Stagnant Villians

I've been reading David Farland's, Million Dollar Outlines and I must tell you that so far it's a close second to Orson Scott Card's Characters and Viewpoint in terms of usefulness. One of the big...

Francis Bruno's Writing Blog

Farland’s Authors Advisory Call – David Farland

I highly recommend this podcast: Farland’s Authors’ Advisory Calls

The latest entry is an interview with David Farland, himself regarding short stories.

For those not in the know, David Farland is the Coordinating judge for Writers of the Future and I am diligently working on winning the contest. I recommend listening to the podcast in its entirety, but I made some notes and figured I’d post them here for my writer friends.

1. Every short story needs an idea which consists of:

  • Plot
  • Setting
  • Person
  • Conflict/ Emotion – A story is conflict

2. Within the first two pages:

  • Set the scene
  • Introduce the characters
  • Introduce the conflict

3. Include 3/5 senses in every scene

4. A surprise on every page

5. 3 try/ fail cycles. Not too many or it gets redundant, but less than this likely won’t work.

6. Twilight zone endings always work, but are becoming an increasingly harder sell since they are overused/ not used well.

7. You need a powerful ending

  • Protagonist can get what he wants (Comic Ending)
  • -Very difficult to pull off
  • Character gets what he needs
  • Hero gets what he wants, but at a terrible price
  • - Most Powerful ending.

8. Never leave the reader hanging. You must wrap up all loose ends — definite ending.

9. Automatic red flags:

  • Start waking up
  • Character sitting and thinking.

Characters must push the story forward. If they have time to sit and ponder, there is nothing moving the story forward. Especially true if things are happening. In the middle heated combat, the protag won’t be making deep observations.

I am currently working my way through Million Dollar Outlines by David Farland and will post my thoughts on that coming up.

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