Hey Writers,

Have you ever wondered how to write bad dialog?

If so, we have just the tips for you.

With David Farland's wise, timeless advice, you'll be able to make the dialog in any story terrible.

If, on the other hand, you want to actually write great dialog, his advice can be useful in letting you know what not to do.

Just follow the link to learn how to write the best bad dialog out there!

"How to Write Bad Dialog" by David Farland




NEW from! The Triarchy Method of Story: A New Writing Course by September C. Fawkes.

Craft your best book by focusing on what matters most: The “bones” of story.
This content-focused course will help you:

  • Brainstorm better and more relevant material
  • Evaluate what ideas most belong in your story (preventing you from writing hundreds of pages that need to be scrapped), and
  • Craft a page-turning plot with compelling characters that sticks with readers long after they’ve closed the book (. . . and hopefully leads them to preorder your next book).
  • And more

If you’ve found yourself writing and rewriting the same scenes, acts, or arcs, only to make them marginally better; or have struggled creating complex characters who are engaged in meaningful plots; or if you’ve been experiencing writer’s block over what you need to write next and how… The Triarchy Method will show you how to write a stronger, solid story by focusing on the “bones” of the story.


Character is represented by the rib cage—it houses the heart of story. It’s how the audience gains emotional experience from the narrative, through (to some degree) empathy.


Plot is represented by the backbone—it holds the story upright and together. It’s the curvature that makes up the narrative arc, the spine that runs from beginning to end.


Theme is represented by the skull—it hosts the intellect of story. It’s how the audience gleans meaning that sticks with them long after the narrative is over. It’s why the story matters.

This live, online class is limited to 10 students and will focus on the core principles of each of the “bones” and how to structure them. Classes start March 7 and run Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 pm Mountain Time (8:30pm EST) for a total of 23 classes. Classes ends on May 25.

For more information, visit

About the Instructor

September C. Fawkes has worked in the fiction-writing industry for over ten years and has been editing stories for longer. She has edited for both award-winning and best-selling authors, as well as new writers. She has worked on manuscripts written for middle grade, young adult, and adult readers, and specializes in fantasy and science fiction.

For seven years, she worked through New York Times best-selling author David Farland, providing feedback on his workshop students’ assignments, editing their manuscripts, and sometimes, even editing David’s own books.

When not working, she is running an award-winning writing tip blog. She has also served as a writing coach on Writers Helping Writers and teaches at writing conferences. Some may say she needs to get a social life. It’d be easier if her fictional one wasn’t so interesting.

More information & Resources about Querying with Patrick Hopkins and Morgan Hazelwood

These writers have helped other writers get page requests and agent-representation.

From Patrick Hopkins: "I’m sorry I’ve had to close to queries for the most part. You can still find me in my feedback group, and I livestream submission package editing as a charity fundraiser every other Monday from 9:30 p.m. to midnight with Morgan Hazelwood. Links to those streams are on her YouTube channel. Otherwise, I wish you every possible success with my resources and these hireable query editors. Good luck <3" (See below)

Query editors:

Bre Stephens

C.J. Listro

Casie Bazay

Juli Koen Alonso


Mickey Gould

Monica White

Nicole Evans (Thoughts Stained With Ink)




My most important resource (you MUST use this BEFORE you work with me):

Checklist for before you ask me for query help.

My second-most important resource (you MUST use this BEFORE you work with me):

Why verbs.


Why my do-not-query list is private.

Twitter pitching help:

Successful Pitches spreadsheet. How to win #PitMad without getting an agent like. Robert Mosley’s #pitmadstats summary. Pitch calendar. How to turn a paragraph into a pitch.

Background on me:

Amy interviews me and I try (fail) not to brag or ramble.


Agents who reply quickly. Manuscript Wish List. Reedsy’s filterable agent list. QueryTracker. My incomplete agent spreadsheet project.


NoveList, BookBrowse, Literature-Map, Edelweiss.

Conference pitches:

Jane Friedman’s advice.

Nonfiction queries:

Jane Friedman’s advice. Review of Susan Rabiner’s book, which (the book, not the review) Janet Reid (Query Shark) recommends reading first. My 12-page nonfiction query compendium.


Questions agents ask during pitch sessions.


rename to chapter 1 or delete and work into the rest of your book.

Short story collections:

How to query them.


Mental preparation:

Why querying is hard (and how to make it easier). How to prepare for the emotions of querying. Query help: How to control your queries.

“How should my query look?”

My 332-page query compendium. Those queries sorted by genre and age range. Dr. Carissa Taylor’s Successful Queries database. When an agent tells you exactly how to query them … .

Finer points:

On passive verbs in queries. Query length etc. data. How to solve three advanced query problems. Query help: When early details disappear. Query help: How to fix first chapter bias. How to find typos. Why, nouns? On process language. How to use/fix decentering and metonymy.

“Aaaaaaah! Everything is broken and/or on fire!”

When to seek help with your query. Mistakes and the queries they didn’t doom.

Comparison titles:

Proof that you don’t always need to comp recent/noniconic/books.

Form rejections compilation project:

Query help: feedback or form? (and the database)

How to say you’re seeking new representation because you’re no longer with your agent.
How to say an editor at a press/publisher or credible other has expressed interest in your work.
How to reference Twitter interaction/a pitch like.
How to say you were selected for a mentorship program (Author Mentor Match, Pitch Wars, Sewanee, etc.).
How to say you have or are pursuing an MFA.
When it’s okay to write a LONG bio.
Yes, mentioning MSWL (which you CAN control) is almost as effective as getting a Twitter pitch like (which you CAN’T control).
Yes, you can query only one agent and get an offer. (But you shouldn’t. Batches of 5-10.)
Yes, you can query more than one book in a query. (But you shouldn’t.)
Yes, you can swear in a query (but be careful).
Yes, you can mention your social media followings (but it’s uncommon).
Yes, you can write in first person (but it's a bad idea).



How to get your synopsis to fit a page.
Another synopsis guide.
Janet Reid (Query Shark) on synopses.
Jane Friedman’s advice.
Alexa Donne (video) advice.
Synopsis services you might need.
A literary synopsis.
Links to more synopses.
A “literary or mainstream” synopsis.
Shannon Snow on how to write a synopsis.
Cutting a synopsis from short to shorter.

UK-specific tips for fiction submission packages:

UK query resources. (I’m not the best option for editing your UK query.)
The Literary Consultancy on synopses.
Curtis Brown on synopses.


How to avoid overwriting.


Another Search Tool to Make Things Easier

Apex has been busy creating new “At a Glance” for meetings: Who is presenting and what the topics are, along with searchable Indexes for the vast library of replays from our Strategy and Mastermind zooms. And next up is a Searchable doc for all the Courses and Lectures taught predominantly by our late Master Storyteller, David Farland. This is a great opportunity to learn from the best. And how many courses and lectures are there? Over 30!

These tools include “At a Glance” for both Strategy Meetings and for Mastermind, and we have a searchable index for the replays.

The Course and Lecture Searchable


Strategy at a Glance

MasterMind at a Glance

Searchable Index for Strategy

Searchable Index for Mastermind

📌 Shout-out to some of our Apexers for this week!

  • Day Leitao for her first Kickstarter, and extra kudos as her Kingdom of Curses and Shadows Collector Edition Omnibus was picked as a #ProjectWeLove by Kickstarter! If you want to check it out, click Day's Kickstarter


Copyright © 2023 David Farland: Story Doctor, All rights reserved.

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