Brandon Sanderson’s Writing Lectures

“Brandon Sanderson (born December 19, 1975) is an American writer. He is best known for his Mistborn series and his work in finishing Robert Jordan‘s epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time. In 2010, Sanderson published The Way of Kings, the first book in a ten book series called The Stormlight Archive. Sanderson worked as an editor for the semi-professional magazine Leading Edge while attending school at Brigham Young University, where he now periodically teaches creative writing. In 2008 Sanderson started a podcast with authors Dan Wells and Howard Tayler called Writing Excuses, involving topics about creating and producing genre writing and webcomics.”

Source: Wikipedia

Here are the links to the amazing writing lectures by fantasy author Brandon Sanderson. You can find it here on youtube, on the channel Write About Dragons. Either way, I’m posting the lessons below so you can find them and reference to them easily.

LECTURE ONE

Lesson One – Intro to Sci-Fi/Fantasy Writing

Lesson Two – Ideas are Cheap

Lesson Three – Class Goals and Format

Lesson Four – Gardeners vs. Architects

Lesson Five – Writing Group Essentials

LECTURE TWO

Lesson 1 – What Makes a Good Plot

Lesson 2 – Plots by Outlining

Lesson 3 – Plots by Discovery

Lesson 4 – YA Genres

Lesson 5 – Adult Genres

LECTURE THREE

Lesson 1 – Intro to Prose

Lesson 2 – First Person Viewpoints

Lesson 3 – Third Person Viewpoints

Lesson 4 – Description I

Lesson 5 – Description II

LECTURE FOUR

Lesson 1 – Sympathetic Characters I

Lesson 2 – Sympathetic Characters II

Lesson 3 – Show us the Character

Lesson 4 – Giving a Character a Life Beyond the Plot

Lesson 5 – Character Creation Examples I

Lesson 6 – Character Creation Examples II

LECTURE FIVE – Guest Lecture by Eric James Stone

LECTURE SIX

Lesson 1 – Networking Via Convention

Lesson 2 – Some alternative to cons

Lesson 3 – Meeting Editors and Agents

Lesson 4 – Three Goals of Meeting Agents

Lesson 5 – Pitches

Lesson 6 – Some Questions and Statistics

All rights reserved to Brandon Sanderson and the youtube channel in which these videos are posted. Below are the covers of the Final Empire Triology by Brandon Sanderson.

~Happy Writing!

Supplies for Productive Fantasy Writing

Writing isn’t just about typing on a computer or scribbling some sentences on a notebook – it’s a wholesome process, a consuming project, a work of art that needs supplies and careful preparation to achieve its perfection. There are slow writers and there are fast writers – but the one thing that makes a good writer is constant production. I am talking about sticking to a plan and a schedule and having a work station that provides maximum inspiration and efficiency.

  1. Buy a cork board or whiteboard. Having one of these near your writing desk is crucial for productive writing. I keep my writing plan (more about this on a later post) on the top of my board and I fill the rest with important information that regards the book I am working on – a printed world map; a bunch of artwork that portrays my characters and landscapes; quotes and dialogue excerpts; my writing goal for the week, etc.
  2. Carry a good notebook around. I keep a Moleskine with me all the time and whenever I come up with an idea I will quickly write it and pin it to my board later. It’s important to safeguard the random ideas and thoughts regarding your book – these are what I call immediate thinking – these ideas are very different from the ones that you are forcing out whenever you’re brainstorming; they will always be much more creative and intelligent.
  3. Keep a dictionary nearby. If you prefer the old-school 1500 page tome, be my guest. However, in my opinion, google translate works as a charm nowadays and I always keep it open on my desktop whenever I’m typing. It’s fast, mostly accurate and efficient. What more could I want?
  4. Have a printer at hand. If you don’t have a printer at home, simply create a folder in your computer to store all documents that need later printing. However, if you do have a printer at home, make sure it’s close to your writing desk. Fantasy writing, as mentioned in previous blog posts, requires a lot of worldbuilding and the better way to quickly access your work and write some notes and modifications is to actually print them and study them.
  5. This is also a good time to invest in a good binder and some plastic dividers.

I normally use my dividers to separate writing and worldbuilding topics concerning the story I am working on. There are five primary subjects, but you can add as many as you wish.

a)The first divider usually has the basic information on my story – timelines, maps, appendixes and terminology.

b)I use the second divider to gather all information concerning the world my characters live in – this is actually basic information, like climate, language, customs, religious practices, holidays, etc.

c)The third divider is all about History – for each one of my novels (and when I mean novel, I automatically point towards the concept of the world the novel surrounds) I have a rigorous historical background that normally involves the creation of the world I describe and goes through the evolution of mankind and other magical races until we reach the timeline of the story line. This should be as detailed as possible – it’s pure, concise worldbuilding. Even if you don’t show all of it (and you should never, ever, show more than 30% of this historical background throughout your book), it will feed your imagination and offer you a sense of cohesion.

d)My fourth divider is about the story line itself. I try to detail it in the best way possible and I make shorter and lengthier versions, depending on the quantity of detail I would need. I make a single page plan with a rough plot line and then I start developing chapters, adding as much detail as possible.

e)The fifth divider is all about characters –back stories, physical descriptions, portraits, interviews, psychological traits, you name it. It will all be needed whenever you need to give a certain character more or less depth.

6. If you think music inspires you, plug your headphones in your laptop or buy some mini-columns and create a playlist with songs that can act as soundtrack for your story. Basic examples for fantasy writing are the soundtracks of Lord of the Rings, God of War, Final Fantasy saga, the Gladiator movie or the Avatar movie.

~Happy Writing!

TED ED Lessons for Fantasy Writers

Here’s a list of what I think are the top TED ED videos out there for fantasy writers.

How to build a fiction world by Kate Messner

What Makes a Hero by Matthew Wrinkler

Slowing Down Time by Aaron Sitze

Three Anti-Social Skills to Improve your Writing by Nadia Kalman

Capturing Authentic Narratives by Michele Weldon

The Power of Simple Words by Terin Izil

An Antihero Of One’s Own by Tim Adams

Fantasy Languages by John McWhorter

The Case Against “Good” and “Bad” by Marlee Neel

Happy Writing!

9 Helpful Websites for Fantasy Writers

After years of searching around the internet, I’ve come up with many websites and articles that provide useful information about fantasy writing. I’ve also stumbled upon a lot of name generators that work as a good groundwork for further development and creation of your characters names.

  1. 7 Deadly Sins of Worldbuilding by Charlie Jane Anders;
  2. The Language Creation Kit by Mark Rosenfelder
  3. The Fantasy Novelist’s Exam by David J. Parker
  4. Maps Workshop by Holly Lisle
  5. How to Find a Fantasy Publisher by Greg Hamerton
  6. The Ultimate Mary Sue Test.
  7. Random Name Generator: this generator lets you choose from a lot of country based names to create your own originals. You can choose the number of names given, the gender of the character and a surname.
  8. Walk Time Calculator: this calculator is a good tool for anyone who is writing a novel that features a lot of travelling. It makes life much easier while trying to figure out how much time your hero needs to walk through all those miles of forest.
  9. Fantasy Name Generator