Help Someone in Need: A Book Bomb for Ben

Ben Wolverton, age 16, was in a serious long-boarding accident on Wednesday the 4th, 2013. He suffers from severe brain trauma, a cracked skull, broken pelvis and tail bone, burnt knees, bruised lungs, broken ear drum, road rash, and is currently in a coma. His family has no insurance.

We are having a book bomb on Wednesday, April 10th, on behalf of Ben Wolverton, who is the son of the New York Times bestselling author David Farland (

You can learn more about Ben’s condition, or simply donate to the Wolverton family here:

What is a Book Bomb?

For those that don’t know, a Book Bomb is an event where participants purchase a book on a specific day to support the author, or, in this case, a young person in serious need: Ben Wolverton.

[photo of Nightingale]

David Farland’s young adult fantasy thriller Nightingale has won seven awards, including the Grand Prize at the Hollywood Book Festival—beating out ALL books in ALL categories. It has been praised by authors such as James Dashner (The Maze Runner), Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn), and Paul Genesse (Iron Dragon series), and has received four and a half starts on Amazon. You can read reviews here:

(Book Synopsis)
Some people sing at night to drive back the darkness. Others sing to summon it. . . .

Bron Jones was abandoned at birth. Thrown into foster care, he was rejected by one family after another, until he met Olivia, a gifted and devoted high-school teacher who recognized him for what he really was—what her people call a “nightingale.”

But Bron isn’t ready to learn the truth. There are secrets that have been hidden from mankind for hundreds of thousands of years, secrets that should remain hidden. Some things are too dangerous to know. Bron’s secret may be the most dangerous of all.

Nightingale is available as a hardcover, ebook, audio book, and enhanced novel for the iPad.

You can purchase it on Amazon: 

Barnes and Noble: 

on the Nightingale website:

or, you can get the enhanced version, complete with illustrations, interviews, animations, and its own soundtrack through iTunes:

If you are a writer, you may want to consider purchasing David Farland’s Million Dollar Outlines instead. Both books are part of the book bomb. Million Dollar Outlines has been a bestseller on Amazon for over a month and is only $6.99.

(book description:)

As a bestselling author David Farland has taught dozens of writers who have gone on to staggering literary success, including such #1 New York Times Bestsellers as Brandon Mull (Fablehaven), Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time), James Dashner (The Maze Runner) and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight).

In Million Dollar Outlines, Dave teaches how to analyze an audience and outline a novel so that it can appeal to a wide readership, giving it the potential to become a bestseller. The secrets found in his unconventional approach will help you understand why so many of his authors go on to prominence.

Get it on Amazon:

Or on Barnes and Noble:
Read one of the 26 reviews here:

Would you like to just donate money? You can do that here:

If you can’t spare any money, but would still like to help, you can do so by telling others about Ben’s donation page, and/or this Book Bomb. Share it on facebook, twitter, pinterest, your blog—anywhere you can. We have an event page set up on facebook here:

Thank you!
Ben and his family greatly appreciate your support, and so do all who love and care about them.

David Farland on Outlining and Resonance

View David.jpg in slide show
David Farland is an award-winning, New York Times Bestselling Author with over 50 novels in print. He has won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Special Award for “Best Novel in the English Language” for his science fiction novel On My Way to Paradise, the Whitney Award for “Best Novel of the Year” for his historical novel In the Company of Angels, and the International Book Award for “Best Young Adult Novel of the Year” for his fantasy thriller Nightingale—among many  others.
Recently Dave released a book geared toward writing titled Million Dollar Outlines. In it he discusses how to write a novel or screenplay that has a wide readership, giving it the potential to become a bestseller.
Some of his past writing students that have gone on to success include #1 New York Times Bestsellers such as Brandon Mull (Fablehaven), Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time), James Dashner (The Maze Runner) and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight).
Along with providing writers with outline and audience analysis methods, Dave also offers 28 “plotting tools” in Million Dollar Outlines. A plotting tool is basically a technique that can make your story more exciting, interesting, satisfying, or complete.
Today, Dave is going to share one with us:
When we talk about writing, there are three kinds of crucibles—crucibles of setting, relationship, or condition. We’ll talk about those in a moment, but first we need to define, “What is a crucible?”
In metal-smithing, a crucible is a container used to hold metal or liquid as it boils. For example, to melt gold, one takes a heavy bowl made from steel and sets it in a fire. The steel, which can withstand higher temperatures than gold, doesn’t melt. But the small container quickly becomes super-heated, so that the gold liquefies in moments.
In fiction, a crucible is any setting, condition, or relationship that keeps characters (such as a protagonist and an antagonist) from splitting apart.
By forcing these characters to remain together, we may sometimes create an almost intolerable atmosphere. It allows us to super-charge the relationships, raise the heat.
For example, imagine that John and Mary have been married for years, but have grown apart. They decide that they don’t love each other anymore. The logical thing for them to do would be to divorce and split up, right?
But there’s no story in that! The characters could easily resolve the situation by leaving—so as a writer you need them to stay together.
So imagine that John and Mary have grown apart, but both love their six-month-old daughter. Neither is willing to end the relationship so long as they risk losing the child. Now you have a crucible, a binding force that keeps the two together.
But there are different kinds of crucibles. Maybe it is a child. But maybe you could do the same by putting them both in a car and having them get stuck in a snowstorm. The car is a different kind of container from the relationship, but both work to keep the couple together.
So here are the three different types of crucibles.
Crucibles of Setting
A setting may act as a crucible. You’ve all seen comedies where several people are stuck in a cabin in a snowstorm, and each of them is at the other’s throat. You will also quickly remember the movie “Snakes on a Plane,” even if you’ve never seen it. A crucible of setting might be a story set in your characters’ workplace, on a ship, or in a small town. The important point is to keep the characters together as much as possible, and to let personalities rub against one another until their tempers boil.
Crucibles of Relationship
You can never escape your family. You might try, but often the family relationship is a crucible. A child wanting to leave home is in a crucible in the same way that a father who must pay child-support is in a crucible. Any two people who are married are in a crucible, as are any two people who happen to just be in love.
I recall a fine western when I was young about two heroic cowboys who are both in love with the same woman. They are forced to band together to rescue her from a kidnapper. The men hate each other, and as the audience gets to know each man better, they both come to vie for our affections.
Soldiers in a squadron will find themselves in a crucible. For example, in The Lord of the Rings, those who had joined the Fellowship were thrust into a crucible—a small band of men forced to band together for their own protection.  It may be that your character finds himself fighting beside someone he detests—a murderer or a rapist—and yet he is unable to walk away from the conflict.
A crucible may also be your conflict with your culture. We’ve probably all known various folks—Catholics, Jews, Muslims, etc., who try to leave their religion behind but can never stop talking about it. But it doesn’t have to be your religious culture. My father ran away from the Blue Ridge Mountains to escape the hillbilly lifestyle. I had a girlfriend who left her fine home in Southern California because she despised her family’s wealth. In the movie My Big, Fat Greek Wedding, we have a girl whose main conflict comes about when she is embarrassed by her ethnic roots.
Crucibles of Condition
An intolerable condition may also be a crucible—such as an illness that two very different characters may join forces to beat. We see this type of crucible used every week as Doctor House tries to solve the latest medical mystery. But you can also set your characters up to fight an economic or political condition—the hunger in India, the tribalism of North Africa.
The condition might be something as mundane as crime in the streets. Policemen who despise one another are often found joining forces to fight drug lords, rapists, and other types of crime.
So as you form your story, consider how you might strengthen your conflicts by developing one or more crucibles.
To learn about the rest of Dave’s plotting tools, or how to write for a wide audience, you’ll have to check out his book:
Here are some of the reviews it’s received so far:
“Mr Farland didn’t write a book about outlines; at least not only outlines. This book shows you how to write a book, story, and screenplay from blank page to your first million. I can only imagine better instruction from Mr Farland in person, and plan to take one of his workshops based on the strength of this work alone.”
—Big Nate, Amazon
Actually, I have a book on novel outlining which has like 5 stars ratings. It is way boring. I just couldn’t get through it. So when I learned David had written a book on outlining, I knew he could do the topic justice…and make it interesting. . . . Since David wrote this, I KNEW he had something UNIQUE to teach, that is, his viewpoint, his experience and his SYSTEM. Plus, I knew his conversational, no fluff way of writing/teaching would drive me, compelling me to devour it. And it does.”
—C. Jack
Can you think of any more examples of crucibles? Can you see a way to strengthen your own story by adding a crucible? Leave a comment and let us know!

