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2013 Lectures

Lecture 1
  1. Goal #1 Build Good Habits
  2. Goal #2 Learn Your Style
  3. Goal #3 Learn to Workshop
  4. Writing Group Rules of Thumb
  5. Writing Group Structure
  6. Goal #4 Write a New Story
  7. Brainstorm on Setting
  8. Brainstorm on Plot & Characters
  9. Turning Ideas Into Stories Pt 1
  10. Turning Ideas Into Stories Pt 2
Lecture 2
  1. What Makes a Great Character
  2. Ways to Humanize Characters
  3. The Superman & the Everyman
  4. Character Flaws & Handicaps Pt 1
  5. Character Flaws & Handicaps Pt 2
  6. Making Characters Proactive
  7. Limitations are More Interesting
Lecture 4
  1. Subverting Expectations in Humor
  2. The Many Routes to Funny in Humor
  3. A Practice Excercise on Humor
  4. The Comic Drop
  5. Humor is Learnable
  6. Comedic Foreshadowing
  7. Q&A: Unlikable Characters, How to Practice Humor
  8. Q&A: Humor in Novels, Brevity, Audience, Talent
  9. Q&A: Prototyping, Alpha Readers, Hard Work
  10. The Business of Web Comics
Lecture 5
  1. Misc Tips & Tools for Engaging the Reader
  2. Pacing & the Importance of Breathers
  3. Some Thoughts on Outlining
  4. Getting Just the Right Amount of Description
  5. Novice Mistakes in Beginning Chapters
Lecture 6
  1. The What & Why of the Short Fiction Market
  2. Tips on Keeping Short Stories Short
  3. Tips on Submitting Short Stories, Category Length
  4. Q&A: When It’s Ready, E-shorts, New vs Familiar
  5. Q&A: Novels vs Short Story Ideas, Shorts into Novels
  6. More on Keeping Short Stories Short
  7. Winning Writers of the Future & the Nebula
  8. The Editorial Process at Short Fiction Venues
  9. Some Short Fiction Economics
  10. Q&A: Overcoming Self Doubt, Anachronisms in SF
Lecture 7
  1. Revising, Esp. When You Don’t Want To
  2. Viewpoint & Tense Overview & It’s Importance
  3. Choosing Between First & Third Person Pt 1
  4. Choosing Between First & Third Person Pt 2
  5. How to Not Break Viewpoint
  6. Concreteness, Immediacy, & Precision in Prose
  7. Revising for Concreteness, Immediacy, & Precision
Lecture 8
  1. A Novel’s Capital P Plot
  2. Promises & Progression in Plot
  3. Relationship & Big Problem Plots
  4. Training, Time Bomb, & Travelogue Plots
  5. The Danger of Not Delivering on Promises
  6. Ways of Structuring Plot
Lecture 9
  1. Traditional vs Self Publishing
  2. Cover Art, Layout, & Editorial in Self Pub & Traditional
  3. Book Publicity via Publishing Houses
  4. What to Expect with Advances
  5. Contract Law Pt 1
  6. Contract Law Pt 2
  7. A Short Self Pub Success Story w/ Tips
Lecture 10
  1. Elements of Fight Scenes
  2. The Role of Agents & Entertainment Lawyers
  3. Writer Beware: Agent Scams
  4. Arguments Against Agents
  5. A Brief Breakdown of the Book Market
  6. A Tour of the Major SF/F Publishing Houses
  7. How to Network with Editors & Agents
  8. Brandon’s Advice for After the Class
Lecture 11
  1. The Class Final
  2. Self Promotion & Platforms Pt 1
  3. Self Promotion & Platforms Pt 2
  4. Taxes on your Writing Income
  5. Business Deductions as a Writer
  6. Protecting Yourself with a Legal Entity
  7. Writing Good Query Letters
  8. Movie Deals on your Stories
Lecture 12
  1. Critiques by Joshua Bilmes, Literary Agent Pt 1
  2. Critiques by Joshue Bilmes, Literary Agent Pt 2
  3. Joshua Bilmes, Literary Agent, on Plotting
Lecture 13
  1. Q&A: How Brandon Gets Ideas, Reader Trust
  2. Q&A: Non Traditional Story Arcs, Collaborative Fiction
  3. Q&A: Keeping Options, Conflict, Day Jobs
  4. Q&A: 80-20 Rule in Research, Presenting ALL Viewpoints
  5. Q&A: Engaging Villains
  6. Q&A: Builder’s Disease, Deciding on Publishing, Viewpoints
  7. Q&A: What Separates Published Authors, Family & Writing
  8. Q&A: Writers Block, Fixing Broken Stuff, Getting Feedback
  9. Q&A: Getting Feedback, Scrapping Books, the “Cloud”

Complete notes generously written by Nicholas Cloud

Download the complete audio here

Lecture 1

  1. Intro
  2. Ideas are cheap
  3. Class format
  4. Gardeners vs Architects
  5. Writing group essentials

Lecture 2

  1. What makes a good plot
  2. Plots by outlining
  3. Plots by discovery
  4. YA Genres
  5. Adult Genres

Lecture 3

  1. Intro to Prose
  2. First Person Viewpoints
  3. Third Person Viewpoints
  4. Description part 1
  5. Description part 2

Lecture 4

  1. Sympathetic Characters Part 1
  2. Sympathetic Characters Part 2
  3. Show us the Character
  4. Giving Characters a Life Beyond the Plot
  5. Character Creation Example Part 1
  6. Character Creation Example Part 2

Lecture 5

  1. Short Story MasterGuest Lecture 

Lecture 6

  1. Networking Via Conventions 
  2. Some Alternatives to Cons
  3. Meeting Editors and Agents
  4. Three Goals When Meeting Agents
  5. Pitches
  6. Some Questions and Statistics

Lecture 7

  1. A Success Story – Part 1
  2. A Success Story – Part 2
  3. The Three Act Format
  4. Try-Fail Cycles
  5. The Heroes Journey
  6. Brandon’s Plotting Method
Lecture 8
Lecture 9
  1. Misc Questions (1/7)
  2. Thinking of Setting as a Character
  3. World Building Geography Part 1
  4. World Building Geography Part 2
  5. Creating Interesting Nations & Towns
  6. Sanderson’s First Law of Magic
  7. Sanderson’s Second Law of Magic
Lecture 10 (Complete Audio)