On the Brandon Sanderson Wired Article

So, there’s an article on Wired about Brandon Sanderson, and there’s a response by Brandon Sanderson, and honestly, there’s more of interest in the response than in the article itself, though the article is getting a ton of commentary.

So I’m linking them in that order, and it won’t hurt you to read them in that order:

Sanderson response: https://www.reddit.com/…/1200dzk/on_the_wired_article/

Wired article (which honestly, you can skim)



Fundamentally, the Wired writer seems to be making some mistaken assumptions about what constitutes ‘good writing’ — the kind of assumption that you see a lot in certain circles, that it’s all about finely-crafted sentences.

Finely-crafted sentences have their place! I enjoy an occasional finely-crafted sentence (if it doesn’t drag attention to itself and kill the larger story in the process.)

But those sentences are only a single tool in the writers’ toolbox, and I’d argue that they are not necessarily essential to good or even great writing.

(Oddly, the writer even seemed to know that briefly, in his final paragraph, contradicting what he’d said through most of the article before, but then he lost it again, rushing towards his final Sanderson put-down.)

I actually haven’t read Sanderson’s books, though I was on the Writing Excuses podcast with him, Wesley Chu, and Mary Robinette Kowal for a year. (Sorry! My to-read list is very long. The stacks threaten to topple over and kill me on the regular.)

But Sanderson was a smart and interesting person to be on the podcast with, talking about the craft of writing. It’s also clear from his readers’ reactions that he offers them many of the other elements that can contribute to great writing — among them, strong characterization and compelling / imaginative world-building.

I’m sorry Wired gave so much space to such a misleading and mistaken analysis — I guess as a tech publication, writing isn’t their strong suit? I hope other publications do better with Sanderson’s work going forward.


(I have not even addressed the tone of the piece, which is weirdly mean, not just to Sanderson, but to his friends and family and community. I don’t know what the Wired editors were thinking, letting this through. Maybe they were thinking — this will get a lot of clicks! I guess they were right in that.)

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