2K to 10K 31 Plays in 31 Days 750 Words A Newbie's Guide to Publishing a room of one's own Aaron Sorkin Adam Lauver Aimee Mann Alden Jones Alexander Masters All Things Considered alphabetical order amazing Amazon Ang Lee Angels in America animation Ann Patchett Ann Voss Peterson Anne Lamott Anne R. Allen AOL Instant Messenger Apartment Therapy audio drama Austin Kleon author pages avalanche thinking baby bump Barnes & Noble basement cat Belgariad benonsensical Big Fish Bill Watterson Bird by Bird Blake Snyder blogging book porn books Books-a-Million Boston Boston Playwrights' Theatre Boston Theater Marathon Brain Pickings brainstorming Brandon Sanderson brevity Bridge Rep of Boston Buffy the Vampire Slayer BuzzFeed C.J. Redwine C.S. Lewis caffeine Calvin and Hobbes Carlo Gébler cat Catherine Lacey cats Charlie Jane Anders Cheryl Strayed Chris Baty Chuck Wendig clichés coffee collaborative writing Colson Whitehead comedy conflict copyeditor Corpse Bride Cracked.com Craig Fehrman Craig Mazin creative autobiography creative nonfiction creativity Curious George Cynthia Herron Daily Kick in the Pants Dante Alighieri David Daniel David Eddings David Farland David McRaney David Ogilvy David Rakoff day jobs Dean Wesley Smith Dear Sugar Deborah Martin delayed gratification depression description dialogue discipline divorce Dogma Dragon Age: Origins Dragonlance dreams Dungeons & Dragons East of Eden Eat Pray Love Edward Kelsey Moore Elise Capron Elmore Leonard Emerson College Emily Kaye Lazzaro endings epic Ernest Hemingway escalation ESP Esquire magazine extroverts F. Scott Fitzgerald Facebook fanfic Fangs and Clause fantasy Father's Day fear fear of the basement fellowships fiction authors Fiction500 first lines first novel flash fiction formal writing Freedom freewriting full-length plays fun. Game of Thrones Gandalf genre fiction GIgantic Sequins Go God Going Viral Google graffiti Grant Snider greeting cards Half Empty Hallmark Harper Voyager HarperCollins Harry Potter homeless people Hovey Players Hovey Summer Shorts Festival Howard Gardner Hugh Howey Hurricane Island ICanLegoThat ice cream trucks IFTTT iice cream trucks imposter syndrome Incidental Comics Independent Clause internal conflicts interviews introverts io9 Ira Glass Irish Famine italics J.A. Konrath J.K. Rowling J.R.R. Tolkien James H. Duncan James Thurber Jan Reymond Jane Vandenburgh Janice Hardy jeffjlin.com Jen Doll Joanna Penn John August John Coffee John Scalzi John Steinbeck Joss Whedon jury duty Kamala Nair Karen Russell Kevin J. Anderson Kevin Smith keyhole effect kids Kimberly Ann Southwick Kindle Singles Kristine Kathryn Rusch Kurt Vonnegut L. Ron Hubbard Lake Superior State University Le Morte d'Arthur Legos Letters of Note Letters to a Young Poet LIC One Act Festival Lifehacker.com Lilo and Stitch List of Banished Words Lists of Note literary fiction literature Llyod Alexander Lord of the Rings Luke Skywalker magical fantasy world Maine man cave manuscript factory Marc Maron Margaret Weis Mark Twain Mass Effect mass effect 3 Massacre Lane Massacre Pond Maurice Sendak Megan Stielstra microfiction Microsoft Word middle school momentum Mona Simpson money Monica Byrne monologues music musical NaNoWriMo Nathan Bransford National Novel Writing Month Native Americans Neil Gaiman Never Check E-Mail in the Morning New York Times No Plot? No Problem! nonfiction Nora Roberts note to self NPR Old Testament Olivia D'Ambrosio On Writing online resources Open Culture Oprah organization outlines outlining Outward Bound overused phrases pacing page turners pantser paper routes paradigm paradigm shift parapsychology parenthood parenting passion perfectionism Pete Docter Peter Corea picture books Piers Anthony Pixar planning playwrighting playwriting plot plotter podcast poetry pomodoro technique premonitions procrastination productivity prolific prose poem psychology publishing myths race Rachel Aaron Rachel Scheller Rainer Maria Rilke Ray Bradbury real estate rejection relationships Republic of Brown research revision reward systems Richard Feynman Robert Heinlein Romainmôtier Roni Loren rough drafts running Ryan Casey Samuel Park Save the Cat! Scarborough scheduling schizophrenia science fiction Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America Scientology scrivener self-doubt self-publishing sequence Shadowrun Shakespeare shared sacrifice Sherwood Anderson shitty first drafts short films short plays short stories short-short stories singing single parent Sir Thomas Malory sketches smart phones smartphones Songs of Innocence and Experience soundtrack South Portland Spider-Man SPIN Magazine Starbucks steal like a writer Stephen King Stephen Marche stories submitting success! suicide Susan Sontag Tad Williams Tasslehoff Burrfoot teaching technology telekinesis ten-minute plays terribleminds thank you in advance The Atlantic Wire The Berenstain Bears The Boston Globe The Business Rusch The Chronicles of Narnia The Chronicles of Prydain The Creative Habit The Creative Penn The Divine Comedy The Formative Years The Game The Getaway Car The Girl in the Garden The Grinder The Interview The LIfe of Pi The Lighthouse The Manuscript Factory the new normal The New York Times The Old Reader The Other Side of the Story The Passive Voice The Rumpus Thelonious Monk thinking patterns This American Life Three-Minute Fiction time travel timed writing Tony Kushner Torch transcript Trinity College Tuesdays with Morrie Twitter Twyla Tharp undefined Vericon vignettes Virginia Woolf Voltron Wall Street Journal Whatever Where the WIld Things Are Wikipedia Wild William Blake William Shakespeare Winesburg Ohio Wool workaholic workflowy Working Writers world building Write or Die Writer... Interrupted writerly bedrooms writerly headspace writers writers block Writer's Digest Writer's Market writing writing early writing fast writing routines Written? Kitten! WTF Podcast You Are Not So Smart

