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David Farland - In Memoriam

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Posts: 137
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By now many of you have heard the news that David Farland/ Dave Wolverton, our beloved coordinating judge, has passed. I don't think I exaggerate if I say he touched the lives of thousands of writers, as a mentor, teacher, friend, and editor. I've heard so many, many stories about him, and they all say the same thing. Dave was one of the nicest, kindest, smartest people you will ever meet in this business.


It's all right if your reaction has some element of "what about the contest? What about my results?" The ongoing Writers of the Future Contest is part of his legacy. He was one of the earliest winners and was coordinating judge for so many years. But the Contest will go on. He wouldn't have it any other way. The next few quarter results are likely to be quite delayed, but don't let that stop you from entering. They'll be read eventually and winners will be picked.


I could go on about Dave all day. Or how we should honor him -- by writing, by helping each other, by paying it forward. 


I wouldn't be the writer I am without Dave. I'm going to miss him so very much.

WOTF: HM x 16, SHMx2, SF x 1, F V31 Q3, V32 Q2, V32 Q4, V34 Q3, V36 Q1
Baen Fantasy Award Winner 2014
V32 Published Finalist
3rd place V37 Q1!

Posted : January 14, 2022 1:17 pm
C.A.Tedeschi, Kary English, HermioneLee and 19 people reacted
Posts: 831
Platinum Member

I hadn't heard about this until now.

I learned a lot from things he wrote, and lessons he provided. I had hoped to have the chance to meet him eventually.

And even without that, it feels a strange absence. I think through the contest and his lessons, he feels like he was more a part of my life than most writers, even my favorite ones, ever were.

DQ:0 / R:0 / RWC:0 / HM:14 / SHM:7 / SF:1 / F:1
Submitted: V41.Q1
Last four: HM • HM • HM • SHM
Published prior WotF entries: PodCastle, HFQ, Abyss & Apex

Posted : January 14, 2022 1:32 pm
C.A.Tedeschi, Ease, Disgruntled Peony and 7 people reacted
Doc Honour
Posts: 114
Silver Member

Most sorry to hear of the loss. Dave has done so much for so many, and his will be difficult shoes to fill.

Write so long as words keep flowing...
FWA RPLA: 2021:Fx2; 2022:1st place Gold
V38 Q3:HM; Q4:HM
V39 Q1:HM; Q2:RWC; Q3:HM; Q4:DQ (oops)
V40 Q1:HM; Q2:RWC; Q3:SF(!); Q4:Sub

Posted : January 14, 2022 2:04 pm
Disgruntled Peony, JVAshley, TimE and 4 people reacted
Posts: 21
Advanced Member

Totally heart broken over this. Totally learned tons from his writings and instructions. Really sad he's gone.

Posted : January 14, 2022 2:42 pm
N.V. Haskell, Disgruntled Peony, JVAshley and 6 people reacted
Posts: 84
Bronze Star Member

I never met him, but this saddens me deeply. Done too soon, and a great loss. My heart goes out to his family.

(7) HM, (2) SHM

Posted : January 14, 2022 5:32 pm
Disgruntled Peony, JVAshley, TimE and 3 people reacted
Cray Dimensional
Posts: 609
Gold Star Member

When I took the WotF course online, Dave became one of my first speculative fiction teachers. Through Q&As and the forum, I got to learn more about Dave the writer and editor. Although I never met Dave in person, I felt as if I knew him. What impressed me most was his dedication to enhance the ability of aspiring writers. Dave was at the heart of this competition, and although I am sure WotF will find another great coordinating judge, I can't help but feel the loss of his passing. I will continue to improve my writing, and hope that one day I will have written a story that would have be worthy of Dave's approval.


Small steps add up to miles.
V38: R, R, HM, HM
V40 : HM, RWC, R, HM
"Amore For Life" in After the Gold Rush Third Flatiron Anthology
Forthcoming “Freedom’s Song” in Troubadour and Space Princesses LTUE Anthology

Posted : January 14, 2022 7:40 pm
Posts: 84
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"The doors to the rooms of memory slammed shut. The shutters to the windows fell. And in his mind there was a great moment of darkness, a keen sense of loss." David Farland in The Sum of All Men

We've lost a great writer and mentor.

(7) HM, (2) SHM

Posted : January 14, 2022 8:37 pm
Ease, Disgruntled Peony, JVAshley and 7 people reacted
Prate Gabble
Posts: 90
Silver Member

Thank you for the announcement KD Julicher,

Dave picked up the torch of instructor and has lit a bright path. That path will not dim.

