Last Friday, I watched fantasy author Brandon Sanderson’s online streaming “Write-a-thon.” As he says on his blog:
Last Friday I did a live writing session to benefit the Waygate Foundation and Worldbuilders. The session was recorded and you can see it here. Thanks to everyone who donated and who gave suggestions in the chat during the recording!
At its peak, there were some seven hundred of us writers and Sanderson fans (“Fandersons” as someone quipped), so it was a very lively space. During a Q&A portion, I did manage to get one question in there, which you can find at the 1:56:55 mark. It went something like this:
Hannifin: Do you find it harder to write as you continue further into a project?
Sanderson: Yes. The hardest point usually is the second part of the middle. If you split a book into four chunks, chunk three is the hardest part. When I get to the ending, that usually is easier. Yeah, no matter what I do, it feels like that’s the hard part of it.
I was curious to ask this question because I know it’s certainly true for me; the “second part of the middle” is exactly where I am in The Dark Wizard, and my progress has been very slow. Of course, I haven’t worked on nearly as many projects as Sanderson. But the fact that a much more experienced and successful author finds the same difficulty is clearly a sign that I am a genius. Of course, it’s likely that this a very common experience among a lot of writers; there are just more story elements that have to be balanced carefully in the third quarter, and they must be used in a way that moves the story toward its climax.
The short story Sanderson began writing based on audience suggestions was a bit too outlandish for me to get impassioned about, but it was fascinating to see another writer working in real time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any other writer do something like this. Fun stuff! Here’s the full four-hour stream: