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Sanderson's "Write About Dragons" Creative Writing Course

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I'm having a thought here.


I'm not certain how many people know about Brandon Sanderson's creative writing course from BYU, but I've been doing some research on the class that he's made available online at Write About Dragons


So, a friend and I are going to be taking his course together, but I'd love to have some more people on board to write with us as we create our own 30k word novellas through the course. 


Here's the gist. We would start watching through the videos in two weeks (TBA) and each week watch 10-11 videos, here, while writing about 3000 new words each week. That's ten weeks. Then have two weeks of make up time at the end of the run, for finishing stories, catching up on critiques, etc. 


We'd keep track of our submissions through a group email, like we do here, and email our critiques directly to each other. Keep it simple and straight forward. 


At the end of twelve weeks, we've all written another story, gotten some education from Sanderson himself, and gotten to expand our network of fellow writers. 


I'm excited to get rolling and hearing what you all think!

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Ooooh.  Very tempting.  I've had those videos on my list to watch for a while.  Beginning in two weeks?  Is that an official start to the course, or is that just when you're starting?

I'm just redoing my latest story.  I don't really want to lose my momentum, but it would probably be worth it to learn to write better from Mr. Sanderson himself.  Count me in as a potential yes.  

I've already got the Alpha Reader's Dropbox set up, so that could also be a place for submissions, if needed.

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Just an unofficial start for me because that's when I can commit to it. 


I can't imagine there would be a problem with redoing your story. Submissions for critiques are about 1000 words at a time, so it'd be getting the gist for scenes through the writing group, but you could use your old one. For me, it's a great way to get a new novella written.


How does the Alpha Reader's Dropbox work? Could you PM me with how to access it?

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This does sound interesting, I feel like I'm stretched pretty thin at the moment, but I'd love to try it. I'm getting a fair bit of BS (Brandon, that is!) at the moment in my Writing Excuses catch up, but I could suspend that, I suppose.


Put me down as a tentative 'yes' and I'll consider what I would write.

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Alright, I've got some more information for you guys about the course. So far, it'll be about five or six people, which should be great for keeping up with submissions and keeping each other psyched to learn more about the art of writing!


Here's the start date: July 21

I laid out how most people are going to follow the lectures week to week. Feel free to tweak this as you'd like. 

  1. 7/21-7/27: Lecture 1
  2. 7/28-8/3: Lecture 2 & Lecture 3 (1-3)
  3. 8/4-8/10: Lecture 3 (4-7) & Lecture 4 (1-6)
  4. 8/11-8/17: Lecture 4 (7-10) & Lecture 5 & Lecture 6 (1-2)
  5. 8/18-8/24: Lecture 6 (3-10) & Lecture 7 (1-4)
  6. 8/25-8/31: Lecture 7 (5-7) & Lecture 8 & Lecture 9 (1-2)
  7. 9/1-9/7: Lecture 9 (3-7) & Lecture 10 (1-6)
  8. 9/8-9/14: Lecture 10 (7-8) & Lecture 11
  9. 9/15-9/21: Lecture 12 & Lecture 13
  10. 9/22-9/28: Lecture 14 & Lecture 15
  11. 9/29-10/5: Makeup Week
  12. 10/6-10/12: Last Submission Week

As for submissions, Mandamon has the Alpha Reader's dropbox already set up, so that might be the best. But if you have other ideas for submissions, just let me know!


I can't wait to get started!

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Two things:


1) If we are using Dropbox, I need everyone's emails who is involved (send me a PM) so I can set that up.


2) Is there brainstorming included in the first couple weeks, or do we need a story idea read to go?  I have an idea of what I want to write, but haven't done any outlining yet.

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You've already got mine. I'll talk with the two friends of mine who are off this forum about it.

We can absolutely brainstorm! We'll get started informally this Monday and throw around story ideas.

Let's start talking about it in this thread then and in a few days we should try to get together on a chat, real time, just to say hello and mull over ideas.

Also, could you guys PM me your emails as well? I'm going to get an email reminder set for us, probably twice a week, once for updates and once to remind us to submit and review work.


