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WotF Workshop Zoom Q&A with David Farland

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RETreasure
(@rschibler)
Gold Star Member
 

I think that good story trumps everything else. In the 318R class last week, Dave said that dialogue tags can be a good thing and are coming back in fashion - and that he never preferred only said - and that we should use them when appropriate. While it’s important to listen to Dave (and I’ve learned a magic mountain about writing from him), I truly believe good story will win over perfect formatting and punctuation. 

V34: R,HM,R
V35: HM,R,R,HM
V36: R,HM,HM,SHM
V37: HM,SF,SHM,SHM
V38: (P)F, SHM, F, F
V39: SHM, SHM, P, P
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Posted : April 16, 2021 11:50 am
Dustin Adams
(@axeminister)
Gold Star Member
 

I've traveled a long road with the said tag.

Initially, when writing in my vacuum, I did what I'd read up to that point, and in the YA genre, -ly words dominate. Learned from OSC and others to just say said (Want to melt your brain? Listen to Jim Dale read A Christmas Carol).

Now I'm back to using more than said, but not -ly words. I joke about it now, and you may see my silly -ly jokes pop up here from time to time, but verbally I am the adverb master. I'll throw entire sentences out there adverbingly.

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Posted : April 16, 2021 4:38 pm
TimE
 TimE
(@time)
Silver Member
 

I'd watched Brandon's lectures a year or 2 ago, and watched a 2020 version of one on dialogue recently, In his lecture, he talks about adverbs and using not much more than said. And he refers to a couple of very good stories that work wonderfully well without tags. (And it's funny and you might say takes a vegetarian stance!)

Here's the first. They're Made out of Meat (mit.edu)

 
Posted : April 16, 2021 6:15 pm
Reuben and Wulf Moon reacted
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Platinum Plus Moderator
Topic starter
 
Posted by: @time

I'd watched Brandon's lectures a year or 2 ago, and watched a 2020 version of one on dialogue recently, In his lecture, he talks about adverbs and using not much more than said. And he refers to a couple of very good stories that work wonderfully well without tags. (And it's funny and you might say takes a vegetarian stance!)

Here's the first. They're Made out of Meat (mit.edu)

This is a great example of what I call Ping Pong dialogue, Tim. Thanks for sharing!

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Posted : April 16, 2021 8:11 pm
TimE reacted
pdblake
(@pdblake)
Silver Star Member
 

That's really cool. I just purposely skipped right down the page and you can still tell which voice is which.

It's also pretty funny. I'll read it in full later. Thanks for the link. 

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Posted : April 16, 2021 8:19 pm
TimE and Wulf Moon reacted
TimE
 TimE
(@time)
Silver Member
 

It's great for the intonation all being implied by the words. Of course, we see nothing of the setting. These are just talking heads - assuming heads is where they speak from!

 
Posted : April 17, 2021 6:47 am
Wulf Moon reacted
Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
Gold Member
 

@Cray Dimensional - nice list!

I'm going to try very hard not to overlap anything already said. Apologies if I do- there were so many great points in the Q and A!

I also noted:

 

-Use conflict to hold interest. Make sure some conflicts are external.

-The danger should continually 'escalate, escalate, escalate' as the story goes on.

-Hooks are a good way to raise suspense. Dave also mentioned that adrenaline/interest for the reader wears off every 1-2 minutes.

-They want to see that you're a genius  6-7 times in the story. Once (especially just at the climax) won't cut it. I intend to go through my stories and count the number of magic moments!

-Most editors don't care if you live elsewhere in the world. Most publishers don't want you to go on book tours, they want you to write your next book (This point is of personal significance, as I live in Australia).

-Stories by Australian writers often have slow pacing!  Lol. Thanks, Dave- I'll check that. 

-If your dialogue seems poor, learn your characters better.

-Dave won't read novels. He doesn't have the time, so don't ask.

-Editors and agents are busy, too. Use paid editorial services to get ideas from people in the business. (I've done this recently and was very pleased with the professional edge I feel it added to my story. Shout out to the amazing Wulf Moon!)

-The story must have elements of realism or readers will dismiss it.  

-Yes, 5000 - 7000 words is optimal for short stories here. (*note- this point warranted being mentioned again. This number is optimal, only)

-It's very hard for most magazines to publish novellas, so you're amazing 11000w WotF entry may not be able to be submitted to mags.

-The use of strong verbs and strong nouns will help your 'voice'.

-Join a writer's group. (*also worth restating)

-With world building, include enough to show you've really thought about the world. It should be involved with the plot, though. Don't have massive paragraphs explaining amazing background that actually does nothing to push the plot.

Thanks again, Dave and WotF.

"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 : April 19, 2021 2:55 am
Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
Gold Member
 

I also love how many messages (took up more than a page here) were taken up with people purely discussing the use of semicolons.

laughing laughing  

"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 : April 19, 2021 3:03 am
Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
Gold Member
 

Just checking - does anyone know if this Q and A with Dave was recorded? If so, is it possible to see the recording again?

"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 : May 13, 2021 10:15 am
AlexH
(@alexh)
Silver Member
 

@scott_m_sands I have a feeling it was recorded and might be there as part of the WotF course? I could be completely wrong on that last point.

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

 
Posted : May 14, 2021 7:23 pm
John Goodwin
(@johngoodwin)
Bronze Star Member Moderator
 
Posted by: @scott_m_sands

Just checking - does anyone know if this Q and A with Dave was recorded? If so, is it possible to see the recording again?

Yes, it was. I have both nights on Youtube as private links. Email me at jgoodwin@galaxypress.com and I will send you the link.

 
Posted : June 26, 2021 9:37 pm
Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
Gold Member
 

So, is anyone else involved with the Dave Farland Q and A zoom tomorrow? Get excited people! It'll be nice to hear him answer a few more questions. fistinair  

"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 9, 2021 2:54 pm
Wulf Moon reacted
Joe Benet
(@joe-benet)
Bronze Star Member
 
Posted by: @david-k

@reuben As I recall when the question was asked, he said they should never be used. Anywhere. And if they are there; they need to be replaced with a fullstop! (or in my case here a comma Smile )

Well, to be fair--and blunt--that is an incorrect use of a semicolon, Smile so should not be an example of "don't use in any situation." It's an example of "don't use incorrectly!"

HMx6
SHMx1 (Q2'22)

 
Posted : January 1, 2022 7:12 pm
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