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WSP 171 — The Craft of Fiction: Character and Plot

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Saturday
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 1 day
Date(s): Feb 2
Time: 10:00 am—4:00 pm
Drop Deadline: Jan 26
Unit: 0
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Tuition: $235
Instructor(s): Ellen Sussman
Limit: 21
Status: Open
10:00 am—4:00 pm
Feb 2
1 day
Drop By
Jan 26
0 Unit
Grade Restriction
NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Ellen Sussman
This one-day workshop will examine the basic skills for writing stories and novels. We will focus on character development and plot as the most important elements in storytelling. Through in-class exercises, students will learn how to develop well-rounded characters, how to find a character arc within the story structure, and how to challenge their characters. We will explore two different plot structures—the plot pyramid and the three-act structure popular in screenwriting. Students will build stories in both formats and learn how to adapt these concepts for their own projects. We will also look at point of view, dialogue, and descriptive writing, and we will explore the creative process from first draft to polished story or novel. By the end of the day, students will have created the bare bones of a new short story, one that they might choose to develop using the skills they have acquired. This workshop is suitable for beginners as well as those who have been writing for some time but want to take a hard look at the foundation of craft.

Ellen Sussman, Author

Ellen Sussman is the author of four novels: A Wedding in Provence, The Paradise Guest House, French Lessons, and On a Night Like This. She is also the editor of two anthologies, Dirty Words: A Literary Encyclopedia of Sex, and Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave, which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. She has taught at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Rutgers.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.