Watch This First: a Guide to the Highlights of this Course!

I'm so happy to see you here!

You're going to plot out a great novel and improve all kinds of writing skills.

P.S. You should try out, below, our first interactive prompt. It's all about creating a main character who is opposed to the "main plot" or "real story" of your novel. I'm including it here to prepare you for the full explanation of the character-first approach.

course map: building blocks, the ABC plot, and the quick win

As the map shows, this course is broken down into three main sections:

Module 1 is all about building blocks and craft techniques: it shows you some new ways to see your novel project, and it equips you with an enhanced toolkit for creating great scenes and characters.

Module 2 is where we actually construct your plot. Here, we'll design your story in four stages, spot and fix problem areas, and discover which elements in your writing may be holding you back.

In Module 3, you write. I'll guide you through the outlining of your entire novel and the writing of a compelling opening section of your novel, the first 30 - 50 pages.

I'm Ready to Begin

You've poured your coffee (or other suitable drink). You're ready to  get started at the beginning.

I Want the Manual

You're more of a hands-on person: you want to start by downloading the pre-writing manual. 

I Need Help

You're looking for help or advice. That's good -- there are several ways to reach out.

Make sure (now or later) to download the two course manuals. They are the highlight of the course for some writers.

P.S. Probably the most popular lessons are:

1. Why your character needs a project

2. The ABC Plot in four stages

3. The "perfect" opening to your novel

I also recommend the tough love taught in fake plot.

Look out for the prompts and action steps, too, at the end of many lessons. These steps prompt you to take notes on your own project, internalising and mastering the course's techniques.

Additionally, look out for regular emails from me, coaching you through the course piece by piece. 

Your First Prompt:

Click the image below to start your first prompt: "Character vs Plot"

The prompt will get you in the right mindset for the rest of the course -- and it might inspire you, too!

how to begin the first prompt: just click this image


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  • Cherl Wheaton says:

    I downloaded the pre-writing manual immediately and just got the other 2 manuals. If there is a word for excited, a little anxious, and extremely hopeful all at once, that’s me this afternoon!

    • Oh! Where can we find the manuals? I haven’t come across them yet.

      • They are right at the end of the course — one of the final lessons — plus they are linked to by email.

    • I feel excited too, I don’t usually feel this way about courses, but this feels different already.

  • Beth V Lewis says:

    OK some trepidation, masses of excitement.

  • Werner Meyer says:

    After all the other courses I’ve tried and craft books I’ve read, this is so refreshingly different, and better. This feels to be exactly what I need to get unstuck and take my story writing to new heights.

  • I struggled a little with the character versus plot prompt. The first question, what do you like to read, I put Christian-Historical, and then none of the other questions worked. I had to go back and change my answer so that it all made sense. Otherwise, that was fun. Thank you! Looking forward to the course!

  • Hi David: I’m trying to do the Character vs plot, but my plot doesn’t quite fit because my main character is just a baby at the beginning, but not only that she has amnesia for most of her life and the struggles she has are not understood by her (which is part of the reveal throughout.) Also she doesn’t know who she really is but manages to fulfill her mission despite everything against her to keep her from rising up.

  • I’ve appreciated the addition of tension, conflict and discord within the plot lines, but especially within the main characters as they are becoming more ’rounded’ and real and this is creating more exciting opportunities for both character and plot development. I’m just waiting to see where it goes now.

    I learned from the questions I had to answer in this lesson that my genre, which had up until now proved elusive, is actually “personal narrative” and is a spiritual autobiography of a personal journey involving moral choice, family, and social evaluation of people and their actions. The protagonist wants to believe he is a good person but worries that his inaction was harmful to his brother and to other victims involved.

  • Brent Johnson says:

    I did not find the “Character vs. Plot” prompt to be useful, but I’m not sure how much of that was because I have not yet learned the principles for application. There is obviously significance to the 50% and 75% marks, but neither the significance nor the organizing principle for plotting have yet been revealed.

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