Nail Your Plot In Five Days

Improving | Fiction
A compelling plot will pull readers into your story, and keep them there until the final page. In the lengthy process of writing a novel, skilful plotting will keep your own attention fixed firmly on the heart of your narrative. But what does ‘skilful plotting’ mean in practice? And how do you find the sweet spot between formless prose and a structural straitjacket?

This week-long course is for anyone writing a novel, whether you are deep into your work-in-progress, or simply have the seed of a good story. It’s for avid planners, those who like to fly by the seat of their pants, and everyone in between. Wherever you’re starting from, you will leave with a roadmap for where you’re going next: a plot that compels readers and serves the story you want to tell.

Your course tutor, bestselling author Shelley Harris, will guide you through the plotting maze with expertise, humour and plenty of tea. You’ll be engaging with some of the most useful theories of structure and plot, putting them into practice with exercises and extended writing. You’ll consider the ways in which other authors have tackled these issues, to find out what works for you. Each day will be balanced between teaching and private writing time, and everyone will get a one-to-one session with Shelley to iron out those tricky plotting problems.

Your Wednesday guest tutor, the bestselling Kit de Waal (My Name Is Leon, The Trick to Time) will share plotting secrets from her critically-acclaimed novels, short stories and flash fiction.

This course is for anyone writing a novel, in any genre. Please come having read Kressman Taylor’s Address Unknown to give us all some common ground for exploring plot.

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This course runs for five days, 10am–4pm each day, with the morning session running 10–1.30pm, and the afternoon work-time running 2–4pm.

Monday: Finding the heart of your story

Morning: introductions, the power of the three-part list, three ways into structure.

Afternoon: private writing and one-to-ones

Tuesday: The stories in our bones – the power of myth.

Morning: from folk tales to Pixar – what can our own plots learn from ancient ones?

Afternoon: private writing and one-to-ones

Wednesday: Guest tutor Kit de Waal

Thursday: Plot as prose

Morning: Scene-making, writing a first page: how is plotting borne out in our prose?

Afternoon: private writing and one-to-ones

Friday: The novel as a whole

Morning: subplots, useful rules-of-thumb, alternative structures, Q & A.

Afternoon: private writing and one-to-ones

13th - 17th August 2018

Availability: Out of stock

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Shelley’s debut novel, Jubilee (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize. It was a Radio 4 Book at Bedt...



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