Posts Tagged ‘Brandon Sanderson’


Brandon Sanderson and Jessica Day George

   Posted by: Admin    in Writers, Conventions, writing

I was lucky enough to get both these great writers to come to my Pack Meeting this last week.

It was a great event.

Jessica emailed me the next day and said she had a great time, and Brandon stayed so long he missed his writing group meeting.

We had about 50 people there (adults and children). Each of them talked for about 20 minutes on their books and how they got the ideas and why they wrote them. Interestingly, the girls were more interested in Jessica’s work (she has female protagonists) and the boys were more interested in Brandon’s (his youth book has a male protag). I guess it is true about boys not wanting to read female protags. I must have really been a weird kid, because I didn’t mind at all when I was that age. I loved to read anything.

Interestingly, Brandon talked about how he hated to read, up until about the 8th grade because all the books he was given to read all seemed to be about boys who have dogs or moms who die at the end. And he just didn’t want to read that stuff. Then, he was given a nice fat epic fantasy and he loved it.

Jessica talked about how here parents didn’t let her have a really big dog, a sword, or a horse, and those are the things she likes and wants to read, so she writes about them.

The kids asked them some good questions, like how they get their ideas and how to make characters more interesting and real. I’ve heard the answers before (they are the basic stuff we all know already), but it was good for the young’uns.

Several people bought books and had them signed, so I think they both found it to be well worth their time (or at least, I hope they did).

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   Posted by: Admin    in Review, Book, writing

I’ve just finished Well of Ascension, and it was awesome – so much so that I’ve been thinking about it a lot over the past week (which is why I haven’t posted as much here as I normally will). I wrote a little review in my reviews area.

I’ve been enjoying the story itself, but I was also looking at how well Brandon Sanderson choose plot twists and ideas. He definitely did not seem to be pulling from the cliche shelf (of course, I’m not thoroughly versed in Fantasy any more, but I was kept guessing all the time).

I’ve lately been trying to get the Transfer Loss novel going. I did finish NaNoWriMo, but that ended up being mostly just lots of short stories stuck together in one long document. So, I have been trying to plan it out and think it through a little more. But things just weren’t flowing well. I have lots of cool ideas, but I’m just going to put it aside for awhile and focus on something else.

In fact, I have started thinking again about Moon Shadow more seriously. That is the story I wrote as a flash fiction piece and then submitted for Boot Camp. I am working on the beginning. Orson Scott Card was right about it starting in the wrong place. I started a 1000 ideas in an hour session for it, and came up with some really interesting ideas. It was a one idea story at first, so a couple of these things should really make it deeper and more interesting.

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Back At It

   Posted by: Admin    in Path, writing

I haven’t done very well at writing here regularly, but I’m trying to make amends for that starting today.

I started a blog for the classes I teach, and so that has started getting me in the habit of doing this regularly. Plus, this is a great place to think through ideas and what I’m doing with writing.

I’ll go into more detail later this week, but for now, I’m excited to get back to this. I hope it helps me, and anyone else who is just getting started as a writer and happens upon this blog (I know, not likely to happen, but one can always dream ?:grin: )

That’s all I’m going to write for now since it is getting late. But I will say that I’m excited to start reading the second book in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series (The Well of Ascension). I really enjoyed the first one, and also Elantris. It is really cool that he will be writing the final book in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, as well. Way to go Brandon!

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Lunch with Brandon Sanderson

   Posted by: Admin    in Interview

Today I met with a bunch of my fellow Bootcampers for a luncheon with the fantasy novelist, Brandon Sanderson.

It was awesome seeing my bootcamp friends again. We are also starting a writing group, so it will be nice to have some deadlines to get me to do my writing.

Brandon was a very nice guy, also. He had a book signing later that day that we all went to.

Here are my notes from our conversations during lunch:

Brandon recommends that (new) writers go to conventions to meet editors and agents. For the fantasy genre, he’d rank them thusly:

  1. World Fantasy. This is the premier convention to go to because it caps the number of non-pros who go so you don’t have to compete with other wannabes ?:smile:
  2. World Con. This has more non-pros.
  3. Nebulas.

How to talk with editors:

First of all, DO NOT bring your manuscript to the convention.

