How to write a NOVEL

There's so much more to writing than many people realize, but the more you do it the more you learn and after ten years of practice it's my honor to share what I've learnt with you. This video is for the aspiring writers. Writing Excuses Podcast:Brandon Sanderson Writing lectures: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2015, 2016,

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How do you get started writing to begin with?
*When you're currently writing a fantasy novel.* Probably a good idea to watch this.
His views on homosexuality are unfortunate, but Orson Scott Card did write a very good book called 'How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy.' There are plenty of other books out there that give advice in both genres, and in others that you may wish to pursue. In addition, there are reference books on writing in general, particularly for fiction.
But... _What about dargoons?_
I agree wholeheartedly.i've been working on the world for the book i am writing for over 8 years. i finally feel that the story itself is coming together and the world is very well developed. everyone who has read excerpts from the story, say it is good. i look forward to finishing it at last. A goal for the last 6 years. we'll see how it goes. Thank you for the video.
My favorite quote on this subject “My advice to the young writer is likely to be unpalatable in an age of instant successes and meteoric falls. I tell the neophyte: Write a million words–the absolute best you can write, then throw it all away and bravely turn your back on what you have written. At that point, you’re ready to begin.” - David Eddings
I write novels since i am 12. i can now look back on 19 years of experience. And i totally agree to Shad: the first couple of books i finished i will never publish. I can agree with shad that the writing style is half of the book and plot, setting and characters share the other half. You can have a brilliant plot idea, have the best scene in your head... but if you lack the words to describe them you cant produce the right cinematic pictures in the heads of your readers. And thats the true art of writing novels: creating with words a movie for the brains of your readers. (sorry about the english, i am not native to it)
I was scratching my head at 'Third person limited' and 'Third person Omniscient' for a minute there . . . until I realized I know what Shad was talking about. I had this concept pointed out to me by a teacher I had reviewing some of my earlier works back in high school . . . he pointed this out and explained the differences and what I was doing . . . His name? Mr Chad . . . interesting. (Side note, I totally see Shad as being an English teacher)
10:30 Ha! Jokes on you, I already looked them up as soon as you said them!...... I really dont want to screw up my first book......
One word: Eragon. It's basically Star Wars: New Hope but with SWORDS, CASTLES.... oh, and DRAGONS!
Youre book cant be that bad, I mean Twilight got published, and even 50 shades got too and that was just a fanfic.
Slight criticism... As a studied writer myself, I'm still learning. I feel as though I fall into the 'preaching to the choir' section, but I can remember a time when this video would have described me perfectly. If I had watched it at that time, (and it might just be me) I would have seen it as someone telling me I wasn't good enough and not, as I'm sure you were meaning it, that I can be good enough, it just takes time. I just felt like this video might make people put the time into the wrong thing. The best way to get better is to write and keep writing weather you think that what you just wrote was terrible or not. All I'm suggesting is that in future videos of this type (which I hope you do) don't alienate and embarrass new writers by saying, if you don't know this word, if you don't know how to do this, if you don't do that already, you're not good enough yet. Instead help them if that's your goal. Say, "if you don't know this, don't throw out everything you've done and start again. I'll teach you what this is or what this means and then you can use it going forward and not backwards."
When it comes to art, my philosophy is as follows. "What really matters in life is that people care about you. Whether it's a whole crowd or just one die hard fan." I may not be as popular as Tolkien, C.S. Lewis or George R. R. Martin. But I have quite a number of loyal readers who find my work entertaining. (Thank you Harold Zoid from Futurama for the above quote)
Can you do a how realistic isfor Stormwind? From World of Warcraft? I think it would make an awesome castle overview!
But what about dragoons?
SJW´s have ruined all fiction
I have an idea for a new video: "What weapons would a Demigod use?" Basicilly I wonder after seeing Bahubali and Hercules what would be the best weapons to use for a Guy with superhumam strength.