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I've watched a few of the videos, to make sure they're working–as far as I can tell, no login is needed except to critique.


Actually, I've been meaning to ask you guys, how do you feel like critiquing should work? We're used to having an email with submissions (which reminds me I need to submit one this week) and then setting up a thread for critiques. What about trying to use comments and changes in something like Google Docs online? Review it and then the author has the notes all in one doc?


I'm open to suggestions here.

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I've never used Google Docs, but I do a lot of work with MS Word, which obviously can track changes from numerous contributors. If each writer had a folder in Dropbox and there was a new version of the document each week which could be tracked, these could all be merged in a master document. Don't know if everyone using Word of course.


What do you need to use Google Docs? I'll need to look into it if we're going down that route.


Also, I found this page useful,



Edited by Robinski
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The plus side of Google Docs is that it's web based. This means I could set up a folder and you would use GD, add comments + thoughts + write, then you could export as a .doc file. It's up to you guys, if you don't have experience with it, let's not add too many variables to the game plan. But it could be something you might check out, to use later.


It's how I write, except recently when I've been working out of pages for easier conversion to epub (and it's local on my computer).

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I've just had a wee dabble with G**gle Docs, looks pretty straight forward, I'm happy to go with this for our writing class.


Got a G**gle account for my blog anyway, so it's only a short step.


Man, I'm really broadening my mind this month!

Edited by Robinski
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Well, we'll try it out then. Tomorrow I'll post to this thread with some more information on the drive and invite you guys to try it out. I'll put a test document in the folder and you can just mess with it to see what features are there.


Edit: Alright, I've set up the Shared Folder, let me know if you got the invite. If not, shoot me an email and I'll get it to you. Try out the test document see how writing/editing works for you!




If you want, let's start tossing around some ideas for our possible novellas here. We'll try to keep it pretty clear, but this thread can hold that kind of info, no problem!


Currently, I'm laying out a plot involving characters from an old adventure discovering a new world. But I'm using a new character, telling it from his perspective and he's the one who makes the wrong choice in friends resulting in the death of a friend–he has to make it right in 30,000 words (less maybe if he messes up around the 1/4 mark). 


What do you think?

Edited by Rubix
Please don't double post. Use the edit button instead.
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I like that your story seems to revolve around personal relationships and choices, which have far-ranging consequences. It appears that your story will not be about the end of the world - which is nice - as it does crop up rather often as a theme.


I currently have 5 pages of premise; character outlines (4); setting and plot outline. My story is a fantasy, I have the bones of a magic system which is as much a philosophy as it is a system. I'm trying to cast my story against type, taking stereotypes like 'tank', swordsman, thief and mage, and giving them what I hope is a somewhat original twist - fingers crossed!

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I have a couple pages of outline for mine as well.  The worldbuilding is mostly complete, as I've re-visiting the Seeds of Dissolution universe.  I'm telling some of the backstory of when two of the characters, Origon and Rilan, went on their first big adventure, 19 years previous.  They're hunting down a rogue Majus.  I've wanted to do this for a while, and I'm hoping to make it accessible both for first time readers and ones who have read the novel (hey--we happen to have both here!).

My challenges are reverting the characters to a less experienced time, and trying to get the relationship right.

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@Robinski going against type can be hard sometimes. Now, having said that, I'm all for it. But I struggle to think in terms of types like you're talking about. I tend to think about character types, like antagonist, friend, mentor, hero, etc. I'm looking forward to reading this story. What's the idea behind your story?


@Mandamon I've never heard of the Seeds of Dissolution universe. What is it?  


I'll be fleshing out my outline more this friday, just before the class starts. 


What do you guys think of Google Docs? Working for you?

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Endurant: That's because it's my universe  ;) .  I posted the first 14 chapters of the finished book on here last year.  The full version (though not the final updated one) is on the Alpha Readers folder in Dropbox.  Robinski was kind enough to do a full read-through for me, so he might get a little more out of the Novella...


Google Docs seems to work.  I'll probably end up writing in Word on my computer and then pasting in for the submissions.

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