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Sunday, 20 July 2014

Right About Dragons

Some of the 'kids' over at Reading Excuses (self included, not as a kid, of course!) are about to embark on a collaborative trawl through Brandon Sanderson's writing course. His 2013 lecture series at Brigham Young University is available online at Write About Dragons (, it's fifteen lectures long, but we're not in a hurry (which is smart) and are planning to take from Monday to October to complete the course.

There are eight of us and we'll be writing a 30,000 word novella over the 15 weeks, circulating 1,000 to 2,000 word submission each week and critiquing the other submissions. There's a good buzz in the group already, as evidenced by the thread over at Reading Excuses (, and some interesting ideas coming out of the melting pot. A prequel to Mandamon's 'Seeds of Dissolution' won't mean anything to you perhaps, but having alpha (beta?) read the first novel, I'm looking forward to that almost as much as writing my piece.

Currently titled "Waifs and Strays", my aim is to write a story that subverts some of the well-worn fantasy tropes that we're probably all getting a bit tired of, and in particular some of the tick-box character stereotypes that are still lurking in Cliche Corner even now. That said, subverting things is a bit of a trope in itself these days, but that's what I'm going for, so sue me. (Please, don't sue me).

As well as trying to learn from Mr. Sanderson's excellent course (I've started on Lecture 1 before Monday's deadline, cheater!), I'm also hoping to incorporate some of the Writing Prompts from the Writing Excuses podcast along the way (birds and stone, etc.). One that I've tackled already is from Season 5, Episode 22 "Come up with an eight-word tag line for your novel or short story. It needs to be pithy, punchy, memorable and easily comprehensible." My offering is the following:

 - The greatest threat to success is their friends -

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