About this Course
This course guides you through the process of creating a fantastic "character-first" plot.
Before we starting planning our novels, here are the quickest ways to improve your writing: care, projects, and a focus on characters.
A welcome message + guided tour: all the ways you can use this course to improve your writing.
Let's get serious. Why is a course like this so valuable?
They didn't teach you this!
Plot isn't about events. It's about shifts in care.
Major characters should have a "project."
It's SO easy to do this. And it makes your readers give up on your novel.
Start your reader with a character.
Can writing be taught? How seriously should you take the advice from this course?
All right. What kind of book do we actually want to write in this course? What will the reader feel while reading it?
The key to exposition is to sprinkle it lightly — very lightly — at the start. Here's how...
Here's how to start your novel: with several scenes devoted to your protagonist's "project."
A few frequently asked questions about the A plot-line.
Nine questions to help you develop your protagonist and build your A plot-line.
This is how we convey to the reader all the information they need to enjoy, understand, keep reading your novel.
The ABC Plot is your step-by-step, scene-by-scene guide to designing a great plot for your novel. It takes the concepts and techniques of the "character-first" approach and develops them into a sequenced, streamlined guide to planning your story.
This interactive guide helps you design your own ABC-style plot.
We have the building blocks. Now we're going to use them to create a great plot.
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.
Your character has issues! But -- which ones?
How many pages, roughly, you might picture each stage being.
Sometimes the C plot-line requires a ticking clock.
Here is how the ABC plot is working in the first Jack Reacher novel, Killing Floor.
The ABC plot works just as well for a classic literary novel like The Age of Innocence as it does for Jack Reacher.
This might be the second most popular video of the whole course.
This is when your hero starts to care about your "big" plot.
This is the longest, most substantial part of the novel: the middle.
Here is a low-stress way to plan out a great ending to your novel.
Here's how to use the stage one opening with multiple timelines.
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.
This module is all about putting the lessons of the course to work.
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...
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.
Now we picture a main character who doesn't care about any of that stuff.
At the start, the character is doing his or her thing. But strong hints imply there is more going on.
You might not know everything yet. But start now: let's sketch out the secrets.
Describe the divisions in this world.
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.
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.
This is my strategy for getting a "quick win" for this novel project.
Now it's time to plot.
You did it! You finished the course. Now I just want to say…
Additional info, advice + plus our live coaching sessions
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.
A collection of prompts and challenges.
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new tab. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.