I offer my condolences to his immediate family and to the family of writers for whom he was a constant inspiration. Take care of yourselves and do your best to love and nurture those near you.

Kent A. Jones (Kentagions, Prate Gabble)

V40 - RWC, F, F, HM
V39 - SHM, SHM, HM, HM
V38 - SHM, R, SHM, SHM

Posted : January 14, 2022 9:36 pm
Posts: 46
Bronze Star Member

The first novel I ever read as a little kid was a Dave Wolverton book. After that I was hooked on reading and stories forever. Seeing that he was the coordinating judge inspired me to enter this Contest. I'm very sorry to hear of his passing. 

v37: Q3HM
v38: Q1R, Q2HM, Q3HM
v39: Q2HM, Q3HM, Q4HM
v40: Q1 In Progress
I'm available for critique exchanges via PM. Note: I will not be available for exchanges from 12/17/22-1/1/23.

Posted : January 15, 2022 5:58 am
Disgruntled Peony, JVAshley, N.V. Haskell and 3 people reacted
Posts: 137
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Topic starter

If you'll forgive my indulgence... something I posted on social media after days of wrestling with my feelings, that I think all of you will understand:


Dave Wolverton/ David Farland believed in me.


I didn’t know anything when I started on my journey to being a published writer, but I knew I wanted to win Writers of the Future. I’d heard about it as a teen and it was a goal along my way. The third time I entered, I made finalist. I didn’t win, but Joni told me that “Dave said your story was the best traditional fantasy this quarter”. That’s when I realized that out of hundreds, maybe thousands, of stories entered he thought mine was in the top eight. Was publishable.


He picked my entry again twice before we met for the first time, and he’d chosen me as Published Finalist, but I was still amazed that the first thing he said after I introduced myself was how much he liked my writing. That was at a Superstars seminar, back in 2016. Then I got to attend Writers of the Future and spend a whole week learning from him. I went to other conferences and seminars he taught and I learned so very much every time.


It took six times as a finalist before I won Writers of the Future. Six times that he thought I was in the very very top of the contest. Some quarters the only reason I entered was because I knew Dave wanted me to enter, wanted me to win. Then I did, and the only thing better than winning was hearing from him that he thought my story was the very best entry that whole quarter, even if I ended up taking third.


I didn’t get to attend the award ceremony and workshop this fall, because I was having a baby. That was ok. I was going to see Dave again at Superstars, and attend the next Writers of the Future in April. And Dave was about to start editing at Baen, and wanted exactly the kind of story I told. I knew I had the perfect piece for him. I just had to get it edited to meet the bar he’d set out. It was a challenge, a delight. I was crafting the best novel I’ve ever written out of a pile of really good scraps. I couldn’t wait to share it with him.


I never got the chance. I’m not going to get to see him in February or April. He’s been more influential on my writing than anyone except my husband, and I never get to submit something to Dave again.


But I’m going to keep writing. And I’m going to make damn sure every story is something Dave would love.  

WOTF: HM x 16, SHMx2, SF x 1, F V31 Q3, V32 Q2, V32 Q4, V34 Q3, V36 Q1
Baen Fantasy Award Winner 2014
V32 Published Finalist
3rd place V37 Q1!

Posted : January 15, 2022 7:43 pm
C.A.Tedeschi, Ease, Cherrie and 14 people reacted
Dustin Adams
Posts: 1289
Platinum Plus Moderator

My first experience with Dave was a rejection of my "best story ever". You know, the first one after my finalist (with KD Wentworth), the one I'd spent six months crafting, and waited six months for results during that interminable Q1 V.29...

So when I met Dave at a masters class in Kissimmee, FL, I expected an ogre, a giant hulking man with a magical red pen that only knew how to draw the letter R.

I was late for the first class, and everyone was already seated in desks slid into a horseshoe shape with Dave in the open middle. Right there at the same level as everyone else. I remember my first thought being, "Oh, of course, he's a writer, too."

And unassuming... I don't mean that in a negative way, but when you picture an ogre, and you get a Dave, well, you can imagine my surprise. You ever see a Youtube video of him sitting in that giant chair? 😉

During our first break I made the announcement I was taking everyone out to dinner at my favorite local restaurant. Kissimmee is an old haunt of mine. Everyone easily agreed, and I got to take David Farland out to dinner. Oh, and shake his hand, of course, because awesome...

I only wish, as many of us certainly do, that we could have gone to the workshop in LA. Lord knows I've had my chances to win, but always came up short. That's on me.

