Brandon Sanderson Lecture #8 – Worldbuilding Q&A

Note: I’ve been putting off watching this video for far too long. I’m not sure why, but I have an aversion to Q&A lectures. Time to bite the bullet and quit procrastinating.

Overview – Brandon tries to answer multiple questions and since he only has about an hour, he talks very quickly. So it’s a bit hard to follow along. Luckily, someone on the YouTube page provided links to the relevant portions of the questions. For the most part, I think I could have skipped this lecture. At least if I ever need to review a certain point, it will be easy to quickly get there. Next lecture is the one I’m really looking forward to which is Character.


  • 1:38 – “What flaws do you (Sanderson) have, that make you a better writer?”
  • 4:54 – “How do you create a magic that doesn’t seem like magic?”
  • 6:11 – Internal vs. external consistency/logic
  • 10:30 – Goes back to explain how internal vs. external logic plays into creating a magic system, that doesn’t seem like magic.
  • 11:56 – “How do we give enough exposition to make the reader understand the world, but maintain mystery and twists?”
  • 17:28 – “Do you change or modify rules based on the age of the intended reader?” + “Do you, while you’re writing, ever change your rules?” (Tbc. at 24:26, after the question below)
  • 23:13 – “Do you ever have publishers or editors try to have you put more graphic content in?”
  • 26:02 – Follow-up question from one of the students: “My central character is eight years old. What is the danger with that? Why don’t we see more adult books with child protagonists?”
  • 29:05 – “This is back to the internal/external logic. What do you do if there’s a case where they may conflict? How do you choose which one is better?”
  • 32:56 – “Is there a way to see hard magic disguised as soft magic in a book?”
  • 35:37 – “How do you prevent world building from feeling like a chore?”
  • 40:38 – “What’s my (Sanderson’s) opinion on fanfiction?”
  • 41:34 – “How do you know if your magic system works?”
  • 45:54 – “I’d love to screen write for animation. Any tips?”
  • 48:02 – “Is editing fantasy/sci-fi a good backup plan?”
  • 52:39 – “How can you make limits or weaknesses appear natural and not contrived?”
  • 56:58 – “What does Brandon think of The Mandalorian?”
  • 58:52 – “Are Sanderson’s Laws absolute?”
  • 59:45 – “How do you decide that you need to add some new magic, and how do you add it smoothly without turning it into a deus ex machina/making it feel out of nowhere?”
  • 1:04:47 – About revision

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

4 thoughts on “Brandon Sanderson Lecture #8 – Worldbuilding Q&A

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