I have been writing a grand adventure story over the past 3 years and I have been doing it in a very interesting way and I think it will yield good results. Simply I have broke down every single main event from start to finish. on each of these broken down bullet pointed events I write smaller events that build up to and that proceed each of these main points. Then within these smaller points I do a breakdown and highlight what makes these events occur. in brackets under each bullet pointed event I then write in how all the relevant characters perceive these events. Right now I am developing character bios and how each character goes through their own development at each point. and I am also doing the dialogue for each scene between characters within each event and then I do how the actions and movements play out and how that effects the story. When this is done I will be simply writing within these boundaries that are very specific, this way I will understand in detail how every event will go down how my characters are needed to develop to reach their goals. I am writing in third person limited and my focus is on building consistent characters with a plot that is air tight. The reason I a going about it this way is because I find in my writing prior to this people comment on the very artistic and vivid way I describe things with a story. I also have been know to develop great concepts but I never have enough knowledge about my own characters and tend to improve my ideas all the time so by doing it this way it gives me a chance to get a 100% fleshed out idea where its simply a case of sticking to my guns and using my noted strength of description to string these events together in a meaningful way so that people can enjoy what I write because that is why I want to write in the first place. I understand you are super busy @Shadiversity so if you have taken the time to read this and offer your opinion then I would appreciate that and hopefully when I reach the deadline I have given myself of 2 years I would very much like for you to give it a read over.
5:14 - Actually, Brandon Sanderson addresses this as well, at least in the 318R lectures on the Camera Panda channel. He describes how a book is made up of five different things: Plot Setting Character Conflict - this connects to all three of the above And finally, The Box, which contains all four of the others inside it. He describes "The Box" as tense, perspective, paragraphing, etc. More info can be seen in his lectures themselves. I just wanted to point out that he didn't miss it, he just included it in a different way.
My publisher is waiting for me to submit my manuscript, I'm at 301 pages and nearly done with the first draft with virtually no experience in all of this. I know i have massive editing to do, but these videos are pretty damn informative.
Lol I had to stop the video and look up those perspectives.
Brandon Sanderson if probably my favourite author. I was delighted to hear his name here.
I am here to tell you that you are not this person Next young Stephen King watching this video grins " me" Stephen King was himself before he was recognized, Frank Herbert was himself before he was recognised, it is entirely possible that yes, you are that person. Geniuses are rare...but they do exist
It's really nice to hear I'm not the only one who writes trash =D
A writer is someone who writes. A novelist is someone who publishes their work, namely novels.
As I'm not a native English speaker, I'm already lost when you are using 1st, 2nd and 3rd something. I've no idea what that's about. Or what the equivalents are in my language. But I do understand the message you are giving, and it is a good one.
I know the difference! I have hope!
Somebody already made dragon ball into a brilliant novel. It's called Journey to the West.
Thank you so much Shad, as an aspiring writer I appreciate videos like these. Cheers!
Does this mean that my literary analysis obligations in secondary school and me getting compliments on my writing will help in writing my book(s)? I always liked the analyzing from perspective to plot and deeper layers. I got high marks on all types of texts I wrote from a simple report type thing to scientific articles and I always loved doing it. I also recently came across a traditionally published that had words missing from sentences several times and one time the past perfect was incomplete. What makes this even worse: I am not a native English speaker (as can be seen on my name. I am Dutch). I found it really sad that natives didn't even notice... The book had great atmosphere though. Which is what I love about these author's books <3
I was literally JUST about to finish my third chapter XD Opened youtube for some background music (witcher 3 ost) and saw this.
Hey shad, I am an inspiring author. Well in truth I'm definitely an amuture. Any way, I was curious to know what advice would you give me on how to make a modern-day fantasy novel work?
I often think my writing is crap and then others tell me its pretty good.... considering the people who tell me this are pretty brutal I'll take their word.... Try self publishing the book you like the most of your 7 and let the market decide if its crap
Is this worth watching if i want to draw and write my own comics?
