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Thread: Brian Sanderson's Writing Lecture (with Tandem Implications)

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    Famed Adventurer Kriemedean's Avatar
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    Post Brian Sanderson's Writing Lecture (with Tandem Implications)

    FOREWORD: These are notes from Brandon Sanderson's Lectures on writing as a single author, but also contain helpful information for tandem stories. The focus of this will be on completing a story and the source itself is looking only at regular writing rather than roleplay. However, I think Mr. Sanderson's lessons can be applied to tandem writing as well.

    START DATE: February 13, 2016 (for at least 3 people, but more can join)
    FIRST CRITIQUE DATE: February 20, 2016

    CURRENTLY KNOWN PARTICIPANTS (at least from what I know)

    (2012) Brandon Sanderson Lecture
    2013 Brandon Sanderson
    (2014) Brandon Sanderson's 321 Class
    For more on roleplaying etiquette, please check out these wonderful posts:

    1st RULE: Ignore when something is not working for you. Do what will make you an effective and productive writer. The trick to find when something applies to your writing and how.

    1 What Writing is and is not About
    1.1 Writing is not about Ideas: It's about Skill
    1.2 Writing is not about Inspiration: It's about Study & Practice—EXPERIENCE is more important than studying. Nothing teaches you how to create an ending than finishing.
    1.3 Getting Published is not about Luck: It's about Desire & Diligence
    1.4 As a Tandem Author, you can incorporate these same factors into your writing, perhaps moreso.

    2 Your Skill Can be Judged In 1 Page, like listening to music, so learn your strengths & weaknesses.
    2.1 If tandem writing, then your skills can either by synergized by others or brought down.

    3 Develop Your Skill: Study & Practice: Write everyday! Teach and learn this good habit.
    3.1 Read what you plan to practice. You probably already did this.
    3.2 Practice what you plan to write & focus on WORDCOUNTS: Micro-Fiction: up to 100; Flash Fiction: 100 – 1,000; Short Story: 1,000 – 7,500 words; Novellette: 7,500 – 20,000; Novella: 20,000 – 50,000; Novel: 50,000 – 110,000; Epics & Sequels: Over 110,000
    3.3 However, being able to write a variety of prose lengths and even poetry will can help with writing a larger story. One way is by learning so as to display the skills of your persons in the story. Obviously, how can you write a witty response, if you cannot recognize one? Another way is using each to build your story outline, expanding words, sentences and paragraphs, further and further, which is not uncommon to find between novellas and novels. Perhaps a micro-fiction to see your idea on paper, a flash fiction as your outline, a short story for a proposal, a novellette as your first draft and so on, depending on your end goal.
    3.4 Find Your Level: Childrens (including Middle Grade, 9-12yrs like Harry Potter's start) or Adults
    3.5 Roleplayers, in my opinion, are more known for what they will not do, than what they will do. Thanks to the world-wide web, diversity is abundant and that's good, but everyone has their own favorite genres, levels and lengths. Each should set boundaries ("I don't want this & you don't want that") and unanimously agree on allowances ("We both want this").

    4 Writing is not Mystical, where Muse Strikes You, then Something Pops out of your Head like Athena, BOOK!
    4.1 Sometimes you can be on fire, but every writer goes through drudgery.
    4.2 Readers cannot tell between fire and drudgery, because of the drafting process.
    4.3 As Roleplayers, you may fail to revise your work, if you finish it at all, but it would be good practice and advertisement if all participants created sublocations beneath the original RP thread to display their personal pace. Who knows? You might think it's good enough to be a book.

    5 General Goal 1: about 430 words a day = 3000 a week = 12,870 a month = 51,480 words in 4 months
    5.1 To do this: Turn Off Internal Editor, and Work Hard Early
    5.2 Specific Goals FOR YOURSELF (PLEASE KEEP IN MIND only the novel is unadjustable & all amounts are the minimum suggested): Novel Writers (1 Novel—due in 4 months); Novella Writers (2 Novellas—1 due every 2 months); Novellette Writers (4 Novellettes—1 due each month); Short Story Writers (8 Short Stories—1 due every 2 weeks); Flash Fiction Writers (40 Flash Fictions—2 due each week); and Micro-Fiction Writers (400 Micro-Fictions—23 due each week)
    5.3 Tandem stories are most often epic and more often—should they fail at that—they don't conclude at all. Discuss this with your partner(s) beforehand, so that both of you can see a finish line, at least until you decide to make a sequel.

