Friday, March 14, 2014

Fiction Friday: Plotting 101

I'm going to be a teacher.

There's a center here in Dayton called Words Worth Writing. They offer various craft classes for both non-fiction and fiction writers, including some by the amazing Katrina Kittle. I've taken several classes over the past few years and even met some new friends that way. So when Darren McGarvey, the owner, asked if I was interested in teaching, I jumped at the chance.

The class will center around plotting. That's always been my biggest challenge, which is why I've spent so much time (and we won't even discuss how much money) studying it. The class is an amalgam of the things I learned at the Robert McKee Story seminar, from working with Mary Buckham, and at the online knee of Jenny Crusie in the McDaniel program, with stuff from a lot of other plotting wonks thrown in for good measure. I'm planning on lots of hands-on, interactive stuff, because that's the way I like to learn.

Here's the syllabus:
  • Week 1--The Basics
    • Common Novel Structures
    • Protagonists and Antagonists
    • Conflict and Goals
  • Week 2--The Building Blocks of Story
    • Acts
    • Sequences
    • Scenes
    • Beats
    • Turning Points
  • Week 3--Character Arc
    • Plot arc vs. Character arc
    • Subplots
We'll be using familiar movies (Toy Story, The Wizard of Oz, The Fugitive, Pretty Woman, Moonstruck) to illustrate the points. And talking about people's individual manuscripts, and how these concepts can be used to strengthen them.

Because I've never taught before, I asked Darren to limit the class to 6 students. A couple of slots filled the very first day and a couple more people have registered since then.

It's a little scary, trying something new at this point in my life (I turned 60 last month). But then I think about what Carol Matthau said:

There is no old age. There is, as there always was, just you.

And that's who's going to be teaching in April.

Just me.


  1. I think you will be amazing! NO doubt!

  2. Excellent news! I bet you'll be a fantastic teacher. :D

    And I love that quote. That pretty much sums up my views on age and ageing, to whit, I've never understood why it's such a big deal to so many people. (Especially the people who start moaning that they're "getting old" when they turn 20 or 30...)

  3. You'll do fine. You've been practicing on me on Saturdays.

  4. Quoting your seven year old self -- " and I contain me always."


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