I’ve been watching these lectures by Brandon Sanderson on Youtube. It’s him teaching a class on writing scifi/fantasy. But it’s full of ideas that can help writers in any genre.
I definitely recommend them, but a bit on Sanderson first, so you know what to expect: Sanderson is a great structural, nuts and bolts, technical writer. Meaning he knows how to make ideas into novels using tools and devices that have been tested over time.
He is undeniably talented, and comes up with great ideas, but he does have limitations. I don’t think he’ll ever write a truly deep or personal book, and his style isn’t particularly interesting. But that’s fine. He tells good stories.
And these lectures are very useful at showing how he creates those stories. They are full of great tools. Structure, plot, character, prep, word-counts, genre expectations, etc. It’s very focused on getting published, which sounds like the antithesis of art but these ideas have their place.
To put it simply, these videos can give you a structure to fill in with your own unique creations. Combine some of these tools with beautiful and personal prose and you’ll be unstoppable.
I’m reading Steelheart now. It’s a great premise, and it moves quickly. Light, but a lot of fun. A good counterpoint to the wrenching book that I just read.