Wendy's favorite quotes

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."— Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Author David Wolverton/Farland

I was privileged to have dinner with David Wolverton/Farland http://www.davidfarland.net/  attend one of his workshops, and exchange email. He carried a special seat-back with him because his hip and back troubles him if he stands too long or sits in an uncomfortable chair. Far from dwelling on his discomfort, he joked about his family line at dinner and radiated a positive attitude. He holds the World Record for the longest book signing.

What struck me most about him was his extensive knowledge on all things bookish. He not only studied the how-to of writing, but also why people bother to read in the first place. Our everyday stress can be hard to deal with, but when we immerse ourselves in a good book, we’re suddenly running for our lives while battling a dragon to save all of mankind. If you doubt the impact of these stories on us, then stop and take your pulse the next time you’re reading the climax of a real nail-biter. To combat this stress, David says, “there are several chemicals that your body pumps out as rewards when you're reading—serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline, and cortisol.”

What’s more, once we close the book and get back to our daily lives, the stresses we have don’t seem like such a big deal. After all, I may have to battle weeds/traffic/carpools that day, but the human race won’t be snuffed out if I arrive a few minutes behind schedule. In short, books make us feel better and lessen the effect that our daily stress has on our bodies.

David considers it one of the “great tragedies of American writing history when they dismissed the form.” When people pick up a novel, they expect a certain experience. They hope to follow the hero as he/she battles against whatever obstacle stands in the way and—just when all hope seems lost—pulls off some amazing way to save the day/redeem the book. He jokes that writing a romance novel where the hero doesn’t get the girl at the end is a sure way to have a short writing career.

He dismisses the belief that “literary fiction” is superior to form writing, which many critics dismiss as “form fiction trash.” His goal is to “write form fiction, but to write it more beautiful than anyone else.” Bestselling novels and movies take us to another time and place. They provide escape. They also have a huge potential audience. “If we write only for ourselves, then we are the only audience for this novel.” It was no accident that James Cameron had storylines in Titanic that covered the seven major markets; he wanted to reach out to as many people as he could.

One of the most touching moments at the Whitney Awards Gala, was when Dan Wells (http://www.fearfulsymmetry.net/ a former student of David’s) asked for anyone whose life had been influenced by David’s teaching to stand. Almost every person in the room stood up. He was humble and gracious as he accepted the Lifetime Acheivement Award, and he teased that he hoped getting the lifetime award didn’t mean that he’d have to stop writing.

David said, “I'd like to emphasize that when a reader finishes a great novel, he will immediately begin looking for another. If someone loves your book, it increases the chance that he or she will look at mine. So there is no competition between writers. Another writer's success helps build a larger readership for all of us."

I think that statement sums up his generous character.

I need to say a special Thank You to David Wolverton/Farland for helping to shape this blog post via conversation and email. Here are links to some of his amazing books:

http://www.inthecompanyofangels.net/  - Won the 2009 Whitney Award for Best Novel of the Year

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2956822.Wyrmling_Horde_The_The_Seventh_Book_of_the_Runelords  - One of the latest in an awesome fantasy series.


Renee Miller said...

Wow, great post Wendy. I am a new fan of this David, simply because he sounds like an intelligent and lovely person. Going to check out his site now. Thanks so much for sharing.

David J. West said...

I can't think of anyone who has helped me understand the craft of writing better than Dave Farland-he is amazing.

Wendy Swore said...

David J West, I agree. I was most impressed with him. We are fortunate to benefit from his insight. thanks for stopping by!

Julie Wright said...

Dave is amazing. When he'd heard about my last book coming out, he sent me a private email to congratualte me--just out of the blue, as if I were important. And that action made my whole year. He is a great man, and has a great heart. I found your blog from a comment you made on Timothy's blog. You have the coolest last name ever! and I had to come tell you that!

Wendy Swore said...

Why thanks Julie! If you google my name, I'm the only Wendy Swore there is...until you get to the stories where lots of Wendy's "swore that..." whatever they swore. Hehe.

A lady at the conference said my name was a preposition, like John Bytheway. (though he is much cooler than me. I love his talks)

Thanks for finding me!

Lani Woodland said...

This was a fantastic post! I'm inspired all over again just by reading it! Thanks!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

David sounds quite exceptional. I love your quote at the beginning of your blog.

Reading does take us away from ourselves. Yet, in an odd manner, it also re-introduces us to facets of ourselves that perhaps we have lost in the daily grind of just making ends meet :

the childlike sense of wonder life has dulled.
thoughts on courage under pressure
reflections upon what it means to be

Yes, funny. How many have lost the sense of laughter at themselves or at the world in general.

Reading enriches us, and in turn, enriches the lives of those we meet after we read.

Your post has enriched me. Thanks, Roland

Wendy Swore said...

Roland, What a very kind thing to say. I enjoyed flitting about your blog as well. As for humor, somedays on the farm, we have to either laugh or cry...and laughing doesn't make your nose run.

Thanks for stopping by. :)

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog! I love that. I loved Dave Farland too. I get his daily kick in the pants and it has helped me numerous times. What an amazing man and inspiration.

To post pics with you post, just go above the place where you type the actual post and there is a little square there that when you put your mouse above it, it will say 'add photo' or something like that. Just click it and it will go to where you keep your picks on your computer or you can direct it there. Just click the photos you want to use and the upload. Easy Peasy. If you have any problems get back to me.

RaShelle said...

Hey Wendy.
I, too, like your last name. Thanks for checking out my blog, BTW.
I got to meet Mr. David Farland/Wolverton briefly at the conference. He seems like a very nice man. I'm getting his Daily Kick and I love it. Very insightful.

MT said...

Wendy, I don't think I can sufficiently say how impressed I was with David Wolverton/Farland. He makes me want to be a better person and a respectable writer - even more than I already did ;)

Wendy Swore said...

That's the thing, isn't it. It's not enough to be a good writer if you're a nasty person. He sets a good example of how to be both a decent, worthwhile person AND a really good writer.

Thanks for stopping by RaShelle and MT!

And Melissa, I'll be experimenting with pictures soon. THanks for the tip!