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WotF Workshop Zoom Q&A with David Farland #2

 
Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
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Posts: 201

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, P

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Topic starter Posted : July 9, 2021 8:28 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
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Posts: 2333
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!

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Muzik Man" wins Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two! Includes stories by Super Secrets' alumni KD Julicher and Brittany Rainsdon!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? It's about to be released in the pro-pay anthology THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
I've been invited back to Fyrecon Online to teach my Zoom master workshops Nov. 18th—21st. Four to chose from! Which one will help you level up? Explore HERE ... but you better hurry. They always sell out and are already half full!

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Posted : July 9, 2021 11:31 pm
Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
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Posts: 201

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, P

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Topic starter Posted : July 10, 2021 1:10 am
Joel C. Scoberg, fox, Wulf Moon and 3 people liked
David Hankins
(@lost_bard)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 162

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!

V38 Q2: HM
V38 Q3: Submitted
V38 Q4: Submitted

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Posted : July 10, 2021 6:17 am
Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
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Posts: 201

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, P

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Topic starter Posted : July 10, 2021 6:52 am
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1121
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
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales

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Posted : July 10, 2021 10:28 am
storysinger
(@storysinger)
Gold Member
Posts: 914

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

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Posted : July 10, 2021 4:14 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Member Moderator
Posts: 2333

@scott_m_sands 

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

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Muzik Man" wins Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two! Includes stories by Super Secrets' alumni KD Julicher and Brittany Rainsdon!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? It's about to be released in the pro-pay anthology THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
I've been invited back to Fyrecon Online to teach my Zoom master workshops Nov. 18th—21st. Four to chose from! Which one will help you level up? Explore HERE ... but you better hurry. They always sell out and are already half full!

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Posted : July 11, 2021 12:46 pm
Joel C. Scoberg
(@joel-c-scoberg)
Bronze Member
Posts: 51
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?

 

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Posted : July 14, 2021 6:08 am
Joel C. Scoberg
(@joel-c-scoberg)
Bronze Member
Posts: 51

@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  

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Posted : July 14, 2021 6:10 am
Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
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Posts: 201
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, P

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Topic starter Posted : July 14, 2021 7:34 am
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
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Posts: 1121
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
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales

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Posted : July 14, 2021 10:09 pm
storysinger
(@storysinger)
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Posts: 914

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

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Posted : July 15, 2021 10:48 am
Wulf Moon liked
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
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Posts: 1121
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
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales

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Posted : July 16, 2021 6:11 am
dommichaels
(@dommichaels)
Advanced Member
Posts: 28

@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, V37 Q4 - HM, V38 Q1 - HM, V38 Q2 - HM

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Posted : July 16, 2021 8:41 am
AlexH
(@alexh)
Silver Member
Posts: 255
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

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Posted : July 24, 2021 4:56 am
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