Brandon Sanderson Lecture #4 Viewpoint and Q&A

Overall impression – Q&A is pretty interesting, but jumps around a bit as the questions differ, so no real coherent lecture. He briefly goes into Viewpoint but as he only has about 20 minutes, it is really rushed. If you are not familiar with viewpoints and definitions, it is easy to get lost. (I did and know I need to study viewpoints more). I put a link to the podcast in my notes. If you have Audible, it only covers season 16 and part of season 15. I’ll have to download season 11.

Below is the notes I typed while listening to the lecture. Some of it may not make sense to you if you haven’t listened to the lecture. These are merely highlights of what I picked up on during the lecture.

If you want to go directly to a specific question in the lecture, click the time to the left of the question. It will open up a new tab in YouTube.

  • 0:41 How long is too long for an introduction?
  • 6:49 How do you reverse engineer a story for its parts / Can you give us a master list of all the plot archetypes?
  • 9:42 How can I more effectively nest plots and not make them feel like diversions?
  • 17:25 How can I avoid cliché plot twists?
  • 24:15 Can a story be episodic and still keep you turning the page?
  • 27:27 Does there always have to be a twist?
  • 31:27 How can I tell if it’s my character or my plot that needs to change? Also advice on overcoming writer’s block for newer writers
  • 38:09 How can a very character-driven novel work? Lecture on viewpoints


Intro – sooner you get into story as a new writer the better. Make it as short as possible to achieve your goals for the style of story your telling.

No such list of master plot archetypes. Check this season 11 “Writing Excuses Elemental Genres” podcast.

Nesting plots – make sure the character is interesting and it advances the progress of main plot.

Avoiding cliché plot twists- What is the purpose of this twist. What is the emotional reason. There does not always have to be a twist. An escalation is like a twist, but not.

Viewpoint – 3 standard viewpoints Omniscient, First Person, Second Person.

All lectures of Brandon Sanderson are now linked on the Storylines page if you wish to follow along in order.


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