If the Bigfoot Wars series can get five books published, you can get five books published. To be serious I wouldn't recommend just jumping right into novel writing. You can, sure, but I find you can learn and experience more from writing A TON of short stories in various styles and genres. Though the most important thing I think you can do is to share your work with people. A lot of people. You'll get fairly criticized and unfairly shit on but that's the internet, you gotta get over the fact that xXx420RacerSlimjimxXx thinks your story is "fyckng garbge." Like Shad says, rejection is coming, it's unavoidable, don't take it personally. Learn from it.
Shadiversity, does skill have an upper cap? I am thinking especially in relation to fantasy universes where some creatures can live for very long, typical examples being elves. How would that affect their skill and proficiency with their weapon? Essentially, 'how good' can you get at fighting and swordplay, assuming similar to human physicality. Imagine a 500yr old fighter who spent 400 yrs of his life practicing his art. How much better would he be than say a typical human knight who had spent a decade or so on his craft? Also, in another example, would the 500yr old fighter be significantly better than a 300yr fighter, or would the difference here be less even though there were centuries of years in difference? If you had 1000s of years to practice, how long would it take you to master everything you could master in a given fighting style? Or is there even such an upper limit? This question is especially inspired by how fast, relatively speaking, many of our elite forces on Earth are trained to amazing levels of ability(think special forces, Knightly Orders etc), and myself suspecting that the difference between a 50yr old fighter and a 500yr old fighter wouldn't be that different, even if they both spent an equal portion of their lives training. If you had eternal youth & time, how long would it take for you to become the best you could be, at which point there were no significant improvements you could make to your fighting style? Would like to hear your input on this!
I never tried to write a book before I just watch videos about how to write books I might write one in the future I got a good idea for one
Wow, what a great, informative piece of clickbait.
If I was indeed lacking the commitment to finish a book, you just gave it to me.
Shad, did you ever publish your work(s)? I was hoping to find some but no luck so far :(
Really helped, thanks!
It's kinda shit when you write the whole book then realize you don't really have a central conflict so you have to rewrite the whole thing xD
Writing novels like thisis too hard, maybe i should read more first.
Information sharing time, I’ve found these YouTube channels to be a good starting point for information about writing.
10.32 ... and develop professional writting ability. At that point I stopped the video.
As a person that doesn't have english as first language, how do you think this beginning paragraph is? As an incredible pain was burning through his body, Michvar opened his eyes, but the blinding light that surrounded him closed them again. - Easy, darling, you've been through a lot. said a soothing voice. - Who are you? he asked, quickly following with a moan of pain as every breath would increase his agony. - Don't worry, my name is Mirona. I'm a nurse. You're safe here. - Here? Where is this here? And what is this pain in my chest? Michvar said between moans and sighs of torment. - You're inside an emergency tent. One of the Night Archers brought you here, but you're not one of them, because you're a human. - H-how did he look? - Who? - Whoever brought me here. - How did he look? Like all elves do. Handsome, amazing blue eyes, strong and slender body... he did, however, have a very large scar on his forehead. - What company was he from? - What do you mean, luv? - Was he wearing a badge or a distinctive symbol on his clothing? - Oh, yes, a blue owl. Why? If he wouldn't have been in such agonizing pain, he would have rejoiced hearing news of his recent friend, Vaehnad. - It... it doesn't matter. I think I remember a bit more of what happened... we were tasked to find a good spot, close to the city but safe from enemy fire to begin digging a tunnel under the walls... after I found it, I asked my men to come and help me start building a few painted palisades to hide the workers... then I remember the sound of an orcish horn and being struck by a javelin... I must get back there and continue our work. - I'm afraid you cannot do that. - Look, I know I'm wounded, but I was wearing armour. A javelin couldn't have harmed me that much. - As long as 'that much' means two shattered ribs, a pierced lung and a heart missed by less than finger's width, then you are right. - But... i remember wearing the best plate avilable for foot soliders,a javelin could barely pierce that. Even hurled by an orc. - True. But it wasn't a javelin. It was an orcish arrow from a warbow. The wound could only be caused by that. - No arrow has ever pierced Natvarnian plate. he said, proudly Not human, nor elven, and not even dwarven crossbows have done it.. - No, but from what I have seen on this front many times now, against an orcish arrow yiu might as well wear leaves. Soliders tell of how large their bows are. My brother lost a hand to such an arrow.When it happened, he was close enough to the shooter to see the bow. It was the size of "a man's body" and "as thick as his thigh", in his words. That's where I'm cutting it, even though the interesting part is what follows.What do you think i have done wrong? What and how should I improve?
