Known as the “Wizard of Storytelling,” David Farland (who also writes under the name David Wolverton) is the author and editor of more than fifty books, including his Philip K. Dick Award winning novel On My Way to Paradise and the well-known Runelords series. A long-time mentor to writers, David spend many years teaching writing at Bringham Young University and has also mentored such writers as Stephanie Meyer, Brandon Sanderson, Eric Flint and James Dashner.
KWL Director Mark Lefebvre had the chance to sit down and chat with David about these things and much more at the 2016 annual Superstars Writing Seminars conference in Colorado Springs where David is one of the founding faculty members of a group of international bestselling authors who spend several information-packed days teaching newer writers the business of writing and publishing.
In their conversation, Mark and David discuss:
- David’s love of writing, which started when he was nine years old and had his first writing published in a local newspaper
- The fact that David had planned on becoming a doctor and was taken aside by a very astute teacher when he was seventeen who told him, “Dave, you’re a writer. You don’t know it yet, but you’re a writer and you can’t get away from that. It’s going to come out some day”
- When he was studying pre-med and spent three days working on a poem that just wouldn’t leave his mind
- Winning third place in a college writing contest for a short story and how that inspired him to write more and submit them to other contests, where he won first place in all of them, including first prize in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest
- How winning that contest led to a three novel contract with Bantam right there at the Writers of the Future ceremony
- David’s current role in helping to kick-start new writers careers as the lead editor for the Writers of the Future annual contest
- Tips on what David is looking for when reading submissions to this contest
- David’s role as a writer coach and how, as an adviser to Scholastic Books in the United States, David had suggested they take a serious look at a then-unknown author of the Harry Potter series
- The secret to how David can intuit a writer’s chances of success without even having to have read any of their work
- How his real name of David Wolverton became associated with his science fiction novels (starting with his first award winning novel, and how he landed on the pseudonym of David Farland by standing in a bookstore and looking at the placement of books on the shelves and determining the best “eye-level” last name to employ
- David’s natural storyteller ability as a Dungeon Master taking care of twenty to thirty people at once for role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, and how that led to his interest and participation in game development
- David’s work doing screenplays and movie production, and the difference and similarities between writing novels, writing video games and writing screenplays
- David’s work writing in the Star Wars universe, including The Courtship of Princess Leia as well as YA and middle grade books for Scholastic
- The collaborative spirit and mentality required when working on licensed properties, video games, etc
- The differences between “Hollywood” and “New York Publishing” for a writer
- David’s advice for writers and on being a professional writer: Deciding what you want to be and then beginning to live and BE that part
As part of his dedication to helping other writers, David writes the David Farland’s #WritingTips, an email bulletin for writers. Many authors rave about how it has helped them. Out of devotion, he provides his #WritingTips for free.
OTHER LINKS OF INTEREST
David’s Website: http://davidfarland.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/authordavidfarland
David’s Great Resources for writers, including a signup to his “Daily Kick in the Pants” emails: www.mystorydoctor.com
YouTube Video mentioned in the podcast
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