Welcome to another #RealmMakers2018 Faculty Spotlight. Daniel Schwabauer, creator of the One Year Adventure Novel program, has attended Realm Makers in the past, and we are excited to welcome him this year as the Teen Track workshop leader.
His bio from our website:
Daniel is an award-winning author and teacher. He is the creator of The One Year Adventure Novel, Cover Story, Amazing True Life Stories and The Legends of Tira-Nor.
His professional work includes stage plays, radio scripts, short stories, newspaper columns, comic books and scripting for the PBS animated series Auto-B-Good. His young adult novels, Runt the Brave and Runt the Hunted, have received numerous awards, including the 2005 Ben Franklin Award and the 2008 Eric Hoffer Award. He graduated with honors from Kansas University’s Masters program in Creative Writing in 1995.
Welcome to the Realm Makers blog. Tell us a little about you and how you got into the publishing world.
In college I spent eight years studying science fiction with James Gunn at the University of Kansas. But I quickly learned that writing speculative fiction wasn’t going to pay the bills, so I started taking any writing gig with a dollar sign in front of it. I wrote newspaper columns, radio programs, stage plays, comic books, short stories, and even did scripting for a PBS animated series called Auto-B-Good. I was the proverbial jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none because I kept getting opportunities for things I’d never done before.
The great thing about each of these jobs was that I learned something important about storytelling in the process. From comic books, I learned how to think in images. Radio showed me the importance of sound to the imagination. From opinion-based journalism, I learned to strive for precision, because people can misunderstand anything. The stage plays I saw/produced taught me the basic components of human drama and dialogue. From animated television, I learned to balance visual and audial storytelling, and also how to tailor stories for your viewers.
From all of these things together I learned patience. In 2004 my first published novel, Runt the Brave, won a handful of awards. But it was my eighth novel.
What makes you most passionate about writing/publishing?
I believe storytellers shape the world. Sometimes they do this with audiences in the millions, and sometimes it’s with an audience of one. Either way, the value of the work lies in the excellence of the work, not the number of people reached.
What is one very important piece of advice for writers these days?
It takes time to learn any discipline, but fiction writing is especially difficult to master. Most of us underestimate how long our apprenticeship will last, and over-estimate the impact of our words. This is not to say that writing should be a snobbish club for a select few. Rather, I would encourage writers to respect the craft of writing by not minimizing the process of artistic development. It usually takes years of practice—and hundreds of thousands of words—to learn to write with artistic excellence. That process is not some sort of cosmic punishment. It is a cosmic value system. Writing well takes time and energy and sacrifice because Story matters so much.
If you weren’t a writer or involved in the publishing world, what would you do?
As a kid I used to say that I wanted to be either a writer or a jet fighter pilot. The jet fighter pilot gig didn’t work out, but those are still the only two jobs I’ve ever really wanted.
What are you teaching at Realm Makers this year and why should attendees check it out?
I’m teaching the teen track, and I am absolutely jazzed about it. We’re going learn story principles that I didn’t even learn in graduate school. Practical, this-is-how-to-make-a-story-jump-up-and-dance stuff. We will also peel the surface off contemporary storytelling and learn to evaluate the good, the bad,and the ugly in movies and books. I don’t know whether non-teens are allowed to attend the teen track, but be forewarned: we are going to be rocking the story world. Oldies 20 and above with permanent disapproving scowls or pacemakers should avoid this session for their peace of mind. (Just kidding. Oldies are welcome too.)
What are YOU most looking forward to about Realm Makers?
The teen track! I love seeing the light bulb come on in young writers! (I’m also looking forward to meeting friends who challenge and inspire me.)
Indeed, this teen track is going to be amazing. Makes me wish I were still a teen. Well, maybe not quite. The conference is only a couple of months away. Is everyone ready?