I remember the time I wished to be a fantasy writer.... Then I realized I don't feel no joy from it that I feel from reading one. When writing you decide the beginning, mid, and end, then build up the rest on it.... which just felt like a chore.... my general idea was that I also get to enjoy the story whilewriting just like a reader would. Well... that just means I'm a consumer and not a maker.
Is there a second person perspective?
Please do more of these kinds of videos! This was such a good watch!
Bad idea + good writer = Good book As proven by Jim Butcher with the Codex Alera, a series literally written for a bet in order to prove the truth of said formula.
How do you spell the second type of third person writing?
I'm not afraid to publish my garbage (as in, make publicly available, publishers are the worst). I have no illusions, I will probably never be able to paint with words in a language I didn't speak half of my life, but publishing is very important for getting feedback on what to improve, and anyone's opinion is perfectly relevant; because even if you aren't an acclaimed content creator, so someone who'd be qualified to give professional feedback, as the very person the content was intended for, you can still voice your opinion on what you'd consider an improvement. You gave me some hope though, I've never ever heard of third person omniscient vs. limited before, but I used the appropriate one consistently in the first draft of my very first story (wouldn't call it a book).
Ahem - "and develop professional writting ability" ... writing?
Hey Shad, in the extremely unlikely off chance that you see this, I have a question: Can writing style be improved considerably? I dare think that I can create a good setting, I can come up with decent story and possibly characters. But even before I watched this, i know for a fact that my writing absolutely sucks, based on past experience, even by self-evaluation. Quite simply, my writing is about as interesting to read, as a lexicon or phone book. You get to know all required information, but very little "embellishments" or unnecessary-to-describe-for-the-event details. The annoying thing is that like pretty much everyone, I too, think that I have a grand idea, but I know that if I put it to metaphorical paper with my curent skills, it is going to be absolute garbage that even I would not want to read.
So basically, a good story doesn't make a writer, a writer makes a good story
What's your take on setting building. How important? To what extent or depth should you go too beforehand or during writing a book? As well as mapping out organisations, plots, arcs, major characters, nations, empires, empires, politics, and so on and so on.
But I am special it says on (would it be a birth certificate idk) my school i.e.p (I'm autistic if you don't get the joke )
Thank you so much, I am loving the Writing Excuses podcast.
Great video
Back in the day when I was all into World of Warcraft lore I attempted to write some fan fiction and even tried to conduct a roleplaying thread on a WoWRP forum page. The fan fiction (which was never finished) was in my opinion pretty good the RP thread was a disaster though. Those attempts have taught me a lot about my own writing strengths and weaknesses. Anyway, that was long but thank you shadiversity. This video has been really helpful.
What if I'm interested in the creative writing process simply for the sake of curiosity,not because I actually want to write?
Been listening to Sanderson's lectures for months! Thank you for confirming that I've been on the right path to write a decent book.
Awesome video! especially since you give away an important tip that i have not heard so far. i will have to train much much more to produce good prose... problem is so far i am even stuggling to get over the first chapter...i love thinking about my stories, but finding good ways of telling them... kills me every time...
"and develop professional writting ability" ... was that deliberate?'Cause it was hilarious!:D
I started writing at the tail end of high school then when onto a Diploma of Writing and Editing. What I learnt from the time spent in that course has made me a better author. What I personally struggle with is spelling and grammar, if this skill isn't up to a professional standard don't even bother sending it into a publisher because they won't bother reading it. I was lucky enough to have a editor from Penguin as a teacher and she said this. This video has covered some things that I've learnt in class, listen and take note all this is on point.
Maybe I'll be a newspaper columnist instead.
Thanks, Shad! I really appreciated this video! I have published a scientific work before, and I've been thinking of starting a very special, medieval-type novel, so this kind of information is very much appreciated!
