Realm Makers 2015 was so super fun as Realm Makers is every year. I loved the costume dinner and seeing everyone’s costumes! My husband, Leo, attended and dressed up with me as characters in my book, The Dragon Warrior and the Princess. Aww…I was so happy to have him with me for that!
I learned more this year in the sessions than I have previously. For me, the best sessions in Realm Makers 2015 were the sessions with David Farland. I have to be honest; when I saw the track options I didn’t feel very excited about any of them. Editing in particular sounded boring. So I asked around on Facebook and found that most people who replied were going to editing to hear David Farland. I hadn’t heard of him or read any of his books but decided to go with what people were excited about.
Wow, am I ever glad that I did! I learned SO much. David has SO much knowledge and experience. Everything out of his mouth was golden! I would have loved to hear him speak for another six sessions, at least! He said so much, so fast I couldn’t even absorb everything he was saying. I hope I can get ahold of the audio at some point. Those sessions would be worth reviewing over and over.
Here are the most important things that I came away with from the Realm Makers 2015 writing conference:
Keynote from Robert Liparulo
- Comparison is the thief of joy.
- When writing a novel, GET IT DONE! If it stinks… well…at least it completely stinks.
- God put in you the desire to write!
- Always be ready to participate in God’s plan on His time.
- Don’t think of your dreams as ‘just dreams’ but as prayers to God.
- Sleep when you’re dead!
- Be bold!
Sessions with David Farland:
- You need to have great concepts, a good story (structure) and beautiful writing (rather than journeyman writing).
- Best-sellers transport you into a different time and place.
- Never use the same setting twice. (In the same book. Have micro settings within the story. Different settings within the overall setting.)
- Do more research than what actually goes into the setting.
- Choose about ten interesting settings for your book.
- To research settings for your book, visit the places if possible. (You can use this as a tax write-off.)
- Bestsellers often appeal to a wide demographic: male and female, old and young.
- Make your young characters an even age – 10, 12, 14 or 16. This will tell bookstores which shelf to put your book on.
- Create stories that score high on the emotional Richter scale.
- Use the right emotional draws for your audience.
- Until the age of 10 years old, the strongest draw is wonder.
- By age 20 a young woman’s interest in romance becomes greater than her interest in wonder.
- As boys grow into men their strongest interest becomes adventure.
- For both men and women, as they get older, 50ish the greatest emotional draw becomes mystery and drama (So says David Farland. Personally, I can’t EVER see myself appreciating mystery and drama!!)
- Write the stories that mean the most to you. David Farland said he always writes the stories that he wants to. Then he edits them to make them more sellable. That’s why this track was called editing. It is all phase two. The first phase is where you write the story that interests you the most.
- Wonder in a story happens when something strange happens and then it turns out better than the reader expects.
- Wonder works best when it’s sprung on readers.
- Writing to a wide audience is the best way to ensure your book will sell.
- Don’t start a story by withholding information! Let the reader know the setting, character and conflict right away!
- In a story, have the inciting incident within the first eight pages, or even better, within the first three pages.
- Your character must try three times to solve the problem.
- In a story, negotiation never works to solve a problem so don’t bother including it in the story.
- The first try-fail cycle should end at about 25% into the story.
- After the first try-fail cycle in the story the character likely feels discouraged.
- In the story during the second try-fail cycle the character needs to gather people to help solve the problem.
- If your character solves the problem on the very first attempt your story will fail.
- I asked David Farland, “What if the character solves the problem but his action actually works to make the overall situation worse? He said, “That’s even more interesting than a try-fail. It’s a ‘try-succeed but…’”
- There needs to be an external conflict and an internal conflict in a story.
- The second try-fail cycle should conclude at about 50% of the book.
- During the third try-fail cycle the character needs to be working towards the climax of the book.
- Typically, your character looks as though they will fail to solve the problem. A successful climax in a story will have a reversal. Looks like character will fail but then they win.
- Don’t do a triple reversal during the climax of a story – that will end up just being silly. One reversal is enough.
- The person who writes the story that makes you cry the most wins.
- Resolve all conflicts and all themes at the end of the story. Wrap up ALL of the problems/conflict in the story for a powerful, emotional ending.
- Put a hook at the ending and beginning of each chapter – make sure there’s no good place to stop reading.
- If you ever have the word “then” in your story, throw it away. (The word, not the whole story.)
- If you ever have the word “finally” in your story, you know you’ve written something boring. Fix it!
- If your book is going to be made into a movie, ask to write the screenplay! -If you ever get a movie contract you should get advice from David Farland. He really knows what he’s talking about!! Listening to him speak made me feel like getting a movie deal is within the realm of possibility for me. SO exciting!
Realm Makers 2015 was the best Realm Makers so far! I already can’t wait for next year!