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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » David Farland's Kick in the Pants and Writers of the Future

   
Author Topic: David Farland's Kick in the Pants and Writers of the Future
Owasm
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Those of you who submit stories to Writers of the Future and to anywhere else might be interested in today's issue of David Farland's Daily Kick in the Pants.

He's the new coordinating judge for Writers of the Future taking over from the late great K.D. Wentworth. His top ten reasons for rejecting a story is a good scale to determine if your work is too amateurish for getting past the rejection stage.

A sample:

quote:
2) The story is unbelievable. “Johnny Verve was the smartest kid on earth, and he was only six. He was the strongest one, and the most handsome, too. But the coolest part was when he found out he had magical powers!” At that point, I’m gone, and not just because there were four uses of “was” in three sentences.
His next daily kick will talk about getting past the "Honorable Mention" stage. That's where I am currently, so I'll be interested.

His website is http://www.DavidFarland.net if you're interested in signing up. If you don't email me and I'll forward you my copy. It's good view into a judge's mind.

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rabirch
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This is great information and I am really looking forward to tomorrow's posting as well. I also haven't broken the Honorable Mention barrier, so the insight will be fabulous, I'm sure.
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LDWriter2
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I've read it already and it is good.


However like must lists like that from editors my stories-writing hardly ever fit into them. With the possibly exception of, I think, number six in this list...as far as I know anyway.

My problems are usually elsewhere.

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MartinV
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The best thing about that article is that it makes me feel smart. [Big Grin]

I went ahead and read some more articles on that page. The one that stuck in my mind most was the "put your character in pain". Here's a quote:
quote:
If you put the reader into too much discomfort, the reader may close the book, not because the tale doesn’t interest them, but because it becomes emotionally overcharged.
That there is the reason why I didn't enjoy reading Hunger Games. I said in my review that Hunger Games was majestic and riveting but not enjoyable. I now know why.
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Robert Nowall
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Boy, I'd really like to write that story. Not that I'd send it out to someone, I'd just like to write it.
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MattLeo
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quote:
Johnny Verve was the smartest kid on earth, and he was only six. He was strongest one, and the most handsome, too. But the coolest part was when he found out he had magical powers!
Well, I'm hooked. Let's see where the author manages to take this one. Maybe we should have a writing challenge to see who can draft the best second paragraph to this story.

MartinV writes:
quote:
I went ahead and read some more articles on that page. The one that stuck in my mind most was the "put your character in pain".
I see a lot of openings that attempt this prematurely. You can make the protagonist suffer, but *first* you've got to get the reader invested in him.

Why do novice authors make this mistake? In part I believe they're led astray by the misleading terminology we use: "hooking" the reader. That seems to imply (at least to non-fishermen) that you can just snag the reader and then he's good as yours. What we call "hooking" is more often like laying a fire; nursing that spark of interest along until it's large enough to consume whole logs of plot developments. Not smothering reader interest is why many effective openings so often involve a hiatus in action; a moment at least where the protagonist pauses, giving the reader a chance to orient himself.

But I think something else is going on with these crucify-the-POV-character openings. I often get the feeling that an author doing this doesn't quite have a story yet. He's pictured is protagonist at the climax hanging from the edge of a cliff, but doesn't quite know how to get him there. He attempts to cover the fact he doesn't know where to start the story or how to set the protagonist in motion by larding the opening with melodrama.

quote:
That there is the reason why I didn't enjoy reading Hunger Games.
You'll note that Collins doesn't make the mistake of crucifying Katniss on the first page. Rather, she shows Katniss dealing with the hard, but manageable day-to-day problems of her life before the inciting incident.
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ForlornShadow
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MattLeo you're right that you don't have to start off the story with a major incident on the first page. But putting the character in pain doesn't necessarily mean major incident, it could be just the simple frustrations and stresses that we encounter on a day to day basis.
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axeminister
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The honorable mention kick is up.

Axe

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Meredith
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Well, now I know why my 2011 Q4 story got an HM. I was never really happy with the ending. I just couldn't come up with anything better. If I ever do, maybe I'll resubmit it. After all, David Farland hasn't seen it. [Smile]
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Notwald
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These seem like some pretty useful suggestions. I wouldn't mind signing up to get them via email. But, I don't see a place to do that. Do I have to register as a member of the site? Or am I just missing something obvious?
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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A book that I found very uncomfortable to read was THE HELP. I finished it, but it was hard to come back to for a while, because I could imagine what might happen to those women if they were caught, and even though it was only potential pain, it was too much for me at times.
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Owasm
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If you want to just see past kicks on Farland's site, they are under writer's tips. If you sign up as a member (click on member) then you can elect to get the Daily Kick newsletter.

http://www.DavidFarland.net

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LDWriter2
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Some interesting stuff on the Ten reasons kick and the HM kick.


He gives examples of his points and I wonder how many try to recognize this story?


Yes, I have. On the HM kick he tells of a story he read a few days ago that might be, in a way, could be, maybe is, mine. So far it's the only one that is even that close. [Smile]

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