View resonancebook (1).jpg in slide showView milliondollaroutline cover.jpg in slide show

NaNoWriMo Day 4: Special Guest David Farland

It was a beautiful day off of work and so I had a lot of time to write. It feels good to get ahead!

I’ve got a special guest on my blog today: David Wolverton, also known by the pen name David Farland. He is a bestselling author of mostly Fantasy, Science Fiction and Historical Fiction, and is on the cutting edge of enhanced book technology.

His new enhanced ebook “Nightengale” is now out, and he’ll be speaking about it and about a topic dear to any NaNoWriMo participant’s heart: outlining.  I’ll post all of the rest of the usual NaNoWriMo stuff at the bottom. Thanks for being on my blog David!


A lot of people are afraid to outline.  It sounds “complex.”  But really it’s just a tool, a way to let youthink about your story before you begin composing it. 
If you look at stories that fail, the most common problem byfar is what we call “failure of imagination.” The author fails to create a fascinating, well-rounded protagonist.  Or maybe the inciting incident, the scenethat gets the story rolling, is blasé. Or maybe the climax for the action is great, but the climax for theromantic angle feels dead.  Or maybe theworld that you’ve created for your story feels “just like all of the otherworlds.”

The problem of course is that the author probably used ahaphazard method for generating a story. He or she might have thought about it from time to time over years, butnever really sat down and tried to consider it deeply in an organized way.

Well, there’s a way to avoid wasting time.  You can keep from writing a novel that feels“dead on arrival.”  The way to do it isto simply outline your story.  An outlineis really just a blue-print, a way of thinking about the story.  It lets me fill in the blanks before Ibegin.  What are my major conflicts?  I have to think about that.  How does my character try to resolvethem?  Do I have a villain?  Who is my protagonist’s best friend?  What inner demons does he or she have?  What happens in my climax?  Is there a big turning point at the end?  How does the story resolve? 

There are literally hundreds of questions that you might askyourself about your characters—including antagonists, protagonists, romanticinterests, the protagonists friends and teachers, the antagonist’s henchmen,and so on. 

There are basic questions about your settings that you’llcreate, and the conflicts that you’ll develop, and the themes of the story.

Here are the steps that I go through.
1)     First, I consider the question, “Who is myaudience?”  In Hollywood, working as agreen-lighter for films, I was taught to look at target audiences by age andsex.  If my audience is sixteen-year-oldgirls, then guess what, I now know something about my protagonist.  She’s a sixteen-year-old girl.
But I know even more than that.  I also know what my audience likes.  She’s going to be interested in wonder,romance, humor, mystery, horror and adventure. Those are the main draws for that audience.  So now I know a little about what thestoryline needs to do.
2)     I then have to consider, “Who is my cast?”  I want to think a bit about eachcharacter—their personal history and background, their interrelationships.
3)     All of the best-selling movies and books of alltime have one thing in common—they’re all set in another time and anotherplace, not in the here and now. Audiences like to be transported in a story.  So the question become, where is my storyset?  An alternate world?  A sexy location that the reader would like tovisit?  Or do I have to take a place thatthe reader has never even  imagined?

I look at how my protagonist might try to resolve the biggest problems that hefaces.  For example, he might have tosave the world from an alien invasion, rescue his girlfriend from the alien’sclutches, and at the same time, finally join the human race—all in the space ofthree hundred pages. 

