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EGL 31 W — Page-Turners: Plot and Structure Across the Genres

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 23—Dec 6
Drop Deadline: Sep 26
Units: 3
Tuition: $910
Instructor(s): Diana Spechler
Limit: 17
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class the week of November 25

Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is September 26th at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is October 1st at 5:00 pm (PT).
Fall
Date(s)
Sep 23—Dec 6
10 weeks
Drop By
Sep 26
3 Units
Fees
$910
Instructor(s):
Diana Spechler
Limit
17
Closed
Please Note: No class the week of November 25

Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is September 26th at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is October 1st at 5:00 pm (PT).
If you want to write a “page-turner,” a book that readers will stay up all night to finish, plot and structure must become your best friends. This course, appropriate for writers of all levels and genres, will hand you the keys to writing one of those books no one can put down. We will analyze successful contemporary page-turners, including Emma Donoghue’s Room, to see how engaging authors utilize story-building techniques: character development, setting, dialogue, and action. Weekly lectures will introduce the components of plot and structure and teach you “The Hero’s Journey,” so you will have a template for writing your own book. For example, you will learn where a story’s turning points go, how to build toward a climax, and how to incorporate twists and turns without veering off-course. Writing prompts will allow you to apply what you learn and discussions and feedback will develop a sense of community. In the second half of the course, students will workshop their writing in a supportive environment, with an emphasis on plot and structure. By the end of the course, you will know where your story is headed and how to sustain tension from the first page to the last.

This is the first course of the four-quarter sequence, “The Craft of Creative Writing: Storytelling Fundamentals.” The four courses focus on Plot (Fall 2019), Character (Winter 2020), Scene (Spring 2020), and Dialogue (Summer 2020). These courses are less workshop-oriented than most Creative Writing courses, instead devoting each quarter to an intensive and wide-ranging practicum in a key question of craft. While these courses build upon one another, each course can be taken independently as well.

Diana Spechler, Author

Diana Spechler is the author of the novels Who by Fire and Skinny, and of the New York Times Opinionator column “Going Off.” She has written for Harper’s, Tin House, The Paris Review, New York, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, BBC, National Geographic, Travel + Leisure, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire, Ploughshares, and Playboy, among other publications. She received the Spring 2015 Orlando Creative Nonfiction Prize from the A Room of Her Own Foundation and is a seventime Moth StorySLAM winner. Spechler received an MFA from the University of Montana.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Emma Donaghue, Room (ISBN 978-5227028204)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)