Posts Tagged ‘David Farland’

What have we (my dynamic team of editors, artists and publishing gurus) accomplished in the last year at Liquid Imaginaton Online? For starters, for November our website received 72,404 total internet hits. We began a marketing program to promote New York Times Bestselling author David Farland’s newsletter for writers. I, personally, graduated college with an associates degree in journalism to be applied to marketing, and I also obtained the National English Honor Society’s Sigma Kappa Delta. Besides that, the fruit of a novel-seed I planted a ways back will be published through Dopamalovi Books.

We also published a werewolf anthology in several different formats for your convenience. You can hear the wolf howling here:

Below are the stats of Liquid Imagination Online ( The stats can be found here: Within the pages of LI, you may glimpse something beautiful, you may get a whiff of magic. That’s because dreams are sealed within each webpage, like the dreams within your own heart. We, at LI, believe we can fly. We believe in the magic of stories and poetry and artwork. We embrace technology in all its forms. And while many other webzines, ezines, publications and print journals are folding, Liquid Imagination will be around for a long time.

This is the future! This is 2012! And we represent what you’re reading!

Never forget: we’re all in this together!


Monthly Statistics for November 2011
Total Hits 72404
Total Files 39976
Total Pages 14656
Total Visits 6285
Total KBytes 1148240
Total Unique Sites 4477
Total Unique URLs 1879
Total Unique Referrers 1169
Total Unique User Agents 1221
. Avg Max
Hits per Hour 107 2538
Hits per Day 2585 6571
Files per Day 1427 3525
Pages per Day 523 961
Sites per Day 159 485
Visits per Day 224 283
KBytes per Day 41009 109470

Here’s the winners of the David Farland Daily Kick in the Pants Writing Contest hosted by Liquid Imagination. I included the email from JAM, telling me about them, because it was well put together and had some valuable insights at the end.
Hi, Mr. Farland!!

For the winning stories just go to this link:

Directly above the announcement about the winners are the stories:

Eldritch by Walker (This is the 1st place story by Deborah Walker called “An Eldritch Restoration”).

The Short Straw by Wolf (This is the 2nd place story by Mark Wolf called “The Short Straw”).

The Minotaur by Mannone (This is the 3rd place story by John C. Mannone called “The Minotaur”).

The writers’ “essays” about how they used your Daily Kick newsletter follow each story. For your convenience I’m inserting them here.


1st place Deborah Walker’s An Eldritch Restoration

Essay: Layering (David Farland “Kick” 10 Jan 2011)

David Farland’s Daily Kick on the 10th January 2011 described a layering technique, inspired by his painting. A writer using this technique blocks out a scene, and then make several passes though the work focussing on different aspects of the craft. (This is also a good way of overcoming writer’s block.) I used this technique to ‘kick’ an older story, making several refining and editing passes: for the depth of penetration for my MC, for world-building, and for characterisation. I found layering to be a very useful technique and would recommend it to other writers.


2nd place Mark Wolf’s The Short Straw

Essay: Change (David Farland Kick of 5/31/2011)

This Kick made me consider how I might write a short story concerning change and do it in such a way as to be unique in plot and stretch my writing skills. I wanted to make my character face tough obstacles and overcome them.

I decided to start with a dragon and see what I could do in his life for change.

What does a dragon want? What will he do to get it? What obstacles (if any) can hinder a dragon in getting what he wants? Are they valid obstacles?


3rd place John C. Mannone’s The Minotaur


Initially, “Keeping the Suspense Alive” (1/10/2011) was key in the development of my suspenseful paranormal fiction short story, “The Minotaur.” But “Strategies for Killing Your Babies” (7/30/2010) was most influential since I had to be sure that killing my main characters was justified. I applied most of the eight points, but the fourth did the trick. I took MCs “through the dark tunnel and into the light;” gave them immortality. Also, I was able to justify my storytelling aspects with “Narrative Voice” (1/6/2011). I applied the Tolkien philosophy “to fracture the timeline” of the story, and the point of view.