Sorry if my Dave story isn't so great. I made the classic mistake of thinking I'd have time. Funny thing, time. There's always more, until there isn't.


1x Win
2x NW-F
2x S-F
9x S-HM
11x HM
7x R

Posted : January 16, 2022 4:36 am
C.A.Tedeschi, Cherrie, N.V. Haskell and 8 people reacted
Posts: 1464
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Posted by: @kd-julicher

But I’m going to keep writing. And I’m going to make damn sure every story is something Dave would love.

I haven't achieved the level of success you have KD, but I never thought I would get an HM. I have read every email Dave sent, some more than once. I'm going to miss reading his advice.

At least you won during his watch.

Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality-D.R.Sweeney
HM x5
Published Poetry
2012 Stars in Our Hearts
Silver Ships
Ist forumite to join the Wulfpack

Posted : January 16, 2022 8:02 am
Posts: 1464
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Posted by: @axeminister

Sorry if my Dave story isn't so great. I made the classic mistake of thinking I'd have time. Funny thing, time. There's always more, until there isn't.

I think your story is great Dustin. I enjoyed reading that slice of your history.

I too would have loved to have been invited to the gala and workshop.

Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality-D.R.Sweeney
HM x5
Published Poetry
2012 Stars in Our Hearts
Silver Ships
Ist forumite to join the Wulfpack

Posted : January 16, 2022 8:10 am
C.A.Tedeschi, N.V. Haskell, Wulf Moon and 1 people reacted
Posts: 137
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Topic starter


Posted by: @storysinger

At least you won during his watch.

That has been one comfort during this time. I have plenty of regrets but that's not one of them, at least.

WOTF: HM x 16, SHMx2, SF x 1, F V31 Q3, V32 Q2, V32 Q4, V34 Q3, V36 Q1
Baen Fantasy Award Winner 2014
V32 Published Finalist
3rd place V37 Q1!

Posted : January 16, 2022 8:16 am
N.V. Haskell, storysinger, DoctorJest and 1 people reacted
Posts: 287
Silver Member

I'm curious if anyone knows whether he changed things about the contest (other than obviously being a different person than the previous judge) - like did the categories of rejection change or did he trigger any rule changes or workshop changes etc etc etc.

I haven't been involved here or entering long enough to have any sense of this and while he obviously made his mark on so many of the people that participate in this forum in so many ways I wanted to know what other kinds of marks he might leave behind on the contest itself. Not that there needs to be any giant transformations at his hands for him to have had an impact.

No matter what else I imagine the next judge(s) will have some pretty big shoes to fill but also an excellent foundation to build from.

v36 Q1, Q3 - HM; Q4 - R
v37 Q1 - R; Q2 - SHM; Q4 - HM
v38 Q1 - HM; Q2 - SHM; Q3 - HM; Q4 - HM
v39 Q1 - SHM; Q3 - HM; Q4 -RWC
v40 Q1, Q2 - HM; Q3 - Pending

Posted : January 16, 2022 1:46 pm
Preston Dennett
Posts: 584
Gold Member

So very sad to hear of Dave's passing. I know he was fully devoted to this contest and to helping new writers. His writing tips were great. And during the workshop week, he was so very nice and helpful. I can only imagine how hard it must have been to read "several thousand" amateur stories every three months. I can see why the increasing size of the contest brought in first reader, Kary English. That's when the number of HMs and above started to really increase. He was a lovely man. When my story won, he asked me if it was okay with me if I added a few more descriptive elements. He wanted to know what my main character looked like, and he wanted a few more descriptions of settings. But he also said it was totally my choice to take his advice or not. Of course I took his advice and added about a hundred words, which made the final edit. So shocked to hear he has left the Earthly plane. But I know he's having great adventures in another dimension of existence. 

Preston Dennett
HM x 12
F x 1
Winner, 2nd place, Q1, Volume 35
40 stories published! (and counting!)

Posted : January 16, 2022 5:18 pm
Cherrie, vjalrik, N.V. Haskell and 3 people reacted
Posts: 188
Bronze Star Member

David was a wonderful judge. He knew who the best were, and he helped them become better. I'd never really had a solid connection with him, apart from the fact he once gave me an HM. However, I did have a dream about him two days ago. It was so convincing, so real. I even had thoughts and feelings in the dream. I imagined Dave must have wanted me to keep writing and submitting. I even put the dream into prose so that it wouldn’t fade into oblivion and get lost in my head. Now, when I can’t find the confidence to face the music and keep writing, I read it over and replay the dream through my words.