    6 Goal 2: Write every week and turn in 1,000-2,000 Words to Writing Group
    6.1 You will likely write more than what they will be able to read.
    6.2 For the first Week: Submit an outline (plot, character or scene), or something that you have already written, but afterwards it must be something new.
    6.3 The first week is always the easiest for roleplayers, but as time goes on this can become tiresome between writers or deviate into multiple, simultaneous storylines for a single story. Fight writer's block and remain consistent in the structure of the plot so as not to confuse any reader. Flashbacks, cutaways and flashforwards are all perfectly acceptable methods. If you must have more than one storyline, then keep the number as low as possible and decide ahead of time where this section of writing would insert itself in the overall sequence of the “book”.

    7 Goal 3: Get an Expert to Critique 2,000 Words, Preferably 1st Chapter
    7.1 As far as I know, the only professional roleplayers are those who write scripts for shows and movies. However, the best football players don't always make it to the professionals, and the same is true for writers, until someone finds their hidden manuscripts sometimes. :P

    8 There is no 1 Method: Discovery/Gardening/Drafter Writing VS Architect/Planning/Outliner Writing
    8.1 Combining is not uncommon. One way to combine is to outline the beginning point, ending point and key middle points, and then discover from one point to the next. Another way might be to write about the characters until plots comes and planning ahead in notes, while still writing with the character. If outlines are difficult, then writing backwards with each chapter can assist.
    8.2 As roleplayers, you may be even more limited or even combative with each other's styles. If you want to finish a roleplay, then try discussing these differences and aim to complement your styles.

    9 Discoverers/Gardeners/Drafters find things interesting—characters, ideas, scene, et cetera—and see where it goes, and work best without structure, because...
    9.1 Plot outlines feel like they have already wrote it.
    9.2 Plot outlines makes them feel characters are without life, so they prefer character outlines.
    9.3 They do not rely on Muses, but they still work until something clicks.
    9.4 They tend to have memorable, strong characters and killer starts.
    9.5 Jarjar Martin and Stephen King are primarily discovery writers.
    9.6 It is likely that most roleplayers are discoverers.

    10 Planners/Architects/Outliners create a very detailed outline and work best with structure, because…
    10.1 If they sit to write a book and there is blank paper, they can't start.
    10.2 Work best with known goals, breaking it into steps and building a book.
    10.3 Plot outlines aren't A, A1, A2, B… but a sequence of events as a guide or map.
    10.4 They tend to have explosive plots, zinger endings and finish quicker.
    10.5 Orson Scott Card, J. K. Rowling and Kevin J. Anderson (uses dictation) are primarily planners.
    10.6 If there are any roleplaying outliners out there, then it would be interesting to see your process.

    11 Fails and Follies of Both
    11.1 Discovery writers: revise and never finish, don't know where they are going, their plots can fail to excite, they are slow to finish, and they suffer from Gee-Would-Not-It-Be-Cool schizophrenia.
    11.2 Outlining writers: world-builders disease (settings), rip through a first draft and fail to revise, characters can have line-item veto outlines causing complete revision or ruin, or they end up with wooden characters.

    12 Writing Critique Group Essentials
    12.1 Smaller is Better: 3-6 People Each (These groups can be changed weekly)
    12.2 Have Insightful & Good Writers, & People Interested in Helping & Being Helped
    12.3 Submit on Time; Deadlines are good for some writers: Friday Post; Saturday Read
    12.4 For roleplayers, while you do not have to do this, consider writing with everyone in your group. Try to make sure that your entry is fluid by simple editing, so that it is not so obvious that there is more than one writer. Don't leave your partner(s) hanging & try to choose a partner who can at least reach the goal wordcount for each week.
    12.5 If you would like to participate, whether you are a sole writer or a tandem writer, please consider creating your own thread or full-feature and paste its link here. If you do a thread, then please be clear about which post(s) is/are your weekly 3,000, which post(s) is/are your 1,000 to be critiqued and allow for Saturday to be a day for critique posts. If you do a full-feature, then you will need a place for posting your weekly wordcount of 3,000, whether roleplaying or not. It would be useful to have a place as well for each 1,000 word entry for the critique group to read and reply to, but you can combine them to save space. (If you don't mind, then please consider placing a link at the top your thread or full-feature or somewhere around there. I don't expect that this thread will get much attention, since it is not a roleplay.)

