Posted by: @disgruntledpeony
Posted by: @scott_m_sands

 -Dave doesn't really like seeing the same stories resubmitted within a short amount of time, including HM and SHM stories

The big thing that caught my attention with regards to resubs is that he suggested a cap of three tries. (It's also probably good to wait two or three quarters in between resubs if you're going to do them, for the reasons mentioned above. Dave is looking for things that seem new and interesting, which means that seeing the same story over and over can lessen his interest in it over time depending on the story in question.)

This is really helpful to know. I received a SHM in Q4 vol 37 and am revising it for hopeful submission either Q4 vol 38 or Q1 vol 39. It will be different (potentially substantially), rather than a straight resubmit. Does that make a difference?

 

From what I gather, you'll definitely want to change it in some way before you resubmit (I believe Dave mentioned this - otherwise it would have already won).

If you're asking whether or not you could enter a story in say, Q2, revise it and then submit it in Q3 or Q4, I wouldn't. The generally 'vibe of it all' that I got from Dave was that he'd be disappointed to read the story again and recognize it with most of the elements the same. But if you don't want just my word for that one, they sometimes record the meetings. You might be able to watch it yourself.  

"Many people will tell you that you can't write. Let no one say that you don't." -Ken Rand
V36-37: R x6
V38: R, HM, R, HM
V39: HM, HM

 
Posted : July 14, 2021 2:34 pm
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
 
Posted by: @joel-c-scoberg
Posted by: @disgruntledpeony
Posted by: @scott_m_sands

 -Dave doesn't really like seeing the same stories resubmitted within a short amount of time, including HM and SHM stories

The big thing that caught my attention with regards to resubs is that he suggested a cap of three tries. (It's also probably good to wait two or three quarters in between resubs if you're going to do them, for the reasons mentioned above. Dave is looking for things that seem new and interesting, which means that seeing the same story over and over can lessen his interest in it over time depending on the story in question.)

This is really helpful to know. I received a SHM in Q4 vol 37 and am revising it for hopeful submission either Q4 vol 38 or Q1 vol 39. It will be different (potentially substantially), rather than a straight resubmit. Does that make a difference?

 

Waiting a year or more and changing things up like you're planning to do is probably a good idea. I still wouldn't recommend submitting the same story more than three times, even with substantial edits, but there are exceptions to every rule.

If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales
Twitter
4th and Starlight: e-book | paperback

 
Posted : July 15, 2021 5:09 am
storysinger
(@storysinger)
Gold Star Member
 

My last sub received an HM from Dave, before Kary became a first reader. I fixed the areas I thought were the problem and was rewarded with a rejection. With that result I'm sure I'll write fresh stories from now on.

Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality-D.R.Sweeney
HM-V32/Q3
HM-V36/Q4
HM-V38/Q1
HM-V38/Q4
HM-V39/Q2
Published Poetry
2012 Stars in Our Hearts Notions
Silver Ships

 
Posted : July 15, 2021 5:48 pm
Wulf Moon reacted
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
 
Posted by: @storysinger

My last sub received an HM from Dave, before Kary became a first reader. I fixed the areas I thought were the problem and was rewarded with a rejection. With that result I'm sure I'll write fresh stories from now on.

The contest has gotten more competitive over the last year or two, so please don't stress over the R.

I can only attest to things on a personal level, but all of my R's had problems with the opening (and some of those, when fixed, went on to sell elsewhere). It might be good to look over the first two to four pages and make sure you've got your basic story pieces in place (a character in a setting with a problem) without falling into any of the story traps Dave doesn't like (navel gazing, a character traveling to a meeting, accidentally editing one's prose into a total mess because one is perpetually sleep-deprived--and yes, before you ask, I have in fact done all of these things with my openings by mistake in various stories before).

Also, keep in mind that everything is subjective and what worked for one reader might not work for another. What doesn't work for this market might work perfectly well for another. grinning  

If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales
Twitter
4th and Starlight: e-book | paperback

 
Posted : July 16, 2021 1:11 pm
dommichaels
(@dommichaels)
Bronze Member
 

@disgruntledpeony 

Great points. I've sometimes forgotten that WotF is a specific market, not a wide-open literary contest. I submitted one piece that I knew was the best work I've ever done, then was disappointed with the result. Until I realized that it just didn't fit the WotF market at all. Given that, it was lucky to get an HM.

V37 Q3-HM, Q4-HM
V38 Q1-HM, Q2-HM, Q3-HM, Q4-HM
V39 Q1-SHM

 
Posted : July 16, 2021 3:41 pm
AlexH
(@alexh)
Silver Member
 
Posted by: @disgruntledpeony
Posted by: @scott_m_sands

 -Dave doesn't really like seeing the same stories resubmitted within a short amount of time, including HM and SHM stories

The big thing that caught my attention with regards to resubs is that he suggested a cap of three tries. (It's also probably good to wait two or three quarters in between resubs if you're going to do them, for the reasons mentioned above. Dave is looking for things that seem new and interesting, which means that seeing the same story over and over can lessen his interest in it over time depending on the story in question.)

Given Dave reads so many stories, I wonder how he remembers those he's read before. 😀 

35: - R R R | 36: R HM R R | 37: HM HM HM SHM | 38: HM HM HM

 
Posted : July 24, 2021 11:56 am
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