Each year Sanderson likes to teach a creative writing class at his alma mater, Brigham Young University. Whether or not you like his particular brand of fantasy novels, Sanderson himself is an engaging and entertaining presence. Lecturing from practical experience, he powers on through a lot of material in each of the sessions. Lectures divide into plot, character, viewpoint and the very popular world-building lecture.
On the Record
There are recordings from a couple of different years, with Sanderson covering similar material. It is worth watching all of them for Sanderson’s shift in emphasis and coverage of the various topics. You also get different guest lecturers including:
- Mary Robinette Coval on short fiction,
- Brandon Mull on fantasy and the writing life
- Howard Taylor on comedy
Further sessions cover topics such as the business of being a writer; querying agents, submissions, marketing and promotion. There’s also sessions on Ideas and Brainstorming. This ranges across things like the habits of being a writer, learning your writing style (see if you are a ‘gardener’ or an ‘architect;’ the value of writing groups, giving and receiving criticism to make you a better writer.
These are practical courses which other upcoming writers have described as ‘life-changing.’ My honors degree in English taught me how to read, it didn’t teach me how to write; Sanderson’s course continues to keep giving and I go back to it from time to time.
The sessions for Sanderson’s free writing course online are between and hour and an hour and a half, with Sanderson racing through material and making time for extensive Q&A segments.
A worthwhile watch for any aspiring sci-fi and fantasy authors.