Legacy Version Plotting and Planning Your Novel

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Plot

62 Lessons

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This course guides you through the process of creating a fantastic “character-first” plot. 

Legacy Version Plotting and Planning Your Novel

What is "Character-First Writing"?

4 Lessons

A welcome message + guided tour: all the ways you can use this course to improve your writing.

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There are three core principles to character-first writing. They may surprise you!

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Sometimes people think, when I talk about character-first writing, that I want them to write a BORING story where nothing happens. That's not the case, fortunately! In fact, I often tell coaching clients to add MORE story to their novel outlines.

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Here's a preview of what's coming: how to use "character-first" plotting to work through the "messy" middle of your story. This is an element of the course that writers love the most: you can conquer your fear of the long "second act" of your story.

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The Secret Ingredient: Care

7 Lessons

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Let's get serious. Why is a course like this so valuable?

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They didn't teach you this!

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Plot isn't about events. It's about shifts in care.

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Major characters should have a "project."

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It's SO easy to do this. And it makes your readers give up on your novel.

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Start your reader with a character.

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Can writing be taught? How seriously should you take the advice from this course?

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A Story That Reads Quickly

4 Lessons

All right. What kind of book do we actually want to write in this course? What will the reader feel while reading it?

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The key to exposition is to sprinkle it lightly — very lightly — at the start. Here's how...

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Trick your reader with this easy technique

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This is so powerful: when two parts of the story become one.

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The Core of Your Story: Your Protagonist

3 Lessons

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Here's how to start your novel: with several scenes devoted to your protagonist's "project."

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A few frequently asked questions about the A plot-line.

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Nine questions to help you develop your protagonist and build your A plot-line.

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You Should Narrate More

3 Lessons

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This is how we convey to the reader all the information they need to enjoy, understand, keep reading your novel.

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Download the Pre-writing Manual (it's amazing)

1 Lesson

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This interactive guide helps you design your own ABC-style plot.

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Plot Your Whole Novel (+ examples)

9 Lessons

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We have the building blocks. Now we're going to use them to create a great plot.

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By this point in the course, we've studied how to build our scenes, establish "care," and build a great protagonist. Here is the framework to turn those concepts and building blocks into a detailed plot.

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Here's how the character-first approach enables you to conquer the "messy" middle.

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It's critical to give your protagonist a way forward with their A plot.

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Your character has issues! But -- which ones?

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Sometimes the C plot-line requires a ticking clock.

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How many pages, roughly, you might picture each stage being.

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Here is how the ABC plot is working in the first Jack Reacher novel, Killing Floor.

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The ABC plot works just as well for a classic literary novel like The Age of Innocence as it does for Jack Reacher. 

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How to Set Limits on your Novel

2 Lessons

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The very real dangers of fake plot.

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My advice: for this course, write a five or four "one" novel.

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How to Write Each Stage (1-4)

4 Lessons

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This might be the second most popular video of the whole course.

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This is when your hero starts to care about your "big" plot.

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This is the longest, most substantial part of the novel: the middle.

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Here is a low-stress way to plan out a great ending to your novel.

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Your Problems, Solved!

3 Lessons

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The most common issue writers have, when they try to follow the ABC plot: leading with B.

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What if I want more than one main character?

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Maybe you've worked through this course and noticed you don't actually have a C plot? Here are three solutions.

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Alternate Openings For Your ABC Plots

2 Lessons

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Here's how to use the stage one opening with multiple timelines.

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Sometimes the plot takes your character in an extreme direction: perhaps they get a magical job (they become the new tooth fairy, for instance) and have to leave their old life behind. Here's how to make it feel real for your readers.

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The Quick Win

1 Lesson

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This is my strategy for getting a "quick win" for this novel project.  

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Drumroll: The Plotting Manual!

1 Lesson

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Bonus Videos: Start a Novel from Scratch

8 Lessons

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This chapter of the course is specifically for people who are starting from the beginning. And for them — I recommend that you DO NOT start your planning and sketching with a character. Instead...

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Think back to the stories you love. When did you really feel yourself commit, to the story, as a reader? My guess is that there were two main moments: the late beginning and the late middle. Let's sketch out those two areas of your new book now.

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Now we picture a main character who doesn't care about any of that stuff.

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At the start, the character is doing his or her thing. But strong hints imply there is more going on. 

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You might not know everything yet. But start now: let's sketch out the secrets.

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Describe the divisions in this world.

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You're in a great place. You've imagined your ideal story. You've pictured how that story might develop and build. You've created a character and events that might happen to that character. And you've done some world-building and backstory writing. Now comes the fun part: writing out the scenes and chapters and moments that this pre-writing suggest.

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Fantastic. Now it's time to turn these sketches into a real story, with the plotting manual supplied in this course and the lessons of the ABC plot.

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Conclusion

1 Lesson

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You did it! You finished the course. Now I just want to say…

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Resources and Downloads

3 Lessons

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For ease of use, all downloads mentioned in the course are also available here.

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A few brief thank yous and credit dueings. 

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Do you need technical support? Do you want to run your idea past other students in the course?

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Live sessions

2 Lessons

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A great conversation about our protagonists and the idea of an A plot line.

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How to balance and finetune a plot with the ABC framework (live webinar).

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Audiofiles

1 Lesson

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PS Feel free to download, but please don't share this audio-file! If you have friends interested in the course, let me know and I can give you a special discount code.

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Preview of the NEXT course: "Write A Great Chapter"

2 Lessons

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Five tips that will shape how you think about writing dialogue.

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Okay. You know you want to surprise your reader. How do you make sure the twist lands correctly?

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Collected prompts and challenges

1 Lesson

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A collection of prompts and challenges.

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Follow

About the teacher

Daniel

Daniel is the creator of the "character-first" approach at the heart of this course. 

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