Dave Farland's Workshop

Specifics about craft, talent, technique, etc.
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chuckt
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Dave Farland's Workshop

Postby chuckt » Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:28 am

I'm just back from doing Dave's week-long craft workshop in St. George. Well worth it and I strongly recommend. It's great to have a whole week to concentrate on writing. Although almost everything he spoke of is somewhere in his blog or daily tips, it was very helpful to have it delivered in a programmed fashion and to do exercises to reinforce the lessons.

I kept my ears open for anything that might help with the contest but I don't think I heard anything that isn't already out there and discussed here. I'll review my notes and, maybe, add more later, but here's a few things that stuck out for me.

1. There has not been a grand prize winner whose protagonist didn't experience some kind of character growth because of what happened to them.
2. There are a lot of entries that don't merit much attention. Most even. But you are still competing against a couple of hundred pretty darn good stories.
3. You have to grab Dave very quickly. It's gotta be there in the opening. Then your ending will get looked at and, if that is liked, you'll get a couple of pages read. If that keeps him hooked, you'll get a full read.
4. They did cut down on the number of HMs last quarter. I think the rationale was to clearly identify the stories that are top-notch.
36 R,R,R, Pending

Wulf Moon
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Re: Dave Farland's Workshop

Postby Wulf Moon » Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:53 am

Thanks for this, Chuck! Very wise to take a class from Dave. He is, after all, the judge that determines futures in this contest. I commend you for that, and recommend this to all.

Thanks for the info on the reduced HMs. It shows earning an HM is a privelege, not a right. It's not a simple 10% cut of all stories. Like Kevin J. Anderson told me years ago, "If you get an HM in this contest, it actually means something."

All the beast!

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RSchibler
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Re: Dave Farland's Workshop

Postby RSchibler » Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:04 am

Thanks so much for sharing this! #3 is particularly interesting. Also makes me feel better about my HM - it really does mean something!
Trying to refute entropy with words.

Vol34: R, HM, R
Vol35: HM, R, R, HM
Vol36: R, HM, HM, pending

ALWAYS available for critiques. PM me.


https://www.flametreepublishing.com/A-Dying-Planet-Short-Stories-ISBN-9781787557819.html

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disgruntledpeony
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Re: Dave Farland's Workshop

Postby disgruntledpeony » Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:26 am

Definitely useful stuff. Wish I'd known about #3 ages ago. wotf019
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain

R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, ?

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AlexH
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Re: Dave Farland's Workshop

Postby AlexH » Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:59 am

It's interesting how Dave reads the ending before the middle.

I've got to get that character growth in.

Thanks!
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If you're a new writer and concerned about giving a critique, you're welcome to send me something anyway. :)

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Henckel
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Re: Dave Farland's Workshop

Postby Henckel » Wed Oct 16, 2019 12:13 pm

Thanks for sharing. I fully intend to obsess over those points for many moons.

Also, it does make me feel a little better about my HM in Q3. I'd submitted with the intentions of an upward trajectory (my previous entry was also and HM, so I was hoping for a SHM).

Anyway, I agree with others that that point #3 is one really important. ...Also good to keep point number 1

SwiftPotato
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Re: Dave Farland's Workshop

Postby SwiftPotato » Thu Oct 17, 2019 4:08 am

These are great to know, thanks! I'd love to take one of his workshops at some point when I have some time off of work. Maybe I'll start with one of the online ones once I've figured out how much writing time I have left around Moon's vol. 37 challenge. Not to just parrot everyone else, but point 3 is especially interesting...I almost wish he wouldn't read the ending before the middle, because it'll give some stories less punch! I do understand why he does it though. If the ending is no good, and there's no character growth, then there's not much point in slogging through the middle.
R, ?

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RSchibler
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Re: Dave Farland's Workshop

Postby RSchibler » Thu Oct 17, 2019 6:15 am

SwiftPotato wrote:These are great to know, thanks! I'd love to take one of his workshops at some point when I have some time off of work. Maybe I'll start with one of the online ones once I've figured out how much writing time I have left around Moon's vol. 37 challenge. Not to just parrot everyone else, but point 3 is especially interesting...I almost wish he wouldn't read the ending before the middle, because it'll give some stories less punch! I do understand why he does it though. If the ending is no good, and there's no character growth, then there's not much point in slogging through the middle.


And, he’s not reading for pleasure. He is putting together an anthology and has to do it quickly because there are a lot of stories. If the ending isn’t interesting, he’s not going to bother with the middle.
Trying to refute entropy with words.

Vol34: R, HM, R
Vol35: HM, R, R, HM
Vol36: R, HM, HM, pending

ALWAYS available for critiques. PM me.


https://www.flametreepublishing.com/A-Dying-Planet-Short-Stories-ISBN-9781787557819.html

SwiftPotato
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Re: Dave Farland's Workshop

Postby SwiftPotato » Thu Oct 17, 2019 7:13 am

RSchibler wrote:
SwiftPotato wrote:These are great to know, thanks! I'd love to take one of his workshops at some point when I have some time off of work. Maybe I'll start with one of the online ones once I've figured out how much writing time I have left around Moon's vol. 37 challenge. Not to just parrot everyone else, but point 3 is especially interesting...I almost wish he wouldn't read the ending before the middle, because it'll give some stories less punch! I do understand why he does it though. If the ending is no good, and there's no character growth, then there's not much point in slogging through the middle.


And, he’s not reading for pleasure. He is putting together an anthology and has to do it quickly because there are a lot of stories. If the ending isn’t interesting, he’s not going to bother with the middle.


Also a fair point. I definitely think more like a pleasure reader than a judge. :)
R, ?

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chuckt
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Re: Dave Farland's Workshop

Postby chuckt » Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:16 am

On number 3, I believe he said that is a typical MO. I suppose he meant that the ending might not be a deal-breaker if the opening is strong enough?

5. The title is important. He likes a good title.
6. A Silver HM means you are so incredibly close. Something needs fixing. Sometimes your'e getting a SHM instead of higher so the story isn't disqualified. (So if I ever get a SHM, you can bet that sucker will get reworked and resubmitted).
7. 70% of Finalists use metaphors/similes

Everything else in my notes has been covered pretty well in the Forum. For example: Try/Fail cycles, set your scene early, make us care for your protagonist . . . Wulf's Super Secret thread covers it all really well. In fact, he's probably talked about all the above but 1-7 just stuck out to me.
36 R,R,R, Pending


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