Brandon Sanderson Writing Class 318R

Brandon Sanderson Writing Class 318R

One of the most prolific fantasy authors of our generation, Brandon Sanderson, has been kind enough to record and share one of this BYU courses on writing. 

Below you’ll find 12 one hour classes that cover things like Plot, Character, Outlining World Building and many other important topics to writers. This is a wonderful free writing resource that he has given us, so take advantage. 

Brandon Sanderson’s Class Overview

Brandon Sanderson outlines the agenda for his twelve class course:

  1. Overview
  2. Cook vs Chef
  3. The Illusionist Writer
  4. World Building
  5. The Box
  6. The Business of Writing
  7. Character
  8. Magic Systems
  9. Brandon Mull Guest Lecture—Mull’s Writing Advice and Process
  10. Plotting
  11. Dialogue and Agents
  12. Q&A

Cook vs. Chef

In the Cook vs Chef class Brandon Sanderson compares writing to preparing food. Do you want to be a cook that just blindly uses the ingredients of story without truly understanding why those ingredients work, do you want to be a chef that understands how to mix and match flavors and foods to create a wonderful dining experience? He goes over various elements of story, and why they are used they way they are. 

The Illusionist Writer

In this episode Brandon compares writing to a stage magician or an illusionist. He goes into various tricks and techniques to suspend the reader’s belief as you are building out elements of your story like the promises you are subtly making to the reader, a sense of story progress and more. 

World Building

Brandon goes into detail about world building. He and the class brainstorm various layers of the writer’s world. Physical vs Cultural, and many other useful elements that will make world building easier, and more thorough. 

The Box

The box is an analogy that Brandon uses for the lens through which you present the world, and your characters. This colors everything, and essentially determines how the reader will experience your story.

The Business of Writing

In this session, Brandon reviews the business of writing, including factors such as:  focus on writing then exploitation (separately),  self-publishing, hybrid and small press, traditional publishing,  best seller lists, book tours,  marketing, publicity, Brandon’s early book tours, and bidding wars. 


In this episode, Brandon discusses the pyramid of abstraction, the concept of show don’t tell, the grand skill, and his acronym PROMS (Past, Relationships, Obligations, Motivations, Sensibilities.)

Magic Systems

In this video, Brandon reviews the origin of Sanderson’s laws, Sanderson’s first law in detail, hard and soft magic systems, Sanderson’s second law in detail, Sanderson’s third law in detail, and Sanderson’s zeroth law.

Brandon Mull Guest Lecture

Brandon Mull, the other Brandon, introduces himself, then covers: characters,  gardeners and architects,  relationships,  trouble, decisions, consequences, YA / teen / middle grade, creative judgment, voice, the outline process, and making cool worlds


Brandon (Sanderson) returns! He reviews what Plot is, promises, surprises v promises, making the middle interesting, bracketing,  middles, satisfying endings, and author voice.

Dialogue and Agents

In this episode Brandon reviews: dialogue, Motive, Individuality, Conflict, Realism, Objective, agents, and agent advice. 

Q & A

Brandon reviews the course and takes questions from the class.

George Lucas on the Power of Myth and The Mythology of Star Wars

George Lucas on the Power of Myth and The Mythology of Star Wars

George Lucas on the Power of Myth and The Mythology of Star Wars

George Lucas consulted at length with Joseph Campbell, author of a Hero with a Thousand Faces, and well-regarded expert on various myth and cultures around the world as they relate to story telling. As Lucas and Campbell spent more time together, their relationship grew into one of friendship, and mentorship. Below are five  youtube videos which are segments of a documentary in which Lucas talks through Campbell’s influence on the Star Wars mythos, and the monomyth model he used to develop and tell his epic sci-fi story.

Discovery Writers vs Outliners

At one point, this notion was a revelation to me. When I first started writing, I didn’t know the difference between a discovery writer, and an outliner. That is because I just sat down and tried to write. Only later did I discover that by being aware of your approach and optimizing it for your own style would you increase your productivity. Below you will find the video from Brandon Sanderson’s lecture on discovery writers vs. outliners. He references George R. R. Martin’s version of this in his own terms, as gardeners and architects. Gardeners = Discovery Writers. They need to fumble their way around the writing because they either get joy from finding, or are afraid of not discovering the hidden connections, and nuances of what they are writing. They want to explore, and discover, and if they don’t, they will worry that they left the best stuff behind. Architects = Outliners. These folks want structure, and need it to move forward. To not have structure is paralyzing to them. They worry that they haven’t taken the time to think things through, and to connect the dots appropriately. If they move too quickly, without the schematic in place, they worry about the quality of their writing. I’ve discovered that I am some type of hybrid. Before I started writing The Magic Shop, I was a pure discovery writer. This got frustrating, and I got lost. After attending LTUE at BYU, and after having attended a few of the workshops that I have posted previously, I realized that I needed a little more structure. So, I outlined according to Dan Well’s story structure, but I left enough room for me to change where I was going. So, I had a rough outline at a super high level, and this gave me some structure – I knew where I was going, but I definitely felt like I could go wherever my characters and story took me. This worked out a lot better for me. Gardners vs. Architects


Story Structure Work Shop

Another fantastic workshop from LTUE (Life the Univerise and Everything) from a few years ago. This one in particular really helped me get unstuck with my writing. I had written over 300 pages on a middle grade novel I was working on, and I was plain stuck. A friend of mine at work recommended that I just start another novel, and so I did. I used this format and it really helped me keep a steady flow. Dan Wells leveraged a Star Trek RPG book for some of his ideas, but also uses other modern movies to illustrate his ideas.   Dan Well’s website Story Structure Power Point Presentation     Story Structure Part 1

  Story Structure Part 2

  Story Structure Part 3

  Story Structure Part 4

  Story Structure Part 5


How to Write a Story that Rocks from LTUE

How to Write a Story that Rocks from LTUE

How to Write a Story that Rocks

A few years ago I attended a fantastic workshop called How to Write a Story that Rocks at the Life the Universe and Everything (LTUE) writer’s symposium at Brigham Young University. I participated in what ended up being a wonderful writing workshop entitled, “How to Write a Story that Rocks.” Recently I found the videos for that workshop online and have included them below. This writing workshop was delivered by Larry Correia and John Brown. They included a great cheat sheet for a handout, which I am including a link for below.   Larry Correia’s Website John Brown’s Website     Here’s the link to the writing workshop’s handout:  How to Write a Story that Rocks HANDOUT. If you visit John Brown’s website, I think you’ll not only find that he’s a great writer, but you’ll find a very kind man willing to teach and to share some of the tools and resources he has. I really love that about him.   

How to Write a Story that Rocks Workshop

What follows is a series of twelve clips that make up the workshop. You can sit down and watch the whole thing, or you can take it bit by bit. Ultimately, this was one of the best workshops I’ve attended, rivaled only by Dan Well’s workshop on the 7 point plot structure (also witnessed at LTUE).

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

  Part 4

  Part 5

 Part 6

  Part 7

Part 8

 Part 9

  Part 10

  Part 11

Part 12


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