Entries in David Farland (4)


Creating major internal conflicts

From David Farland, a creative and easy way to create complex characters:

Give your character a major internal conflict. By that I mean, pick a word that describes your character. For example: He’s compassionate. Then find another word that can also describe your character, but make it a polar opposite—terrorist. Now, look for ways to reveal both sides of you character. For example, your protagonist might be at a French Restaurant. He sees a mother and a baby, and tries desperately to drag them away from the restaurant—just before it blows up. He saves them! But how did he know that the restaurant would explode? Because he set the bomb. Giving a character a dual nature creates an instability, a lack of balance, that probably can’t stay forever.

Read the rest here!


"The fact that you write is a passport everywhere"

From an essay by L. Ron Hubbard called "The Manuscript Factory":

It is so easy to get good raw materials that most writers consider it quite unnecessary.
Hence the errors which make your yarn unsalable. You wouldn’t try to write an article on steel without at least opening an encyclopedia, and yet I’ll wager that a fiction story which had steel in it would never occasion the writer a bit of worry or thought.
You must have raw material. It gives you the edge on the field. And no one tries to get it by honest research. For a few stories, you may have looked far, but for most of your yarns, you took your imagination for the textbook.
After all, you wouldn’t try to make soap when you had no oil.
The fact that you write is a passport everywhere. You’ll find very few gentlemen refusing to accommodate your curiosity. Men in every and any line are anxious to give a writer all the data he can use because, they reason, their line will therefore be truly represented. You’re apt to find more enmity in not examining the facts.
Raw materials are more essential than fancy writing. Know your subject.

The article starts here. The right margins seem to be on vacation; I had to highlight the text in order to read it. Let me know if there's more reader-friendly version of this somewhere!

No one finds me more surprised to be linking to L. Ron Hubbard than myself, believe me. But this essay was mentioned in a recent post by David Farland that I enjoyed, so I hunted it down, and thought it was still relevant and interesting.

Particularly this above. On the one hand, too much research can kill the writing before you've even written a word. But on the other... I could take a class on sword fighting, or interview a medievalist, or visit a musuemthere are any number of ways for me to get a better grasp on my epic swords and sorcery saga that one day you'll hear about but, for now, is still in the wishful thinking stage. And mostly I do not even consider them. 

What kind of research do you do before/during/after your writing?


Being and remaining a working author

Happy Friday!

From David Farland, a short post about finding and keeping the writerly work ethic:

Many writers [...] keep planning to write something, to become manuscript factories, but end up producing nothing at all. They dream of writing screenplays and novels, but never even write a chapter.

Obviously, I don’t want to be the kind of person who only dreams of producing manuscripts.

Between the extremes of the has-beens and the wannabes is where I hope to be. I want to be the kind of author who steadily produces something every day. I want to be a working author. I want to be bustling and busy, and keep producing.

Read the rest here!

...and speaking of, what a great time to remind you about Week Twenty One! Be the manuscript factory. And, really, a manuscript factory could put out 400 words before the workers even arrive. For this one, you only need to be a manuscript hobbiest, at best.


Instructions for the proper care and feeding of writers

From David Farland's Daily Kick in the Pants:

When I was young and newly married, I used to sit down to write, and my wife would immediately think that “since you’re not doing anything, let’s have a conversation.” That’s a frequent problem for those who work from home. It might not look like I’m busy, but sometimes I really am busy. 

In order to write, I have to get into what I call my “writer’s trance,” a state where I’m vividly dreaming about my world (with my right brain) while composing and analyzing my prose (with my left brain). So I have to work with full mental capacity, and it can take about ½ of an hour to get into that state deeply enough to get some good work done. So, if I’m in the groove, don’t bother me. I need time to focus completely on my work.

I've found that having a discreet but limited amount of time to write is perfect. If I have all day, I will definitely not spend all day writing, even if that's what I've been craving for weeks, months. Instead, I'll read some things, watch some things, play some things. Whereas if I have only, say, an hour before I have to be somewhere, so long as there's no distraction I can get into the writerly headspace pretty efficiently. However:

Your writer is insane. Remember that your writer spends a great deal of time in a dream world, talking to imaginary people, visiting places that don’t exist. Shakespeare often lamented about his poor mental health, wondering if he was a genius or a nut. He was obviously both. I once heard a psychologist say that “most writers are provably borderline schizophrenics.” I know that I am. I’m a science fiction writer, and being spacy is a job hazard. 

...Getting back out of the writerly headspace can be a challenge. I tend to miss train stops and spill things on my pants. How about you?

Link to the rest here.