You know, Mr. Farland, to be honest there are a lot of writers out there who are too sure of themselves. They act like they’ve got the answers, they act as if they know how to write. My response to them is this: “Are you a New York Times Bestselling author? If not, you might want to check out David Farland’s ‘Daily Kickts.’” What’s even funnier is that I’ve read some small-press books that could have used the advice from your “Daily Kicks.” Remember the one in which you wrote about location? You said having your characters go to McDonalds in a tiny town isn’t exciting. But I’ve not only read scenes like that from small-press editors, I’ve read stories set in huge metropolises in which such a lack of description left me wondering why it even occurred in the city (take Chicago or New York City, for example).

Anyway, thank you very much for allowing us to promote your newsletter! I like all the stories. The 3rd place story’s chase scene heightened suspense for me personally. The 2nd place story dealt with human emotion (and characterization) as a dragon learns what it means to be human, before learning what it really means to be dragon. And the 1st place story was just such a creative and awesome idea, with the heart of the climax is the main character giving up the illusion offered by her fairy suitor for the sake of grim reality and the children.

God bless!

John “JAM” Arthur Miller


I have a story in this week along with an author spotlight.


New Writing Contest, $1,000 Pot

My new novel is coming out and can be preordered now and to celebrate I’m hosting a writing contest. It’s not quite ready to start, but I thought I’d give you some advance notice. You can find out about it at

Liquid Imagination: Where Reality and Fantasy Blur.
by John “JAM” Arthur Miller

What awaits you in this issue? Well, in case you don’t know what this online magazine is all about, liquid imagination seethes within these web pages. As a “concept,” liquid imagination distills pure creativity. Here is just a small sampling of the liquid imagination our contributors have tapped into for your enjoyment.

For writers, we have New York Times Bestselling author David Farland’s “Daily Kick in the Pants,” and a contest centered around Farland’s highly-sought-after advice contained in his newsletter.

Pure creativity (liquid imagination) explodes through A.J. French’s Dreams and Nightmares, one of our more personable and original tales that introduces our speculative fiction section of this issue. A.J. Brown’s Flowers in Her Hair  shows a loving relationship set against a backdrop that consists of a (possible) horrific future. Cynthia Larson’s Lifeboat  hammers us with horror. In Paradiso, Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud depicts a man ascending toward chimera-laden dreams. Châteaureynaud and his translator Edward Gauvin are up for a SFF Translation award (read about it here:

Pushing out further into this current of liquid imagination, we delight as Carol Hornak brings us into an intense level of “astral terror” in The Doll.   “It’s a sad day when the freaks can’t even work at the Freak Show,” is just one of the lines from Ally Malinenko’s sad and often brutally realistic depiction of bewitched circus life in The One Ton Woman and the Amazonian Half Man.   New memories replace  older memories in Jonathan Park’s science-fiction story True Blue. Paul Malone’s The Emperor’s Nose  brought to my mind what would happen if you used Chariots of the Gods  as inspiration for a story.

These fabulous stories belong to the genres of horror, fantasy and science fiction, and they ALL  overflow with liquid imagination of the authors who wrote them. But there’s more!

We have literary fiction and awesome poetry. We have interviews and articles. Right Brain Coach Dare Kent’s article What Do Cameras Look Like in Heaven? will make you ask yourself questions to jumpstart your creative process, and the apt title will have you looking up.

In short, liquid imagination is a concept describing the creative process. Whatever art is needed, whatever stories are required to meet the guidelines of any publication, you can be sure that pure creativity will bend like a river and flow like a current. It is pure creativity forming answers even before questions are asked and stories are told; the creative process is liquid imagination  becoming what is needed even before there is a need.

Enjoy the liquid imagination of our contributors this issue!