An Occurrence in a Dream

I was in a seminar, held in-person in what looked like the Writers of the Future workshop. The blue tablecloth, glossy wooden walls, and tons of other authors proved my theory true. Our instructor was someone I knew, and I was perfectly thrilled to be meeting him in-person for the first time. Wulf Moon, with his dozens of mentees, was extremely popular among the fellow writers. Of course, who else would be teaching this seminar if not him?

Class was starting. We, the twenty students, all sat in a rectangle, the corners of our tables framing our instructor and creating a stage for him. Sunlight was pouring in through a window beside me. Beside me…. I flicked a cursory look at the student sitting on my left, and was shocked to see David Farland. Pale blue cap, white beard, azure eyes, and everything. It had to be him. Why would he be here? I'd gotten word a few days ago that he…? But nevertheless, I was so pleased to meet him. I'd never met him in person, only in countless photos and in the writers of the future podcast. As the class progressed on, I kept fighting back the urge to talk to Dave. I wanted to thank him for all the rejections and most importantly, the HM, he awarded me. It was the closest connection I had to him, and I couldn’t believe I was sitting right beside him now. (I didn’t even stop to contemplate if this was a dream. Everything seemed so real, so lucid.) Unfortunately, I couldn’t work up the courage to interact with him. Plus, I didn’t want to risk upsetting Moon, who was enthusiastically talking about how to Nail-Your-Openings.

Soon, class was over. The students dissipated like mist, all headed in their separate directions. Moon was busy collecting papers. That was when I noticed that Dave hadn’t left his seat. I assumed he probably was waiting for Moon, and that’s when I plucked up my courage and talked to Dave, since there was only the two of us, with Moon being out of earshot.

I said, "Mr. Farland? I'm Hermione. I wanted to thank you for the rejections and HM you gave me."

He looked at me, an interested smile crossing his face.

"I got six rejections in a row before getting my HM."

He laughed. Not in a mocking way, but in an understanding manner.

"But that’s why it means so much to me. You helped me grow as an author and a person, and thanks for that."

Dave didn’t say much. Smiling, he observed me with his twinkling eyes, and said three words I'll never forget, "Keep it up."

I headed on my way to the next seminar, also taught by Moon. It was held in a bookstore I knew. Along the way, ideas for revising my fifth novel, parts and bits on how to improve it, popped into my mind.

I couldn’t help wondering if Dave had instilled some kind of magic in those brief three words.


V37: R, R, R, R
V38: R, R, HM, R

Author of The Otherworld Trilogy
Book 1: In the Name of the Otherworld (https://www.amazon.com/Name-Otherworld-Hermione-Lee/dp/1955086362)
Book 2: Marvels of the Underworld (https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1956788689?ref_=dbs_m_mng_wim_calw_tpbk_1&storeType=ebooks)
Book 3 I&II: War of the Chaotic Worlds (TBA)

Recipient of the Literary Titan Silver Award in September 2021
Recipient of Best Sci-fi and Fantasy Novel and Best Young Adult Book in the 24th Critters Annual Readers Poll (2021-2022)
Winner of the 2021 Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewers’ Choice Awards (Best YA/NA Novel)

Posted : January 17, 2022 1:58 am
Wulf Moon, Cherrie, N.V. Haskell and 3 people reacted
N.V. Haskell
Posts: 93
Bronze Star Member

I apologize for the long post.

After hearing about Dave's 318r class in late 2020, I reached out to Dave and asked a lot of questions. Did he think that I, working fulltime in healthcare during a pandemic, would be able to keep up with the assignments? I hadn't taken a class in over twenty years and was nervous about embarrassing myself. Dave wrote me back in a very personal, kindly way. When the class filled up sooner than he thought it would, he added a place for me without hesitation. 

I don't know what I was expecting, but Dave was so down to earth and unassuming throughout the class. His critiques were honest and fair, and delivered in his classically thoughtful way. He was encouraging and patient, especially since I am typically very shy in classes, but would occasionally follow up with an email if I had a question. Dave never made me feel like I was bothering him, he genuinely enjoyed people's desire to learn and grow. 

My winning story was written initially as the final assignment for his class. That would have prohibited it from ever being entered in WOTF, but I already knew which magazine I was going to query with it since I didn't think it would fit in well with the contest. But at the last minute, I sent two chapters of my first manuscript to Dave and sent that story in for the third quarter. I never thought it would win. 

