2013 Brandon Sanderson — Lecture 2: The Problem with New Writers (1/8)

all right um so how’re you guys doing did you get your hoo-hoo got at least 1000 words written last week that should be all of you okay does anyone get the two to three thousand that I suggested okay most of you good some of you didn’t that’s okay I hope your auditors ah I’m pretty serious about this doing it hard your first few few weeks is going to be very good for you getting a lot done getting momentum going because you’re going to hit all these things like midterms and all of that stuff and you know your roommates gonna get engaged and all this crazy stuff is gonna happen or you’re gonna get engaged that happens too sometimes hopeful only once per person but you know it happens life catches up with you and so keep up on your writing get ahead if you can you can theoretically do the bulk of the work for this class in your first month if you want to and then just basically be done I’ll then you have to do is route read people’s writing as they submit him to a writing group and polish off one 2000 word chunk at the end of the semester you could be basically done with this class in a few weeks if you really want it to be all right that doesn’t happen very often in classes so take advantage of it find yourself a seat on the floor or wherever it’s fine and there’s though there’s a chair over there you’re welcome to have that one so yes get ahead does anybody have any questions about the class or the coursework or anything like that no we all have it down that’s good all right let’s talk about writing stories as I said last week kind of view a story as I was talking about this big tall one yes okay plot setting and character and conflict is the glue that binds us all together that’s what your story is gonna be about these things for a really great story you are looking for places where the conflict where you can create conflict between these things either between characters or between the character and the setting or between you know the character and the plot these are things that just keep an eye out for all right we’re gonna talk a little bit about world building today the trick about talking about world building is I honestly feel this is the most important thing to telling most stories there is a subset in which this is the most important thing this is never the most important thing all right almost never maybe some conceptual stories and yet this is the thing that defines science fiction and fantasy as a genre right this is our this is our thing this is what we do the issue with this is you know we’re reading science fiction and fantasy because we like the setting but we’re finishing books because we like the characters in the plot and this kind of um sort of conflict if you will between this idea is that new writers what they tend to do is they tend to spend a lot of time on this to the detriment of this and this so the point that your stories your boring number one problem with new writers of science fiction fantasy is that they overload on this and then they have a dull story all right this is this is because again we read the genre because of this really good setting is important and ideally in a great book you’re gonna do all three of these things equally well alright I don’t want to downplay setting setting is awesome setting is all the things that make us read the science fiction elements the spaceships the space battles the magic the all of these wonderful things you know that drew us to this genre in the first place but you’ve got to be careful and we’re going talk about learning to be very careful and how we address our setting and how we get it across to people today because as I’ve said before the grand skill for a science fiction or fantasy writer is the ability to do this in an unobtrusive way awesome setting unobtrusively if you can learn to do that your story will be way more awesome than if you don’t do that and if you don’t do that it’s very obvious quite early on hi so we’ll let him get situated sorry you got kicked out are you in the class for real are you an auditor you’re for real okay auditor give up your seat for this person come on particularly if you’re an auditor who isn’t actually registered as an auditor in the class and just kind of sitting in here thank you you can go find a chair and bring it in I know there are some of you that that aren’t actually even officially in the class we prefer that you audit but I don’t want to take role every week so I’m not gonna find out so but if you are one of those people I would appreciate if you find yourself a seat and bring it in so that each week so that there are seats for the people who are taking the class and things like that we may eventually want to like have people sit by their writing groups so that that that table is assigned to them and they know where they can sit and things like that so my classes tend to get pretty crazy this will not be a problem starting next year that doesn’t really help for you starting next year we’re going to get an auditorium and things and whatnot but okay so that intent that that’s sort of a conflict right I mean you read this because of this stuff yet you’ve got to have great characters in plot on the x where plot is going to go in to overshadow there are some stories that we would call plot stories the whodunit is often the plot can be a little bit more important it really depends the balance between these two is gonna depend on your story the type of story a lot of epic fantasy tends to be more focused here a lot of ideas stories and science fiction tend to be more focused here but it doesn’t really matter I mean if you read go read Asimov you’ll see stories we’re kind of takes the the forefront but if you read most of the fantasy from the the 80s and 90s you’ll see the character-driven stories there anyway

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