Liquid Imagination Mission Statement

Our mission is to publish a wide variety of art, creating visually stimulating publications of the highest quality that combine many artistic avenues, including graphic and digital art as well as traditional illustrations and paintings; speculative and literary fiction, micro-fiction and poetry; music and audio works; digital poetry and digital flash fiction; and other artistic forms. The publication of these convergent arts will also support our mission of advancing the education about and research of autism. Our books, DVD, online magazines and other media combine two or more art forms to create new hybridized art, augmenting traditional art with new technologies. Serving the art community and the autism community, and promoting quality artists are keystones for our company.

Two more days to enter the “Daily Kick Contest” and receive
recognition from a New York Times Bestselling author. Prize money and Recognition! Go here to view contest

This list is HIGHLY recommended

Runelords by David Farland (reread this one that kicked off the NY Times Bestselling Series, and the land and magic system is just as strong as the powerful characters)

The First Five Pages by literary agent Noah Lukeman (Excellent advice to keep from the rejection pile)

The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West (West influenced Sam Shephard, one of America’s greatest playwrights, who I studied in Theater 110)

Dark Rivers of the Heart by Dean Koontz (a fascinating book with slight sci-fi connotations that are very believable and realistic)

One-Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (I read portions of this periodically, because it’s supposed to be surreal, and as this book won the Nobel Prize, I believe it shows what surreal fiction is like… and it is different than most surreal fiction written today)

First two books of the Witch & Wizard Series by James Patterson (W and The Gift) (These books are for young adults and they’re page-turners, thrillers, easy-reads to enjoy with your children or as “sophisticated” adults, lol!)

Water for Elephants by Sara Cruen (The ending brought tears of joy to my eyes)

Neverwhere by Neil Gaimon (UK authors seem to like quirky characters, and Gaimon tops them all in crafting a well-written story interwoven with bizarre “underground” personas)

Galilee by Clive Barker (It was a thrill to read a literary work of art by someone forced into the splatterpunk genre by his past works (Books of Blood); Barker proves he can write and tell a tale that spans the centuries with this one.)

Young World Rising by Bob Salkowitz (This book I have on my bookshelf right next to Malcom Gladwell’s “Outliers,” one of my favorite books. That should tell you of the importance of this book.)

I’ve read other books recently… I just can’t think offhand what they were.

What books have you read?

(for writers)

From the Daily Kick in the Pants Newsletter.

Be sure to be on the call in two-hours with Larry Corriea.
Larry is the author of MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL. He will be our next guest tonight, Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 9:00 PM, EDT. He’ll be talking to us about The mechanics of Writing Action and Pacing. For call in instructions, go to Farland’s Authors’ Advisory Conference Calls

Tonight’s call:

Gail Carriger, NYT Bestselling author of SOULLESS, et al, will be our next Authors’ Advisory guest on Wednesday, June 1, 2011, starting at 8:45 PM, EDT. She’ll be talking to us about The Business of Writing (including all the parts she wishes she’d known when she was new). for details and call-in instructions.


New York Times Bestselling Author David Farland

David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants – Don’t be “On the Nose.”

The topic for today’s kick comes from a question by Brandon Lindsay, and it’s going to take a moment to get to the point.

In screenwriting, one bit of advice that you’ll often hear is “Don’t be too ‘On the Nose.’” It means, don’t have characters giving speeches, telling you what’s going on inside them, playing down to the audience. Imagine that you have a character who is angry, and we get the following snatches of dialog:

Angela: “What are you so mad about?”

Derek: “You! Why did you have to wear that red dress? You look like a slut, and at my company party!”

Can you hear how hokey, how contrived, that dialog sounds?

There are a number of ways to avoid being ‘On the Nose.’ For example, maybe Derek doesn’t quite know what he’s angry about, or maybe he doesn’t dare say it. Or maybe he’s torn, because Angela looks so hot, and Derek noticed how his boss was eying her. Or maybe he’s even worried that the problem goes deeper. Maybe he’s not sure about Angela. Is she flirting? Does she really feel committed to him?