Where can I buy a book written buy you?
Great video Shad. I have a question for you: When writing fantasy fiction, is it ever alright to alter the definitions of objects that differ from our own historical reality? (e.g. arming sword = longsword, or even crazier, sword = axe) Why would anyone do this? I'm not sure, to completely take control of any historical weaponry development. But would it be feasible? Sorry for the long wind.
I have been writing fiction since 2009 (since 2014 more or less intensively) and have got one book written start to finish (and worked on it for a year after that, and it still is not completely done) and the thing which came to me as the most shocking and disappointing is not actually about what you write (story, sentence level et cetera) but about how you do it. The thing is that, as I've found out, you HAVE TO PLAN IT ALL before you even start writing the first sentence of your first chapter. I mean, the story, the characters, the setting must all be clear in your mind at that point (to some degree, at least) and written somewhere where you can look them up easily.My advice to every other aspiring writer - don't traverse the unknown, plan it all before writing (or there'll a hell's load of text to rewrite when you find a mistake in plot/chatacter/any other important thing)
"The great idea does not make a great story.A terrible idea with a good writer makes a great story" - this is how Jim Butcher's Codex Alera was born.It was 2 horrible ideas - lost roman legion and pokemon - and it was a great story, in spite of the horrible ideas.He wrote the books on a bet proving that point.
I worked real hard on my prose to be honest :O I agree with this video wholeheartedly
Even as an experienced writer, I'm still constantly catching myself accidentally slipping in 'omniscient' perspective into what is meant to be limited perspective centered around my main character.It's not so much that I don't know how to do it, but just that it's hard to filter out in first drafts.Usually it takes a few editing passes before I get it into the proper perspective style. I can also say that even though I'm not actively working on a novel at this time, everything I've learned about writing over the last few decades is also extremely helpful in game design writing rulebooks.
Don't fall into the intellectual trap, either. Writing is as much about instinct and wisdom as it is about knowledge/education. If you let your head get in the way of your heart, you'll never write a moving work of fiction.
A very healthy attitude towards work and improvement, imho.This is what success takes.Realism.Working at it.A generally optimistic attitude towards what what that work might result in.Humility, with some assertiveness.
For the sake of clarity, I am to assume that Third Person Limited is focusing on ONE Character and their thoughts while Third Person Omniscient is focusing on MANY characters. Is that the simplest way to put it or is much more than that May I ask?
The best advice ever. Hope to see more of this <3 <3 <3
I'm currently working on a sci-fi coming of age novel, and I've gotten to the proofreading stage, which is my second least favourite part of the process. I decided I'd come to YouTue and procrastinate, but DAMMIT THIS ISN'T HELPING!
I tried to write books nearly a decade ago. For some reason I couldn't find the time to continue. Maybe I didn't want to. That's entirely possible. Thanks to your video, Chad, I'm giving it another try.
Its so annoying! You see, i love fantasy. BUT! its so annoyingwhen i start writing a novel/novella, but then i re-read it and realize that i've copied other novels. Especcially "Game of Thrones". Does anyone have any advice on how to not copy other novels or stories. Also i don't fully understand how to format my novel
First of all, and foremost, I like your videos. They are direct and to the point. They don't pull punches with what you believe (A common problem with some people trying to be to tactful).Thank you for these. Now, just a side point. Did you put "fiction novel" in the title on purpose? That made me cringe. That is a major faux pas if you are querying (or any kind of professional writing). To explain quickly; ALL novels, are fiction and thus putting "fiction novel" is redundant. Again, like I said above, Awesome videos and thanks for them. :D
As a fellow aspiring writer, as soon as you mentioned the concept of prose, measure, and wordcraft in general, I realized what it was that was beginning to frustrate me in my stories. I don't pursue writing professionally, but I love creating narratives and as long as I can get one person to enjoy a story, I've done what I sought to do, but there are always ways to improve and effect a larger group positively, as well as create a more believable and enjoyable setting and story. Thank you for making this video Sir Shad, and as mentioned before I would love if you would make a few more of these types of videos, if and when able; thank you so much and enjoy your day. Also... SWORDS!
