All posts by Nicklas

Brandon Sanderson – 321 – Lesson 2 – Conflict Is The Most Important Building Block

In the second lesson from Brandons Sandersons 2014 class he takes on the important factor of conflict. With plot, character and environment you can make a story feel real. Without conflict you get nowhere. He goes through plot, character and environment and how they affect conflict.

“Conflict is what holds everything together”

Story is when a character want something but can’t get it. That’s also conflict.

Plot

What is it about. Some genres have loose formulas. Others are more open but you have to have an idea of what you want.

Character

Character need to have two of three traits. Sympathetic, want to protag and competent. A sympathetic character usually have something happen to them (Bilbo Baggins) or they do something nice to make them likable. Wanting to protag means that the character wants to confront the dark lord (Harry Potter) or at least actively go after their goal. A competent character knows what they are doing (James Bond).

Example: 2 of 3 means that a character can be competent and sympathetic but don’t want to protag.

Setting

What are different from our world. Is there magic? Are the gender roles reversed? Something should be different.

Hooks

You should tie in plot, character and setting in the beginning as hooks for the reader. What’s special about each one. At minimum 1 of each but character should have 2.

Swedish Writer’s Magazine

A few years ago a Tidningen Skriva (lit. Magazine Writer’s) and they have short story competition that use a theme for writer’s to write something around. Like ”Table” and at the deadline a winner is published in the magazine. I will use these competitions to practice writing.

They give you only 4000 characters to play with and which gives me around 200-400 words usually. They will be written in Swedish but translated. In some cases the character amount can be exceeded in the translations.