So you re-cast the dialog, you circle around the truth, skirt the deeper issues. You let the audience wonder what is going on, let the actors perhaps interpret the performance, insert their own nuances. You might reconsider the argument:

Angela: “What are you so . . . furious about?”

Derek: Pushes her away, turns and starts to walk. She follows. “Nothing.”

Angela: “This isn’t nothing. Tell me, please?”

Derek: “Really, I’m not mad.”

Angela: “Liar.”

Derek: Sighs. “It’s not you. It’s . . . did you see my boss, undressing you with his eyes?”

Angela: “He’s a drunken slob.”

Derek: “A rich drunken slob, and other women throw themselves at him.”

Angela: “I’d rather throw myself at you.” Derek hurries his pace, leaves her behind. “Grow up. You’re so immature.”

Derek: Whirls and yells at her: “You looked like a slut! And you acted the part . . . perfectly!”

Now, do you see what I’m doing here? Instead of having a character define himself, instead of having him come to the point, I let him circle the point. I let characters argue about who they are. Derek is defining Angela. She’s trying to define him. Others will be defining each of them separately during the course of the story. In other words, one central conflict in most stories is “Who are you?” It’s not just a question, it’s the center of an argument. A lot of different voices from various characters should come into play, sometimes with wildly different accusations. Who is Derek? Maybe his priest thinks that “He’s that gay guy.” His mother might think he’s too shy to ever “make a catch.” His father worries that he’s an over-educated loser. His girlfriend thinks that he might be ‘the one.’ The local cop might think he’s good for a murder, and the truth is, even Derek isn’t sure who or what he is. The story grows as he decides which roles to take and steps into them.

So, when you’re creating characters for a screenplay or book, you avoid being on the nose. You as the author know all of the secrets, all of the answers. You just don’t spill them too easily.

Over the weekend, I spent a little time working on the screenplay for “The Runelords.” I’d had several other screenwriters try to write that screenplay over the years, and in each case, fans of the books felt cheated after seeing what they’d done.

One fan of the series, J. Arthur Miller, wrote a nice note to me pointing out that he loved how “the world is a character.” I’d done that consciously when I wrote the book, having the world in pain, growing, changing. I got to thinking about that.

In each case with previous attempts at writing the screenplay, I think that the authors didn’t quite understand how to approach this. They tried to define the world, when the world itself is mysterious and unknowable.

In the books, we came to know the world through the actions and conflicts faced, very often, by minor characters. Each person makes up his own mind about the world, and how to approach it.

As we tried to take the novel into screenplay format, every one of the writers tried to disconnect the minor characters from the story, in an effort to cut down on cast and on the length of the movie. In doing so, we lost something—we lost the sense of what was going on in the world—the raw brutality, the devastation, the sense of impending doom, the desperation, the high price of compassion—and we lost sight of the sacrifices that people were willing to make in order to perpetuate their world, so save it.

In short, in the book we came to know the world through minor characters, and that then set up the conflicts for major characters, creating internal resonance in the piece. By understanding the world, I’d guided audience expectations for the major characters.

So the question became, how do I turn this complex tale into a screenplay? The answer was really quite simple: make the screenplay more like the book!

I think that, at last, I’ve got a screenplay that not only reflects the book, but actually improves upon it. The movie will be two and a half hours long, but that’s not bad for a major fantasy epic. Now all that I have to do is feed it to the dogs—er, I mean, a few loyal readers—and see how the audience feels about it. I’m sure that I’ll need to do some tweaking.


Sign up for David Farland’s newsletter for writers here! Look toward the right of the webpage, and get to writing! WOO-HOO!!

Do you want a New York Times Bestselling Author to Promote Your Writing?

How, you ask?

Simple. Simply enter and place in our “David Farland ‘KICK’ Contest!” (That means get 1st, 2nd or 3rd place.) The top 3 entries not only receive prize money, but after the contest David Farland will publish their success stories in their own words at his website. Their success stories will be published at his pro-website, and links will direct readers back to their stories at Liquid Imagination! WOO-HOO!!

