Writers’ HQ’s new ONLINE CREATIVE WRITING COURSE means you can learn the fundamentals of plotting your story, wherever you are in the world. Designed to fit around everyday life and a busy schedule, you will start with a simple idea, and finish with a comprehensive outline of your novel ready to be first drafted.
But don’t panic. There are still places on the Back to School Edition
Starts on Monday 25 September.
It’s that education-ey time of year. Kids are back at Grange Hill. You’ve packed the teens off to uni. It’s time for you to shift your own brain into action and get your novel sorted. Who knows, you might have a first draft ready for next year’s London Book Fair.
Just select your start date under the Book Now Button on the right.
They say everyone has a novel inside them – the tricky part is getting it out without painful invasive surgery. This in-depth online plotting course contains everything you need to plan out your story from start to finish so that your rip roaring ready to get that first draft out, without too much swearing.
Over the six weeks, we’ll help you to build a practical understanding of story structure and plotting. By the end, you’ll walk away with a comprehensive outline of your story and a plan for what to do next (clue: write!).
Exercises, examples, group discussion, swearing and crying will enable you to grow your fictional world and build your story plan, taking it from ‘idea in your head’ to ‘actual real story that’s ready to be properly written’.
You’ll learn the fundamental elements that make up every good plot and the basics of story structure; explore who is in your story, what their roles are and how to make compelling characters; how to add tension and conflict to your story; how good beginnings, middles and ends work; how to break your story down in chapters and scenes and more; and what to do with your outline once you have it.
WHAT YOU GET
- Daily online classes and exercises to lead you, step-by-step, towards a comprehensive chapter-by-chapter, scene-by-scene outline of your story, ready and waiting to be first drafted.
- Lessons from brilliant authors who are at the top of their game, including Costa Award winning Emma Healey, Polari Prize nominated Paul McVeigh, and Bridport Prize winner Vanessa Gebbie.
- Lessons on story structure and how to make your story fit or break the rules.
- How to turn big picture chapter ideas into unputdownable scenes with believable and complex characters.
- A private student forum to discuss ideas, techniques and get advice from your tutors and fellow writers.
- Dedicated support by email from Writers HQ founder and all round lovely person Sarah Lewis.
- Access to the course materials for 12 weeks
- Access to our super sekrit and utterly lovely social media community.
- Weekly inspiration, whip-cracking, writing exercises and prompts
- Optional extra: Sarah or Jo to critique your final outline and give solid, constructive feedback
|Week 1: The Colour And The Shape|
|READ: Foundation garments for a shapely story||00:45:00|
|What is story structure? Do I need it? How can I get me some?|
|WATCH: Authors on starting, planning, and thinking||00:20:00|
|Get the advice of supreme beings Emma Healey and Vanessa Gebbie|
|WRITE: emotions, morals and castles||01:00:00|
|Time to work out the point of your story.|
|WRITE: The Ridiculously Reductive Four Point Plot Planner||00:45:00|
|Here's where your story starts to take shape, albeit a very flat kind of shape.|
|READ: Planning non-linear stories||00:05:00|
|A quick note on dual timeline narratives or an otherwise unconventional mode of storytelling.|
|WRITE: The Slightly Less Reductive Seven Point Plot Planner||01:00:00|
|The next step in your plotting journey *cue X Factor music*|
|Discussion: And relax||00:20:00|
|Well done, soldier. We’ve reached the end of Week 1 and you are a HERO.|
|Week 2: Finally, the beginning|
|READ: The Magical 16 Point Plot Planner Of Your Dreams||01:00:00|
|It really is magical|
|WRITE: Making people||01:30:00|
|Time to get to know your cast a little better|
|DISCUSS: Let us begin||00:30:00|
|What does your beginning need to include, and how do the guys on your book shelf do it?|
|WRITE: Chapter 1||00:30:00|
|Time to nut out that opening chapter. Let's go!|
|WRITE: Chapters 2 and 3||01:00:00|
|Chapters 2 and 3, we're coming for you.|
|WRITE: Chapters 4 and 5||01:00:00|
|Guess what this unit's about...|
|Week 3: And now the middle|
|READ: Sculpt Your Middle For A Firmer Figure||01:00:00|
|Getting from A to B via the rest of the alphabet|
|READ: Productive Procrastination||00:45:00|
|Rest your brain a while, but also sneakily learn about the shape of stories.|
|WRITE: the middle, part 1 of 3||01:00:00|
|Time for more chapter outlining...|
|READ: Writing by layers||00:45:00|
|Time to start building up the details, bit by painstaking bit|
|WRITE: the middle, part 2 of 3||01:00:00|
|Ahoy! The midpoint! We're half way there!|
|WRITE: the middle, part 3 of 3||01:00:00|
|Third act here we come...|
|Week 4: In a surprise turn of events, let's look at the end|
|READ: Elements of a Rising Climax and Exciting Finish.||01:00:00|
|WRITE: The final chaps V1||00:45:00|
|Entering the final phases of that first story sweep|
|WATCH: Authors talk about tricky bits and moving on||00:20:00|
|Find out how pro authors force their way through blocks, struggles and hiccups.|
|WRITE: The final chaps V2||00:45:00|
|Penultimate chapter planning. Eeek.|
|WRITE: The final chaps V3||00:45:00|
|Entering the final phases of that first story sweep|
|WRITE: One more quick go round||01:00:00|
|And then time for a break|
|Week 5: And then?|
|READ: Smaller units||01:00:00|
|How to break your beginnings, ends and middles into chapters, scenes and more.|
|WRITE: What’s the point and what can you see?||01:00:00|
|Turn three of your chapters into a scene-by-scene outline|
|WRITE: But then, so then||01:00:00|
|Turn some more of your chapters into a scene by scene outline|
|WRITE: The midpoint!||01:00:00|
|Make a break for the midpoint!|
|Week 6: Getting ready to write|
|WRITE: Let’s take it to the bridge.||01:00:00|
|Get the final scene notes down on the page.|
|WRITE: Another iteration||01:00:00|
|A fluff cutting sweep before you begin|
|READ: Nip tuck||01:00:00|
|How to declutter, lose the fluff, and make sure everything is neat and tidy.|
|Share your outline on the forums, get feedback, adjust as required.|