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Brandon Sanderson offers free class on writing science fiction, fantasy

Brandon Sanderson’s lectures taught this year at Brigham Young University cover ‘the nuts and bolts of writing.’

Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson, photographed at his home in American Fork on Sept. 29, 2016. The Utah author has published a free YouTube lecture series on writing science fiction and fantasy.
Nick Wagner, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah author Brandon Sanderson has published a free YouTube lecture series on writing science fiction and fantasy.

Sanderson’s 13 lectures taught this year at Brigham Young University cover “the nuts and bolts of writing,” including plot, viewpoint, worldbuilding, short stories, characters and publishing.

The BYU course came about in the 1980s when Orson Scott Card was going to teach a creative writing class, but a literature professor took over when the novelist ended up being unable to teach it after all, Sanderson said in the first online lecture.

Sanderson, who was a BYU student from 1994-2000, took the course from professional writer Dave Wolverton, known by his pen name David Farland, in 2000.

“That class was the single most valuable class I took my entire career at BYU,” Sanderson said.

Sanderson was asked to teach the course in 2004 when Wolverton retired. Sanderson had sold but not published a book at the time. He has now published dozens of books and become a well-known fiction writer.

“I haven’t been willing to let go of this one class because I feel like this class was, if you can point to a single moment in my career that was the most influential in me actually getting published, it was probably taking this class in 2000, 20 years ago now,” Sanderson said. “I thought it’s a resource that I need to make sure keeps happening, so I tried to format it in a way that it would help me as a new writer taking the class.”