Enter the David Farland ‘Kick’ Contest here where you can learn where to sign up for his “Daily Kick” (for writers)!!

Writing Advice

Below I mishmash wisdom from New York Times Bestselling author David Farland with a bit of Aristotle’s Six Elements of Drama (taught in theater, and it SHOULD be taught in writing classes, lol!)

The “writerly wisdom” below is what I’m going to use while writing my next story. I used the information for a werewolf story I recently wrote for a friendly competition among 8 writing friends. While my werewolf story isn’t great, these techniques have definitely helped my writing improve. You may not care what I’m doing concerning writing, and that’s fine. But then, this isn’t MY wisdom: it’s the wisdom of the Old and New (Ancient Aristotle and Fabulous Farland).

-I’m trying to let my character grow/evolve out of the world he lives in. If he’s a werewolf, what sort of world did he grow up in? That world changed him. Is he paranoid and suspicious because of a Big Brother Government trying to track him down? Or is he proud and boisterous, enjoying life at the “top of the food chain?” Is he remorseful for losing control and murdering people who seem like sheep to him? Or is he in control of his gift/curse?

-What bloodline goes into my werewolf character? Not just his gift/curse, but what are his dispositions? Does he come from a family of alcoholics or criminals? Does he live in the ghetto? Have the majority of his family members graduated from Yale University? The genetic dispositions and tendencies should flow into my character. He might be completely different from his father, but sometimes genetic dispositions/impulses/tendencies skip generations (or more). Is there a genetic talent of artistry? A gift for song? What makes him unique, what sets him apart?

-While my character grows out of his world and his bloodline, the conflict needs to grow out of my character. Why does he create the conflict? What is so important that conflict results from his actions?

What I wrote above is not original. It came from David Farland’s “Daily Kick in the Pants. I will combine that with Aristotle’s wisdom on plot (which comes from the 6 Elements of Drama by Aristotle). The amazing thing about Farland’s advice is that he simplifies it so even a caveman (like me) can understand it: 1) Your character should GROW OUT OF HIS WORLD; 2) the conflict should GROW OUT OF YOUR CHARACTER.

Got it?

If you’re like me, it might take a few minutes to restructure an old story you’ve written, to see how it might have been written better. Pick up an old story you’ve sold to an anthology, and think about your world for a moment. Did your character evolve from his world? No? Hmm. You might have been able to write your story better HAD you only signed up for Farland’s free newsletter for writers.

From Aristotle:

A) Inciting incident (tornado in Wizard of Oz)

B) Rising complications (Dorthy lands on witch, killing her. Another witch wants Dorthy dead now. 3 different friends, 3 different subplots.)

C) Climax: highest point of tension in a production (witch’s castle, Dorthy throws water on her and she melts).

D) Resolution: questions are answered, problems are solved (to some degree).

 Mark Your Calendar to Hear Kevin J. Anderson With over 100 books published, Kevin J. Anderson is well-known as a prolific writer. After talking with his fellow writers over the years, he has compiled a list of techniques to increase writing productivity. He’ll share these “Eleven Tips” on a special conference call, discuss his writing process, and also take questions on November 10th at 9:00 PM, Eastern Standard Time. Call 1-218-862-7200. When the system picks up, enter the code 245657. Instructions on how to use the phone system are at If there is still time at the end of the call, Kevin may also give us the inside scoop about the 2011 Superstars Writing Seminar. We present this to you from The call is free; all you pay for is your long distance charges. Writers Groups forum members are invited to join the call up to fifteen-minutes early for a discussion and the author might come on early as well. Please help us publicize this event by sharing it on your facebook and Twitter pages, as well as your blog and any forums you visit or writing groups to which you belong. Go the extra mile and post it at bookstores, libraries, etc. We appreciate any way you will help us spread the word. Thank you. P.S.–David Farland will be talking to us next on November 30th at the same time, phone number and conference code number. David will be talking about writing the basic parts of the story. — —– Administrators for David Farland’s Writers’ Groups