Brandon Sanderson Lecture #3 – Plot Part 2

Overall impression – Lots of info in this segment. He uses Q&A quite a bit to delve into plot styles and plot structure. Very briefly goes into Discovery plotting. Even though I’m mostly a Discovery type writer, it was very interesting to see how to outline and why they work. This lecture should probably be viewed multiple times to get all the nuances as it is a lot of info.

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.

Discovery writer vs. Outline writer – Outline writers do more upfront work, Discovery writers do more back-end work.

Outline means summary to editors. 3-5 pages are sufficient. They don’t want to see Heading A, sub-heading 1 etc.

Brandon gives an example of outline for one of his books. It looks like the traditional outline. He has three headings: Character, Setting, Plot.

Building a plot in Outline – Promise, Progress, Payoff. Most important is the Progress. Once you figure out that, then you can figure out correct Promise and make good on the Payoff.

Plot archetype – is not Plot structure (three-act, Hero’s journey) it is a style of plot (what we are trying to achieve) If you are doing a Heist plot, then it becomes handy to read Heist plot type books to see what they did.

When you decide on a plot style, it helps to ask why do people like this plot, why do you love this plot. You have to identify the steps of progress of your plot, otherwise readers will get bored if they don’t see progress.

Brandon goes into detail about various plot styles and why we like them and then figure out how you quantify the steps. Brandon outlines backward, what is the goal. Then how do you get there.

Books must have one central plot archetype to be the glue that keeps it all together.

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