If you see this at the start of the first lecture, you're watching the right one. Screenshot from the video, not my own.
For those not in the know, Brandon Sanderson is the author of the Mistborn series (among others), a Writing Excuses podcast contributor, and the author who finished the Wheel of Time series after the loss of Robert Jordan. He’s big in the world of Science Fiction and Fantasy writing and taught a course at BYU on writing (with emphasis on SFF but solely focused on it.) He had the lectures filmed and put on YouTube for free. Each is a little over an hour long with thirteen lectures total. One is introductory, two focus on plot, one for viewpoint, three for world building, one on short stories (by guest speaker Mary Robinette Kowal), three on character, and two on publishing. Click here for the playlist of lectures.
I learned about this series because the YouTube algorithm figured me out, I guess. I played them in the background while doing more mindless tasks like cleaning. I found them to be a little bit more basic than my current skill level, but I would have eaten them up and taken pages of notes about five years ago. I appreciated Sanderson repeating audience questions for the microphone and his organized presentations. He has a good speaking voice and made jokes. When he referenced his books, he always made sure to clarify his point as if you’d never read them, so no one will feel left out. Do make sure you’ve seen Star Wars though; he references that the most. (Although at this point, who hasn’t seen Star Wars?)
Is It Worth It?
If you’ve never taken a college level writing class, or if you’re looking to build on your basic foundation, it’s a great, free resource. It takes a lot of time, but offers a lot of information. You can pick and choose which topics you’d find helpful since each video is clearly labeled, although he does reference previous lectures multiple times. Even if you aren’t sure you’d benefit, you can do what I did and play it in the background while doing other things. Honestly, I don’t see a downside to watching. Kudos to Brandon Sanderson for making his college lecture series free to everyone!
Have you watched Sanderson's YouTube lectures? Did you find them worth your time? Let's discuss!