    13 How to Workshop
    13.1 Take Specific Notes on what you read, including likes, dislikes, confusion, bores and curiosities about the writing, NOT THE WRITER.
    13.2 Good things first or first & last.
    13.3 Be Descriptive, Not Proscriptive: Describe your reaction is more useful than saying what is wrong with it. It is less argumentative on someone's baby and easier on the author. It is also more truthful, especially if the author wants to evoke that emotion with you, including boredom. UNLESS the author asks you to brainstorm with him or her, do NOT try to suggest.
    13.4 Ignore the Small Stuff or Later: Spellings, Repetitions (Passive Voice), etc
    13.5 Lead with Plot, Characters and Setting: Initially Writing will be Rough
    13.7 IF YOU ARE BEING WORKSHOPPED, THEN YOU CANNOT SAY A WORD TO THE CRITICISM. WHEN IT IS YOUR TURN, SHUT UP AND TAKE NOTES! You are biasing your readers and diluting quality of feedback, plus it could lead to arguments. Instead of trying to address issues in the group verbally, address it in your writing, including twist endings.
    13.8 Advice is something to TRYOUT
    13.9 Try to discuss with your partner about any misconceptions or perceived wrongs as gently but firmly as you can. Remember to compliment first, at least, and last, if you can. You will have much more workshopping opportunities than single writers, so take advantage of this learning and teaching experience. If you have a complaint, then try to resolve it between those involved. If not successful, then sequentially include someone close to those involved, others in your roleplay for an intervention of sorts, and lastly perhaps within this group. This is not to scold, but to clarify, suggest and assist. As such, be humble enough to hear someone out, clear and gentle in response, and don't become defensive.

    14 Write a New Idea, even if it is a story within a story
    14.1 Ideas are Cheap, but Good Writers take Terrible Ideas and Make Great Stories
    14.2 If you write Long Form, then it has a mix of 1) Setting (I don’t start until I have a couple of good ideas, because this is a living, breathing persona); 2) Character (A character conflict helps); and 3) Plot (Least original, limited to an extant)
    14.3 Considering that roleplayers are, themselves, new characters (the narrators), it can be said that it is always a new story, if the other person has not experienced it before.
    14.4 The reason for doing a new idea is that people get stuck on old ideas, so only continue with an old one if you're willing to trudge through and not treat it like a baby. Drop the pride and focus on skills.

