A Masterclass on Plotting and Story For Writers
Plot is a verb, as well as a noun. In this masterclass we’ll think about plotting as an active practice of shaping the changes and conflicts in our stories. Through discussion and exercises, we’ll approach plot and story in relation to other aspects of craft, such as character, structure, and genre conventions. We'll also consider outlining and drafting as intuitive ways of digging deep into the symbolic forces that bring life and energy to our work. During the masterclass you’ll also be given various tools and resources on plotting to take home. We’ll end the day with an informal Q&A with Nick Ross, production director at Little, Brown, who’ll tell us about life behind the scenes at a publisher.
Program for the day
- 9.45 - 10.45 Registration
- 10.00–10.30 Introduction: Plotting and planning, drafting and drifting
- 10.30-11.30 Characters as Plotters: how consequence, conflict and change drive your story
- 11.30–11.45 Break
- 11.45–12.45 Genres and Types: from fairy tales to blockbusters to literary fiction, how narrative forms and conventions shape our stories
- 12.45–14:00 Lunch: Explore Borough Market
- 14.00–15.15 Structure and Time in Storytelling: creating focus and tension through complication, surprise, and suspense, plus subplots and the Five R’s of Plotting
- 15.15–15.30 Break
- 15.30–16.45 Industry Speaker Q&A: What writers need to know about what happens behind the scenes at a publishing house with Nick Ross, production director at Little, Brown.
- 16.45–17.00 Final Wrap-up: sharing of resources and informal networking
Coffee, tea and biscuits will be available throughout the day
Advance reading: I shall refer at times to the plotting of Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, Man at the Helm by Nina Stibbe, and ‘Brokeback Mountain’ by Annie Proulx (in her collection Close Range), among other texts. Although reading these works is not essential for taking part in the class, they all offer wonderful and engaging stories, and Fingersmith is a masterclass in plotting all by itself.
A couple of weeks before the masterclass, you’ll be sent an email about anything else you might need to prepare for class, so keep an eye on your inboxes.
Andrew Wille is an editor, book doctor, and writer. As senior editor at Little, Brown & Company in London and as a freelance editor, he has worked with many bestselling and award-winning authors. He studied and taught writing and publishing at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, birthplace of the modern mindfulness movement, and is particularly interested in contemplative and intuitive approaches to writing. More info and his blog at www.wille.org
Nick Ross is the production director of Little, Brown & Company. He’ll talk you through the production schedule from manuscript to finished book, explain some of the commercial decisions made in-house, and answer your questions about what goes on behind the scenes in a publishing house.
We occasionally have last minute cancellations.
Please register to be added to the waiting list