So for each conflict, I consider ways thatwill be interesting, and surprising.  Imight ask myself, how will Chaz reveal to Karissa that he loves her?  Then I look at things that might be blockingthe progression of their relationship, and let the obstacles get in theway.  Or maybe Chaz  has to defeat the aliens, but the aliensfight back.  I might spend a good deal oftime thinking about how the alien hive leader is going to deal with Chaz,planning to crush him like a bug!
4)     I now look at the philosophical underpinnings ofmy story.  What great things is Chazgoing to have to learn in the process of this story?  Let’s say that Chaz is an outsider.  He looks at the bug-eyed monster aliens, andis shocked at how their hive-mind so efficiently handles a task.  Maybe he realizes for the first time how humans,with their conflicting goals and desires, seem to stagnate, incapable ofaccomplishing anything.  He realizes thathe needs to join the human race.  So Imight plot down how his thoughts and feelings on this issues evolve and changeduring the course of the story.
5)     I now take my characters, settings, conflicts,and insights and I begin plotting the novel. Quite simply, I look out how to develop the following phases: a) Howwill I introduce my character, setting and conflicts?  b) What happens during the inciting incidentsfor each major conflict?  c) How does mycharacter try to resolve the conflicts on the first try, the second?  d) How does my character finally resolve theconflicts?  Are there any big twists inthat process?  What does he have to learnbefore resolving the process? e) How do I bring the story back to rest?
For me, I often like to plot on a huge sheet of paper—twofeet by three feet.  But I also have usedthe “scene card” method, and I’ve even tried plotting software.  Once I have the basic plot, I then write alonger outline, filling the story out even more—to say twenty or thirty pages.
The goal at each step is to create a cohesive whole, toconsider all of the elements of the story in an organized fashion.  Unfortunately, there’s a lot to considerhere.
I do teach workshops onoutlining, called Million DollarOutlines. The goal of the course is to teach you how to outline a novel insuch a way that you know that thebook is worth a fortune, instead of writing your first novel to a small audience.  I’ll be setting up a new one this comingFebruary, so watch for it at
David Farland is a New York Times bestselling author who hastrained dozens of others, including such #1 bestsellers as Brandon Mull,Brandon Sanderson, and Stephenie Meyer. Dave has just released the first book in a new series, Nightingale. 
Nightingale tells the story of a young man, Bron Jones,who is abandoned at birth.  Raised in fostercare, he’s shuffled from home to home. At age 16, he’s kind of the ultimate loner, until he’s sent to a newfoster home and meets Olivia, a marvelous teacher, who recognizes that Bron issomething special, something that her people call a “Nightingale,” a creaturethat is not quite human. 
Suddenly epic forces combine to claimBron, and he must fight to keep from getting ripped away from the only home,family, and girlfriend that he has ever known. He must risk his life to learn the answers to the mysteries of hisbirth: “What am I?  Where did I comefrom?  Who am I?”
Interestingly, Dave is releasing thebook in several formats—as an enhanced novel with beautiful illustrations,animations, and a soundtrack; as an e-book, an audiobook, and as a hardcover. 
Check it out at, and while you’re there, find out how you canwin $1000 in his short story contest.

Leaderboard:  (You can also update your word count on my Facebook author page)

1. Robin 7,225 (as of November 3rd)
2. Writermike: 6476 (as of November 3rd)
3. Misha 3389 (as of November 2nd)

Word Count: 

6476 / 50000

Writing tip of the Day: Keep a “Next Draft To-Do List”. When you are blazing through a novel, especially during NaNoWriMo, you often have a great moment of inspiriation of something to include in your book beyond the original outline. First, when you get these moments, savor them and let it put a smile on your face. Second, you need to consider how the rest of your story might need to be changed if you include this new idea in your book.

For example, you may realize halfway through that you need to include another character who is close to your protagonist for him to bounce his thoughts and idea off of. However, it would be strange to have the character appear mid-book without introduction.  At this point, instead of going back right away, you can make the change and add introducing the character’s backstory to your “Next Draft To-Do List”.  If you don’t keep such a list, you may forget to plug holes in your story which can leave your readers confused, which is the ultimate in what an author wants to avoid.

Saturday November 4th: Mark this date on your calendar. I’ll be announcing the winner of the Spooktacular Blog Hop and I’ll be participating in a NaNoWriMo 4-hour writing contest, with a $50 Amazon gift card on the line, as well as other great prizes. You can participate too.  Details are here:

RafflecopterSettings = { raffleID: ‘ZGM1OTRjYmFhNjUwNGM1OWE3ZTQxMmE4NzQ5MTc3OjY=’};<a href=””>You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway</a>.