The important thing to remember about editors is that they are sci fi/fantasy/whatever your genre is nerds! They love the genre they are in. The next thing to remember is that they don’t like schmoozing with wannabes, but they know it is a necessary evil. So, you need to put them in their comfort zone. Ask them what they are working on right now. Ask them what advice they have for new writers. And LISTEN to their answers. You need to really want to listen to this or it will seem fake. Another idea is to go to a panel discussion that they are on and find something interesting that they say that you want more information about. Afterwards, let them know you found it interesting and ask them for more information.

Finally, when you are drawing the conversation to a close (don’t spend too much time with them, they are busy people), ask them, “Do you mind if I send you something?”

Alternately, you could offer to buy them lunch (or a drink, or whatever) so you can talk a little more. Then, ask if you can send them something.

It is important to ask this question, even if it makes you (and them) feel uncomfortable. The worse they can say is no, right? Plus, if they say yes, it gets you past the query stage and the slush pile stage so your work gets seen much quicker.

Brandon also talked about how important it is to research who the editors are at the various publishing houses so you can later put names with faces. This makes you look smarter and helps to avoid embarrassing situations ?:oops:

He did talk about some editors, but I’d like to keep that a little under wraps since I don’t know if he (or they) want their names plastered all over the internet.

But, here are some ideas he gave for finding out who they are:

  • Look in the acknowledgements section of books you like (and that are like what you write). Typically, the writer will thank their agent and editor. Once you have the name, you can start finding out more about them.
  • Watch for editors who change houses. These people need to get their own authors so they look good at their new job (they have to leave the authors they were working with at the previous house). They also love being the person who “discovers” the next big writer, so they have a double incentive.
  • Some editors maintain blogs. Frequent their sites and join the discussions. When you make yourself known in this way to an editor, they realize you’re not some wacko out of nowhere when you actually do meet in person.

Next, we talked about agents and taxes. This wasn’t too interesting to me (I knew most of it already) so I didn’t take notes here.

When sending out works, send to Writers of the Future first. Orson Scott Card also echoed this during bootcamp. Brandon said that these credits count higher for editors than other publishing venues, because often it means that you are a new writer who has not yet been discovered, and you are a good writer. Can you say “sure bet”?

Someone then asked Brandon how he comes up with names for his books. He said he likes to look at baby name books for languages he doesn’t know and try to see patterns. He combines names and changes spelling. This was an intriguing idea to me and seemed very smart to do.

Our next subject was about magic. Brandon always has wonderful magic systems, so I was very interested in his responses here. He said that, for him, the limitations of a magic system are much more interesting than the abilities. He likes to see how characters overcome those limitations. This is how you develop real characters.

He also said that it is important to have every character (even and especially villains) make the best decision possible for them. The, your task is to figure out how to have your good guys overcome, or be smarter than, the villain. This is excellent advice, I think. And I definitely need to work on this in my stories. Too often I find it too easy just to make the villain stupid or easily fooled. I’ve also read some bad stories that do the same thing. This makes for boring reading.

The next thing we talked about was how Brandon uses outlining when he writes. He said it is important to figure out how you write the best and to develop that. For him, he does outlining with main plot points interspersed so he knows where he is going with the writing. I know that I tried the seat-of-the-pants method last year during NaNoWriMo, and it did not work for me. And hte Snowflake method seems like too much for me (although I have not yet tried it). Brandon’s method seems like the best way for me, and I intend to use it during NaNoWriMo this year. He also said that his outlining is much stronger now that he knows his own writing style. I definitely need to learn my writing style.

Finally, he talked about the best way to get published and to learn your writing style is to finish a book. Finishing is a huge accomplishment and says quite a bit about you as a writer. It takes dedication and commitment to finish something, rather than flitting around from one thing to another. (Hello, this is a bit hint for me). You also learn plotting, gain confidence, and understand your writing process intimately.

He said it takes getting through several novels (maybe as many as 7, but usually just 2 or 3) before you are ready to be published. So get through those quickly!??:razz:

The process of doing is most of the learning curve and separates you from most wannabe writers.

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Lunch with Brandon Sanderson

   Posted by: Admin    in My Events

Meeting fellow Bootcampers for lunch with Brandon Sanderson.