I need punctuation help. The issue is that I don't know if I should start a dialogue/qoute with a new sentence, or just let it flow in, without a punctuation. Here's the piece: Vicar was worried about what had happened, unknowing of wether the lady was rude or had scammed his daughter "Selene, what's the matter?" He asked. Or should it be Vicar was worried about what had happened, unknowing of wether the lady was rude or had scammed his daughter. "Selene, what's the matter?" He asked. Tell me if I need to add any changes.
I would advise people to not be perfectionists. You've got to accept that the first time you write something it's probably going to suck significantly. The way I try to get through this is by focusing on the story and ensuring it is something I love, and I will work on my prose later, because if I never get the story done, the prose isn't going to happen anyway.
Advice on how ro be a good writer: Don't take advice from a writer 😂
I recommend writing Fanfiction first. Firstly, i've noticed that the fanfiction community is pretty good about giving you useful feedback, secondly, you can focus on just writing something neat instead of having to create an entire bloody world and thirdly, the expectations are lower, so its great practice.
Damit; i found this channel waaay too late. I try to be a writer too and have some great ideas for storys. My problem is, that i find my mistakes waaay to quick. i remember that in one attempt i just dumped information at the reader so i dropped it (one page describing the gear of the main character is definitly overkill). another time, the translation between dialog and action was cringie, anoter time i did go way too much into the details of an action and the last time, the main conflict of the story made NO sense (it was embarassing but i managed to fix it). Also i am lazy. I try to analyze how other, popular authors of my favorite stories tend to write and structure (mainly Timothy Zahn and Terry Pratchet) their stories and like now, i dont know how to end a seqment of a text due to my constant, personal issue of NOT BEEING ABLE TO STOP TALKING. Keep up the good work and help some people learn to write, maybe people are then finally able to write decent Fanfiction, even though i dont read it myself but hear enough about them to cringe about it. Greetings from Germany (i tend to put that at the end of almost any comment i make)
"Greeting, I'm. Shad and I..." -"Love swords?" " a writer." -"ah yeah.. That's why i was here..."
You know, it might be a little more useful to actually define and explain the importance of some of these important concepts instead of saying "if you cared, you would know it already." I understand that watching a YouTube video is a lot more passive than college-level research, but you should give the audience the benefit of the doubt that they are researching and are using your video as a source. Here's some useful advice: cut down on fluff: 18 minutes for "check these links" is too long, misleading!
Have you read "Stephen King's On Writing"?If not I recommend it.
Have you read "The Art of Fiction" by Ayn Rand?
Lol I totally thought you'd been saying " third person *omitted* " this whole time instead of *omniscient* !! I was so confused. 😂
No offense but I don't love Brandon Sanderson. I would recommend The Red Knight - Traitor Son series. It's so full of action, realistic medieval lifestyle/armor/culture/castles, etc., and it blows me away. It's like historical fiction but with a fantasy dressing. It's quite enjoyable in my opinion. Check it out!
I really enjoyed this video it's really helpful. I'm all for constructive criticism, especially when it's being made by a very trustworthy person like yourself. I love writing and it has become part of my passion for game design and I strive to make games that have very rivoting story and dialogue as well as good gameplay so I always seek to improve upon what ever I can and things like this always really help, so thank you. You keep doing what you're doing because it's really amazing. 😁
And you give me your opinion
Shad, Unfortunately, I'm seeing more and more published stories by major publishing houses in 1st person, current tense, omniscient narrator, screwball "politically correct" genderless pronouns, and other rookie mistakes.I even came across a published story written in 2nd person!Ugh!Even most amateurs who upload their stories to story sites for free know better than that! _Oh, and what about dragons?_
Any thoughts on non-traditional writing styles (highly stylized?)(e.g. A Clockwork Orange; Naked Lunch; Hunter S. Thompson [later on]. etc.)
Thank.You. Praise Shad (and CASTLES!)

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How to write a NOVEL