Dave gave me a great critique of my chapters and paid me the best compliment I have ever received as a writer, "You are a natural story teller." After that, I let him know when two other stories he had critiqued had been picked up and he was genuinely happy for me. 

Much like @kd-julicher, Dave elevated my writing and my confidence. Dave had magic in him and was one of those rare souls that could bring magic out in others. He believed in other people and was excited to dive into new worlds and hear new voices. He was kind, generous with his time, and thoughtful. I am still processing the fact that I will never meet him in person, not at Superstars, nor in LA. 

It's been comforting to read the messages to his family and friends and know that Dave was this type of person to everyone. A teacher and mentor, a friend, a supporter. It's nice to see the outpouring of love and respect for Dave and I am thankful for my interactions with him, however brief they were.

He leaves a void that will definitely be difficult to fill, but the effects of his teachings will ripple out for generations of writers. 


‘Writing is like giving yourself homework, really hard homework, everyday for the rest of your life. You want glamour? Throw glitter at the computer screen.' - Ketrina Monroe
'The War Within' Deep Magic Volume 73 https://deepmagic.co
'Spirit Talk' in The Last Line Issue 7 Winter
'The Mystical Farrago' Writers of the Future, Volume 38
'The Dying Book' Misfits of Magic Anthology
'Whatever Lola Wants' Murderbirds Anthology
'Inspirational Theurgist' Of Wizards and Wolves Anthology for the David Farland memorial fund
'Beneath the Glass Dark' From the Depths Anthology
'A Life of Color' Metaphorosis magazine 8/1/2023
'A Murmuring Darkness' Strange Horizons 9/18/2023
'Out There With Them' Robotic Ambitions-Apex publishing (upcoming)
'A Widow's Word' Murderbugs Anthology (upcoming)
V37- R, HM, SHM, HM
V38- HM, SHM, Winner (3rd place)

Posted : January 17, 2022 7:37 am
David Hankins, Wulf Moon, Cherrie and 6 people reacted
Posts: 27
Bronze Member

When I casually opened my email this morning I never expected to see a message titled 'In memoriam David Farland'. It felt like a punch in the gut just as I was about to take my first bite of breakfast. Listening to him talk in his videos and the live Q&A he hosted multiple times he always felt eminently pleasant and likable and I always thought, if I keep at it and strive to improve one day I can meet him in person. It now joins my regrets of never having seen Freddie Mercury live on stage, never learning a bit of my grandfather's incredible craft at smithing before dementia hit him, all the things that could have been in my reach if but for a few years of time.


I'm glad I joined the Q&A last year despite the inconvenience of time zones instead of just watching the recording after the fact. It was just a video conference, but especially in the times of Corona we've come to accept this as the next best thing to meeting someone in person. Even beyond this contest David Farland took time out of his day to offer a helping hand to those on the first miles of the same path. What a world we would be in if people in all walks of life acted like that.

Always remember that the crowd that applauds your coronation is the same crowd that will applaud your beheading. People like a show.
Terry Pratchett

Posted : January 22, 2022 1:13 am
Wulf Moon, N.V. Haskell, Cray Dimensional and 2 people reacted
Posts: 18
Active Member

I never met Dave personally but one time I sent an email, he replied immediately. It shows a lot of dedication for someone who has as much work as him to personally reply to his emails. And ofc, he did gave me an HM.

As a personal promise to him, I will try my best to win WOTF one of these years. He believed in me. I'd like to prove that his belief in me was warranted.

WOTF entries:
Q1 Vol 29 - R
Q3 Vol 35 - HM
Q4 Vol 35 - R

Posted : January 22, 2022 9:36 am
Posts: 27
Advanced Member

I've never met Mr. Farland before, but what a shock to read of his passing. He truly will be missed by many. He has definitely helped me grow as a writer and I'm deeply grateful for that. 

V37: 1Q HM, 4 Q HM
V38: 3Q HM, 4Q HM
V39: 1Q HM, 3Q SHM

Posted : January 22, 2022 12:28 pm
Posts: 20
Advanced Member

I was shocked to see an email with the title "In Memoriam." As small as it may be, I am truly sad that he will never read a submission of mine. I would have been thrilled had I received a word of encouragement from someone so knowledgeable who was so dedicated to helping emerging writers. He was a gift to the community.

Vol. 39 Q1: HM
Vol. 40 Q1: SHM

Posted : January 22, 2022 3:54 pm
B.A. Boose, storysinger, Cray Dimensional and 2 people reacted