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WSP 115 — How to Plot Your Novel

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Saturday
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 1 day
Date(s): May 4
Time: 10:00 am—4:00 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 27
Unit: 0
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Tuition: $215
Instructor(s): Rachael Herron
Limit: 25
Status: Registration opens Feb 25, 8:30 am (PT)
Spring
On-campus
Saturday
10:00 am—4:00 pm
Date(s)
May 4
1 day
Drop By
Apr 27
0 Unit
Fees
$215
Grade Restriction
NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Instructor(s):
Rachael Herron
Limit
25
Registration opens Feb 25, 8:30 am (PT)
Writing a novel requires time, patience, and very often, a plan. Many writers find that without a roadmap to use for reference, they end up so lost they never finish the book they long to complete. In this workshop, you will learn how to craft your novel’s plot to include its compelling beginning, its well-paced middle, and its satisfying end. While you’ll be encouraged to come to class with ideas for main characters and an inciting incident (or even a partially completed manuscript), this is not mandatory. We will use brainstorming tools to discover the heart of the story you’re meant to write. We will go over the history of the three-act structure and compare it to the nontraditional (but often helpful) four-act structure. We will learn about setting up conflict, planning responses to antagonistic forces, and making characters true actors, rather than reactors. We will learn how to increase dramatic tension and pacing while making sure the conclusion satisfies the reader’s emotional need to experience true resolution. You’ll leave this workshop not only with your own novel’s roadmap in hand, but also with a new enthusiasm for diving into your writing.

Rachael Herron, Author

Rachael Herron is the author of the memoir A Life in Stitches, the nonfiction manual Fast-Draft Your Memoir, and fourteen novels, most notably The Ones Who Matter Most, which was named a 2016 Editors’ Spring Pick by Library Journal. Her first foray into the thriller genre is forthcoming in 2019. She has taught writing workshops at UC Berkeley, Seton Hall, and the Melbourne Writers Festival. Herron received an MFA in writing from Mills College.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)