I hope you’re having a great day.
I’m really excited to share the details of my new course with you: a guide to plotting a great novel.
You can take a look at the course description here:
It’s the result of four years of PhD research into the craft of fiction — as well as my long training in the science of teaching and skill development.
In other words, I will be teaching some very simple, clear techniques for creating a complex, exciting novel.
This is the gameplan: the end of this five-week course, you will have developed amazing skills at plotting a novel-length story.
After five weeks of discussion with me and the other course participants, you will have not only begun drafting your next novel, but you’ll also have mastered skills that will serve you over your writing life.
What if, during this course, you were able to learn a series of strategies and habits that would let you plan out a successful novel draft over and over again?
What if, when you finished a draft, you already knew how to critique it, and spot moments where the story went off track?
Imagine how much easier the rest of your novel-writing life would be: you would be able to dream up successful stories more easily, and write first drafts with less stress and fewer false starts.
And — best of all — what if you could reliably create a compelling, attention-grabbing first fifty pages, an initial section of a book that you could show to agents and editors and get them excited to read more? That first section of a novel would be like your “calling card,” or a “minimum viable product.”
You could submit that section to contests, or give it away on your website, or share it when people asked what sort of writer you were.
You’ll complete the course with a full plan / outline for your next book (or a plan for the revision of your current manuscript). You’ll have written several key scenes, and you will have developed a compelling narrative voice for the book, too. And you will have received useful, constructive feedback on your project from me and the other participants in the course.
By the way: the specific shape of this course came from you, the writers who have visited my blog and joined my mailing list.
All this year, I’ve been asking people about their biggest problems with novel-writing, and dozens of writers have emailed me back with their frustrations and hopes.
It was quickly clear that plotting a novel was the largest area of concern for my readers. How to get started? How to design a compelling story? How to fix a completed manuscript that beta readers kept critiquing?
I knew I could help. And here is the result:
There are a lot of online writing courses out there. Many of them look very good.
I’ve designed this course, however, to be really practical and hands on.
In weekly short videos, I will be explaining techniques for winning a reader over in a novel’s opening pages, for designing a surprising plot twist, and for developing a well-told dramatic scene.
But I won’t just be describing those ideas. You’ll also have prompts and worksheets to help you focus on a new novel idea (or to spot problems in a completed draft).
If you want, you can be writing your novel through the entire length of the course.
And, in our private discussion group, I’ll be giving live Q&A sessions each week, answering questions and helping you apply the ideas to your own work. And I’ll be present in that discussion group every day, helping you get feedback on your ideas.
Finally, at the end of the course, I’ll be available for a one-on-one phone call, so we can discuss your novel plans and spot any remaining problems.
I love to teach. I love talking to writers about their craft and their goals.
Whether you are a “pantser” or a “planner” — whether you like to just get writing or prefer to create a detailed scene-by-scene outline — I’ll show you how to better prepare for the writing process.
And you’ll get writing on week one of the course.
The Course Outline:
Week One: How does a novel work?
— from inspiration to initial structure
— how to get writing and leave clues for yourself
— the rule of “five ones”
Week Two: Hooking your reader’s interest
— the reader is seeking a relationship with your book
— the three rhetorical appeals of fiction (applied in detail)
— the goal of page one is to get a reader to read page two
Week Three: Plot twists, subplots, and subtext
— building a plot twist from page one
— the “hourglass” of plot movement
— after the reveal: moving towards the finale
Week Four: Scene design
— writing a great outline
— key components of a scene
— the crucial role of the narrator
Week Five: Staying on track to the end
— only allow yourself five dramatic questions
— character growth and change
— common pitfalls and plotting disasters
P.S. The course will be available for a short time to an initial group of writers.
Registration is open until Thursday August 10th — and then the course will begin.
Everyone will go through the video training sessions at the same pace, so there will be no way to join after the registration period has ended.
If you think this course sounds like something you would benefit from, make sure you sign up while the “cart” is open.
Join the popular (& free) course
Sign up to receive six lessons: build your writing skills and tell your story.