Intro to Brandon Sanderson

Geoff OBrien

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I’ve only seen Brandon Sanderson mentioned in passing around here, so what the hell. You ought to check out pretty much any of his (very many!)videos, really. He’s not only a competent best-selling fantasy author(traditionally published as opposed to self-published), he’s a fascinating man. A good starting point could be here.


Of particular interest may be around the 33min mark where he discusses aspects of better fitting friends/family/partner in to your writing day-to-day and/or career: setting aside time for not writing, thereby to be more present/visible with loved ones and vice-versa; including loved ones in your writing in specific ways, eg having them assist in 'guarding' your writing time; etc.


This video is interesting too.


I’ve read relatively few of his books: the latter Wheel of Time novels and his freely available book Warbreaker. I’ve just finished his first Mistborn novel and am currently reading the second. IMO, based on what I’ve read from him, his non-Wheel of Time stuff is more pleasantly engaging than inspiring or life-changing, albeit incredibly commercially successful.


Sanderson elevated himself to prominence after basically being asked to finish Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, after Jordan’s untimely death. Probably my favourite prose that Sanderson’s written, off the top of my head, is a collection of Egwene-based scenes(which were likely outlined by Jordan before he died) that he wrote in The Gathering Storm. I don’t agree with some of the philosophy and motivations espoused in these scenes, yet Egwene (further)develops and portrays a magnificent inner strength and character, scenes that I’ve rarely read in fiction.


I’m more interested in Sanderson himself than his works. He’s affable in his videos, one of those rare sort of knowledgeable and competent public speakers whom you’d enjoy listening to reciting their grocery list. He’s devoutly religious. IIRC, in one of his book signing videos(can’t remember which), he mentions reading the bible or somesuch every single day. And yet, to listen to his other vidoes, especially his lectures, he comes across as very well read and active-minded.


How such rationality and religiosity coexist within one man to such degrees intrigues me to no end. I’m tempted to buy him some mind-reading headphones in the hope of him wearing them for a week or so to find out what passes through his mind.


(I’m experimenting with embedded videos, so please bear with me if I screw something up. I’ve also included URLs to any embedded video for this reason)




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I fully agree with you about Brandon Sanderson.

I have watched a ton of his videos on writing.

I want to discuss him, though, after I read one of his fiction works. To my shame, I have not yet done that.

But in general, I have found that the Mormon culture here in the US produces excellent storytellers and fiction writers. Sanderson is a Mormon. I think many of them gravitate toward science fiction, and even horror, due to the science-fiction-like nature of their religion, where people get a planet each and become a god of some sort after death and going through whatever the prerequisites are. (I hope I didn't botch that. :) )

Orson Scott Card comes to mind. James Dashner. Stephenie Meyer, the Twilight lady, too.

David Farland (it's a pen name but how he is mostly known) taught a ton of famous Mormon writers, including the three I just mentioned and Sanderson. He passed away a year or two ago, but he left behind a lot of writing courses, books, articles and so on. I've gone through some of his writing instruction, too, and I highly recommend it.

On a side note, Farland had a quirk. He was not a Scientologist, but he admired L Ron Hubbard. That connection always bothered me, so I just looked it up. Farland admired L Ron Hubbard as a sci-fi writer, not as the founder of Scientology. In fact, Farland took a Hubbard plot for one of his own novels. I bet there are more. :) Especially seeing that Farland was intimately involved for years with a writing contest Hubbard founded called "Writers of the Future."

I guess I am going to have to read some of Hubbard's pulp fiction stuff at one time just to try to see what Farland saw. My general impression was that in terms of sci-fi, Farland was a badass and Hubbard was schlock. Maybe it's time I looked instead of just mouthing off, then going nuts trying to find stuff to justify my opinions. :) 

Anyway, sometimes I take time to respond, so please don't get impatient. this happens when I know I want to write about it in terms deeper than, "That's nice." :) But writing and dealing with my own stuff consumes my life. But please know that I value my few interactions with you. I hope there will be many more over time.

I will get to Brandon Sanderson after I read some of his fiction. Then I will come back here and talk about him. 

Full disclosure, I also still need to read your shit, the Kindle stuff I bought. But I will.

(Ah me, life is short and writing is long...)



Apropos, to embed a video on OL, just copy the URL into the comment field and press Enter. The video should appear embedded even before you publish the comment. This works for YouTube and X (Twitter). Maybe a few other Big Tech sites. As to other video providers, I bought a plug-in that does not embed the videos, but presents the title, thumbnail and truncated description with a direct link to the video.

(This plugin does this with articles, too. Just type the URL in and press Enter. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, the plugin does not like that site. :) )


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Thanks for your reply, Michael(and fixing the embedded bits of my first post, I'm guessing).  Some bits of practical and fiction related stuff for me to chase up, especially the mormon connections.  I wasn't aware of how deep that rabbit hole apparently goes.  Sanderson seems to be exploring the concept of faith through varying character's narratives in his Mistborn series(I'm reading through it's third novel, now) -- not exactly shocking, I'm guessing.

And yet, Mistborn is proving to be thoughtful(if not inspiring) material for me, especially in how he explores and presents his ideas through fiction.  Your reminder of Sanderson being a Mormon refreshes some temporarily-forgotten context for me, which will assist my thinking in this.

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