    15 Brainstorm on a Setting, Plots and Characters
    15.2 PREPARATION: Concentrate totally, devote uninterrupted time, be free from distractions, willing to stay until completed, be rested & fed, listen to favorite music, & read a book beforehand. Make sure space is free of clutter, unrestrictive, quiet, comfortable and inspiring/relaxing. Use a pen (if using paper) to avoid erasing and TRY TO AVOID BACKSPACING & DELETING on computer, possibly by turning on Insert Lock.
    15.3 BRAINSTORMING VISUALIZING METHOD: Main concept at top, list pre-decided ideas, list as soon as you think of them, don't discard until afterwards, embrace & explore mental tangents, &, when finished, choose ideas to keep.
    15.4 MIND-MAPPING VISUALIZING METHOD: Main concept in center, branch out to major story areas, branch out to different sub-areas, link squares to define connections & conflicts, & keep going until page is full.
    15.5 FREE-WRITING VISUALIZING METHOD: Start with new document/paper, main concept at top, clear mind as best as you can, write whatever comes to mind & only correct spelling if distracting.
    15.6 BREAKDOWN & BUILDUP VISUALIZING METHOD: Process of finding specifics and generalities, where the starting topic is respectively at the top or at the bottom.
    15.7 RIGHT-BRAINING VISUALIZING METHOD: Doodle from a general topic to visualize it.
    15.8 PROVOCATIVE VISUALIZING METHOD: Look at things differently by physically changing your environment.
    15.9 PESSIMIST VS OPTIMIST VISUALIZING METHOD: Create problems and solutions.
    15.10 COMPLIMENTARY VISUALIZING METHOD: Copy your favorite book/movie and change until it becomes a very different story.
    15.11 STUDY VISUALIZING METHOD: Compare, contrast and analyze features, whether good or bad, to better understand what you are aiming for.
    15.12 WHAT-IF VISUALIZING METHOD: What a what-if scenario and then all the affects that it would have on the rest of the world.
    15.13 PUZZLE VISUALIZING METHOD: If you have a setting, then write a character living in this setting, what sort of plot might exist here or expound on this setting more and more. If you have a plot, then write where it might take place, who would be involved or expound on it more and more. If you have a character, then write out about where they live, what they do or expound on their character.
    15.14 REVERSE ENGINEER VISUALIZING METHOD: Think of a scene and then find out how to get to that scene.
    15.15 BRAINSTORMING NOTEBOOK VISUALIZING METHOD: Carry a notebook—whatever size is convenient for you—around to be able to write down ideas as soon as we have them, so make sure it is a pen you use. Err on the side of caution and write down everything, including what you think is bad. Review that book every week for the first month and go over all the ideas. Act on each as much as possible to decide whether or not these are good. As you review, you may have new ideas; write them down. After a month, you can review the book every two weeks, and keep all of your book to review every now and again. Look for trends in your thinking for originality, share ideas that you're sure that you won't use & rank ideas you hope to use.
    15.16 SELF-CENTERED VISUALIZING METHOD: Write a day-in-the-life of you or someone you know.
    15.17 RANDOM VISUALIZING METHOD: Find a connection between a general topic and a random topic.
    15.18 NEW-EYES VISUALIZING METHOD: Brainstorm as a group with any of these preceding and following methods.
    15.19 INTERJECTION-CONJUCTION VISUALIZING METHOD: Yes, no, and, so, but, therefore, by, through, alongside...
    15.20 OTHER METHODS: 1. Mash-up two or more story genres; 2. Watch for interesting news stories; 3. Give yourself restrictions for your story; 4. Seek something with innate conflict.

    16 Outlining
    16.1 WHY? It helps with adding cohesion & balance, preventing dead-end ideas, provides foreshadowing, smoothing the pace, indicating preferable POVs, maintaining consistent character voice, & offering assurance & motivation.
    16.2 MISCONCEPTIONS: It does not require formal formatting, limit creativity, rob the joy of discovery or take too much time. It can be formatted however you like it (list, numbered, bullets, proposal, paragraphs, etc); it should be used as a guideline & not as a rule. It can be typed or long-hand, what allows you to have fun. It frees for creativity & is a period of discovery. Outlining can be your first draft and that's why it can take time for it to be finished before the act of writing takes place, because you are editing and redrafting beforehand.
    16.3 EXAMPLE: Important Idea, Story Synopsis, Three-Part Plot (Beginning, Buildup, Resolution), Build Scene by Scene, End Entrappingly (reader can't put book down)
    Last edited by Kriemedean; 02-11-2016 at 03:07 PM. Reason: Advice clarification
    "Ew. Did you check to see what date this raw milk expires?"
    "Yeah, what happened?"
    "I found a curd."
    "Did you shake it?"
    "It's the cream. The fat floats to the top."
    "Oh, I just thought it was Bridgid's backwash the first couple of times."
    "Wait, why didn't you say 'ew' when you thought that?"

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    Respected Noble FijiLoki's Avatar
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    Famed Adventurer Kriemedean's Avatar
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    Mar 2013
    High on my Pedestal...It's wobbly.
    I'm going to use this one as an RP version of his class for this week, which I hope to do every week: http://www.wtfrpg.com/forum/showthre...388#post175388

    But I will do my actual novel writing one for next week and as the primary.
    Last edited by Kriemedean; 02-20-2016 at 03:22 AM.
    "Ew. Did you check to see what date this raw milk expires?"
    "Yeah, what happened?"
    "I found a curd."
    "Did you shake it?"
    "It's the cream. The fat floats to the top."
    "Oh, I just thought it was Bridgid's backwash the first couple of times."
    "Wait, why didn't you say 'ew' when you thought that?"

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    Respected Noble FijiLoki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    "And who are you, the proud lord said, that I must bow so low?"

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