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Lecture #1: Introduction — Brandon Sanderson on Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy

Writing Advice#Brandon Sanderson#Creative Writing#Science Fiction#Fantasy#Fantasy Writing#Writing Science Fiction#Science Fiction and Fantasy#Science Fiction & Fantasy
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💫 Short Summary

The video features Brandon Sanderson discussing the Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy class, emphasizing the practical approach to writing. It also explores the importance of writing for personal fulfillment, perseverance in the face of challenges, and experimenting with different writing methods. The segment delves into the creative process, finding a balance between writing and personal life, and the significance of uninterrupted writing time. Additionally, it highlights the benefits of writing groups for collaboration and feedback. Overall, the video encourages aspiring writers to pursue their passion, focus on storytelling, and persist in their writing journey.

✨ Highlights
📊 Transcript
Brandon Sanderson discusses the history and value of the Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy class at BYU.
Orson Scott Card originally planned to teach the class in the '80s, with Sanderson taking over in 2004.
Sanderson credits the class as the most valuable he took at BYU, helping him refine his writing, understand plot structure, and navigate the publishing world.
The class takes a practical approach, focusing on plot, setting, character, and business aspects of writing.
Guest speakers like Mary Robinette Kowal are brought in to cover topics outside of Sanderson's expertise.
Importance of Writing for Personal Fulfillment
Writing is encouraged as a hobby for personal growth in communication and emotional connection.
All participants are welcomed regardless of experience or genre preference.
Information is provided to help individuals achieve their unique writing goals.
Speaker shares personal experiences of overcoming skepticism and doubt when pursuing a writing career.
Success stories from a writing class lead to professional writing careers.
Dedication and persistence are key to achieving success in writing.
Speaker shares personal journey of writing multiple novels before success.
Encouragement for aspiring writers to persevere despite setbacks.
Path to success in writing may not be straightforward, but passion is essential.
The speaker's reflections on their writing journey and commitment to storytelling.
Emphasis on personal fulfillment and growth through writing rather than chasing publication.
Encouragement for aspiring writers to persevere despite low success rates and challenges.
Stress on the value of practice, consistency, and self-improvement in writing.
Debunking the idea of predestined writers and highlighting individual agency in storytelling.
Two main approaches to writing: discovery writing and outline writing.
Discovery writers like George Martin and Stephen King start with an interesting premise and let the story evolve organically.
Architects prefer outlining the story structure in advance to focus on individual chapters.
Writing is individual, and there is no right or wrong way to write a book.
Writers often use a combination of both approaches depending on the project, and it's essential to experiment with different methods to find what works best.
Improving writing skills through practice and attention to detail.
Developing instincts in writing allows for focus on higher-level tactics.
Consistency is key to becoming a better writer, with daily goals and dedicated sessions as approaches.
Building good writing habits and finding time to write regularly are essential.
Dedication of four hours a week can lead to completing a novel in a year.
Importance of Consistency in Writing
Writing a book with a pace of two years is considered acceptable for consistency.
Binge writing may not always be effective, so it's important to find a writing schedule that works for you.
Engaging in menial labor like laying bricks can be beneficial for writers as it provides a conducive environment for writing.
Different jobs, such as being a teacher or computer programmer, can impact one's writing process differently.
Balancing Writing Passion with Personal Relationships.
Writers are encouraged to have real-life experiences to draw inspiration from and connect with others.
Writer friends may feel neglected as writing consumes more time.
The speaker shares personal experiences with his wife and writer friends, highlighting the importance of balancing writing and personal relationships.
A story about a dinner with fellow authors emphasizes the need to find a balance between writing passion and personal connections.
The importance of balancing writing with personal life.
Setting boundaries is crucial to prevent burnout and maintain relationships.
Personal experiences shared about getting lost in imagination and staying grounded in reality.
Clarifying the misconception that writers live in a fantasy world.
Advocating for finding a balance between creativity and real-life responsibilities.
Importance of uninterrupted time for writers.
Interruptions can significantly impact the writing process.
Friends and family should respect and protect the writer's designated writing time.
Writing success can impact relationships and stress levels.
Balancing writing commitments and personal relationships is crucial for a writer's productivity and well-being.
Overcoming despair and finishing writing projects.
Completing a novel is emphasized as a rare achievement, with focus on personal satisfaction and pride in one's work.
Exploring self-publishing and finding fulfillment in writing for niche audiences is encouraged.
Challenges of self-doubt and seeking community support are acknowledged for writers.
Personal anecdotes illustrate the importance of connections in getting published and networking within the writing community.
Importance of Writing Groups in Class
Writing groups in class require 15-person sessions and private chats for valuable collaboration and idea bouncing.
The instructor has been a part of a writing group for 20 years, highlighting the long-term benefits of such groups.
Benefits of writing groups include collaboration and idea bouncing among writers.
Caution is advised for potential downsides, such as newer writers trying to reshape stories to their preferences.
Benefits of writing groups for writers.
Writing groups offer support, feedback, and help writers set goals and deadlines for submitting work.
Members can learn each other's writing styles, provide constructive criticism, and improve feedback quality.
Workshop participants should focus on describing emotional responses to a story rather than giving prescriptive advice.
Valid responses like 'I was bored' or 'I'm confused' can offer valuable insights for writers to consider.
Participants are asked questions related to advertisements to gauge natural reactions during test audience sessions for sitcoms.
Writers aim to capture genuine responses without revealing the purpose upfront.
Workshop attendees are advised to listen to feedback without defending or explaining their work immediately.
Emphasis is placed on identifying what is working well in writing before moving on to areas that may need improvement.
The session format includes highlighting positive aspects first to maintain motivation and constructive criticism.