HAPPY FLASH! FUTURE follow-up, dear ones! While marveling last Sunday over Silvia Moreno-Garcia‘s ability to “genre-molt”, I was reminded of a lecture series the fire dragon introduced me to a couple years ago: Brandon Sanderson‘s BYU creative writing course on Science Fiction & Fantasy (the 2016 course, I believe; a former student of his has outlined each of those class days here). One of Fantasy’s most prolific writers, Sanderson is also a born-teacher, and perhaps no online resource has been more helpful for me in thinking about how to construct a genre-bound story than his 2016 and 2020 courses.
The video below is part two of his section on Plot where he details how he uses plot archetypes (think: The Heist, The Hero’s Journey, The Master-Apprentice plot) to achieve a certain style in the story and produce a certain emotion in the reader. It’s worth staying through the end as he illustrates his particular outline method as a plotter before wrapping up. Whether you’re thinking of story in the context of major genres or breaking it down further into archetypes within those genres, the secret seems to be studying what works well, and learning how to incorporate those elements into a story that’s uniquely yours.