The First Thing You Must Learn to Write Killer Stories

This is the first “mystery.” It is the grand unifying theory that unlocks everything that follows.

The key to this mystery can be discovered in the answer to this question: which of the two pictures below most accurately defines lipstick?

Picture A

Lipstick in tube

Picture B

Lipstick on glamour gal

Learn more in the writer’s section (okay, so the page is there, but where in the fricken ricken frack can you find it? I’m still learning this dang WordPress thing, so just go here)

Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp

If you want to learn how to write stories that move and entertain, you will do whatever it takes–crawl across broken glass, mortgage your dog, eat brown bananas–to get into Card’s week-long, literary boot camp

This is the workshop that changed everything for me. And while Card will say it had nothing to do with him, he’s just trying to keep his head from bloating and making it so he can’t walk straight. I’ve spent almost the last 20 years in some form of teaching. Card’s workshop employs all the key principles that make it a killer environment for learning complex cognitive skills, i.e. writing fiction. And this  year it’s in San Diego.

Apply! Do not delay! 

The 3-Book Deal

On Feb 1, 2008 my wonderful agent, Caitlin Blasdell of Liza Dawson Associates, informed me that the details are all finalized and I can shout it to the world.

Tor books (an imprint of St. Martins) has given me a very nice deal (as categorized on Publisher’s Marketplace) for a 3-book, traditional epic fantasy series. Each book is to be from 120-140k words. David Hartwell will be my editor (so stoked about that!). The three were sold based on my completed novel, SERVANT OF A DARK GOD, and the synopsis of the following two, CURSE OF A DARK GOD, and DARK GOD’S GLORY. The first should be out in the summer of 2009.

Life, the Universe, & Everything

For those interested I will be at the LTUE symposium at BYU all day Thursday, Feb 14th. I’ll be on the history and folklore panel at 10 AM, attending the Card workshops from 2 PM-4PM, and holding my own workshop–THE 3 THINGS YOU MUST LEARN TO WRITE KILLER STORIES–from 5PM-7PM.

It’s Valentines, so bring your object of affection. (Yes, mannequins are allowed.)

But what was I doing scheduling this on the love day to begin with? See, this is the one weakness of the male beast–he only remembers significant dates AFTER he commits himself foolishly.

Zing Generators

Where do you get your ideas? How do you turn them into story?

Those are fabulous questions. The answer is a bit longer than I have time for today. But I have posted my list of idea generation methods, structured ways of performing creative Q&A.

These have been collected over the years from a number of sources and are now passed on to you, faithful reader. Use them, cherish them, and, if you wish, start an order of crazed monks to preserve the fabulous secrets.

John Browns’s Idea Generation Method List

Enjoy!