Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Writing Wisdom – Dave Wolverton, aka David Farland

There is nothing like being taught by a master, and that’s how I would classify New York Times Best-selling author and writing teacher Dave Wolverton. Winner of the 2009 Whitney Best Novel of the Year and Outstanding Achievement Award, Dave is one of the most genteel and humble men I’ve ever known. He is always there to nurture a struggling beginner and to applaud the success of everyone who has made the journey into publication.

In addition to his own success, Dave, who has published 50 books in the past 26 years, has been entered into the Guinness World Book of Records for having the most people ever attend a book signing while promoting his Runelords series in Germany, has been a teacher to a list of other best-selling authors, including Dan Wells (I Am Not a Serial Killer), Brandon Mull (Fablehaven), Brandon Sanderson (Elantris and The Wheel of Time: Towers of Midnight), and Stephenie Meyers (Twilight saga).

Recently I had the opportunity to attend one of Dave’s presentations at the LDS Storymaker’s conference, and I wished his session could have gone on for days. I’ve been writing and studying writing for a long time, but I learned so much in his session, short though it was.

His opening words of wisdom for that session were, “Nobody makes it alone. We all build upon each other.” He them went on to talk about how important it is to network. He encouraged the authors to prepare for a brilliant writing career and ask themselves, “What is your first good step?” He said there is no one set path for making a career as a writer, but like fellow science fiction author Kevin Anderson says, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

Dave encouraged the writers to do their homework on the person or pesons they most want to network with, then build your confidence for when you meet them. “You just need that one person to get your career started. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” he adds, warning that you should also be aware of your potential competition.

He says to be entertaining, research the world, and develop genuine interest in people and knowledge that you can spread around. When you meet the agent or editor of your dreams, you want to have things to talk about, something with which you can engage them in conversation where they will remember you in a good way. “Prepare emotionally. Prepare spiritually,” he says. If we teach through our writing, we must be careful what we are teaching.”

Authors use writing as their way of screaming, and therefore you should write what is most important to you. Authors can change the world. They create entire communities. Dave says,” We are having a huge effect on people and we don’t even know it. A lot of people need what we have. Each of us has something to share in the world..”

He suggested we use the things he has said as our blueprint—“How to be more like me.” And that makes perfect sense when you understand that one of Dave’s goals is to help all of us become the next best-selling writers who are ready to speak to the world.

If you’re interested in learning more writing insight from Dave Wolverton, sign up for his free e-newsletter, Daily Kick in the Pants, at his website: http://davidfarland.net/. You can also find out about upcoming workshops there as well.

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