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Join this Free Writing course and become a plotting expert. 

Here is my introduction to "character-first" writing: a free, interactive course that you complete at your own pace, delivered by email. Build your plotting skills and sketch out a  new story. .

"To be honest, I didn't expect much because it was a free course. Boy, was I wrong! 

Even with a handful of writing prompts and advice, I came out with a better understanding of how to plot and with a new story pecking away in my mind for me to write, a story I never would've imagined I had in me."

- Lisa Troy

The course will do two things at once. Firstly, the lessons will guide you through the creation of a completely new short story. And they will also introduce you to the breakthrough plotting approach: the "character-first" story. 

In other words, as you follow the writing prompts, they will guide you to try out and master new storytelling skills -- at the same time as you sketch out a compelling short story, from start to finish.

Start the first lesson

Sign up for free. Get the full course delivered to your inbox. Unsubscribe at any time.

"I have collected enough books on the craft to fill a full bookcase shelf. Daniel David Wallace’s free course has helped me more than any book in my small library.

It's simple enough to move me steadily in the right direction, but complex enough to ensure I provide the depth of character, setting and plot necessary to create a substantial and satisfying work of short fiction."

- David Barry

You will boost your ability with plot and pacing, get into a writing habit, and experiment with new narrative voices and story structures.

I will provide a framework for the plot; you will provide the setting and the protagonist. It’s a lot of fun.

It should be the easiest short story you’ve ever created.

Writers who have signed up to the course describe how freeing and liberating the approach is, and how easy it is to begin.

The best part of the process: this new story will arise out of your specific situation, your environment and location, and your own voice.

P.S. If you do sign up, and find that the course is not for you, you can unsubscribe at any time.

the 12 lessons of the course

“Daniel's Character-First writing course is more valuable than most high-priced courses I've taken. I highly recommend it to every fiction writer.”

Cara Flett

"I loved this course! I could take it at my pace. It gave me a road map to developing a story and keep the reader interested."

Jean Rogers

“I used this course to get into the head of my NaNoRiMo project's main character and found it to be a tremendous help. The hands-on exercises make all the difference.”

Debora Beacom

Michael Noltemeyer testimonial
A picture of me, Daniel Wallace

I'm Daniel David Wallace, novelist, teacher, & PhD scholar

Start the first lesson

Sign up for free. Get the full course delivered to your inbox. Unsubscribe at any time.

"Daniel's class is wonderful. It is easy to follow and the prompts encouraged me to dig deep and write how my characters were feeling. He lays out the steps in a very thoughtful fashion and each step builds upon another.

I did more writing this week using his techniques than I have done in the last month."

- Lisa Endicott

Start Plotting "Character-First"

Here's why you should be writing your pages, scenes, and chapters "character-first":

Grab Your Reader's Attention

Learn the secret ingredient that keeps your readers turning pages: it's the connection they feel to your main character. In this course, you'll learn how to create that relationship quickly

Write Dramatic Scenes that Flow

It's so frustrating when you write a big, dramatic scene only to discover that it confuses readers. This course introduces multiple ways to structure your most exciting scenes so that readers instinctively get what's going on.

design a Killer Ending

This is maybe the fastest improvement the character-first approach brings to your storytelling: you'll learn how to prepare the reader for a powerful, meaningful ending.

Julia Brown testimonial

"Not all good writers are good teachers, but Daniel David Wallace (a talented, thoughtful writer himself) is a terrific instructor.

Daniel is attentive to plot, structure, character, and other high-level narrative elements, but you’ll appreciate his ability to zoom in closely on language and sentence-level concerns.

If you can take a class with him, do it!"

- Julia Brown, editor and literary author

A picture of me, Daniel Wallace

Daniel David Wallace

Creator of Plotting and Planning Your Novel

Your Teacher

Hi, I'm Daniel. I'm a writer, teacher, PhD researcher, and book editor. I create easy-to-implement techniques that help you master the craft of fiction.

I've given lectures on plot at the AWP conference and other writing festivals around the US, and my work has been read at the Iowa Writers Workshop. My fiction has won the Hodges prize, the Toni Brown scholarship, and I've published short stories and essays in many journals. In my regular life, I teach advanced writing skills at a great university. 

Since I started teaching online, I've worked with hundreds of writers as a coach and teacher. Over two-thousand writers subscriber to my newsletter, "Writing Related." 

I'm currently working with a publisher on a novel set in Taiwan: it involves unhappy English teachers and a ghost.


How long do I have access to the course?

When does the course begin?

Is the course really free? How is that possible?

Is the course suitable for every genre of fiction?

What if I'm writing a memoir?

What if I want you to review and give feedback on my story?


"It was so fun to do. It’s as though Daniel is talking to you. I thoroughly enjoyed the course. highly recommended! I think that you would love doing it as well."


"I like the clear and easy to follow prompts. The interactive worksheets were cool. I feel there was a real effort made to bridge the online distance gap in this remote learning context."


"The Character-first method works on so many levels. The course will expand your creativity and propel your writing forward."

Copyright - Daniel David Wallace 2020