PLOTSTORMERS

How to plot a novel, from idea to outline in six weeks

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (see reviews)

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Outstanding - Five Stars. I've finally got an outline I feel really confident of - I'm absolutely thrilled! Thank you so much!
- Hannah Parry

£90. Six months access.

Part of the WHQ membership

Six week course. Rolling access with membership, or one-off fee for six months single course access.

Join our kickass community

COURSE HOME

Learn how to plot a novel from beginning to end and make your stories compelling, complex and memorable

Writers’ HQ’s 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.

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 you’re 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’s in your story, what their roles are, and how to make your characters compelling; how to add tension and conflict to your story; how good beginnings, middles and ends work; how to break your story down into chapters and scenes and more; and what to do with your outline once you have it.

CURRICULUM

WEEK 1: THE COLOUR AND THE SHAPE
What are you *really* writing about? What’s the fundamental human truth at the bottom of your novel? What shape is your story? Get that first, very brief, very reductive outline nailed

WEEK 2: FINALLY, THE BEGINNING
The Magical 16 Point Plot Planner of Your Dreams

WEEK 3: AND NOW THE MIDDLE
Why the midpoint is the most glorious point of your story

WEEK 4: IN A SURPRISE TURN OF EVENTS, LET’S LOOK AT THE END
Make your end kick-ass awesome

WEEK 5: AND THEN?
Turning chapters into scenes

WEEK 6: GETTING READY TO WRITE
What now?

HOW IT WORKS

1. Enrol
Once you’ve joined you’ll get an email confirming your place and explaining how you access the course. Spoiler: you click a link. Super simple.

2. Read, watch, do
The lessons are a mix of text, images, videos and exercises. To get the most out of the course, try to give yourself at least an hour a day to read or watch the material and do the exercises. We’ve made them as bite-size as possible but also if you wanna do the thing you gotta do the work.

3. No rush
This course is written to be done over six weeks but if you miss a day or something comes up, don’t panic! Go at your own pace. We’ll be waiting for you in the community forums when you’re ready to catch up.

4. No money? No problem
Membership is the cheapest way to access this course, alternatively, if you can’t wait and have no cash, have a look at our bursary scheme.

5. Milk no sugar
Drink plenty of tea, stock up on biscuits, gin for later. Enjoy it. It’s supposed to be fun. Love you. Mwa.

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 winner Emma Healey, Polari Prize winner Paul McVeigh, and Bridport Prize winner Vanessa Gebbie.
  • Lessons on story structure and how to make your story fit or break the rules.
  • Learn how to turn big picture chapter ideas into unputdownable scenes with believable and complex characters.
  • Access to our private forum to discuss ideas and techniques, and get advice from fellow writers and WHQers.

Explore the fundamentals of structuring a story and how to use and abuse the rules to best suit your story

Finish the course with a chapter-by-chapter, scene-by-scene outline of your story and a plan of what to do next

Join our lovely little online community to support you through plotstorming and beyond, plus peer feedback

LOVE FOR WRITERS’ HQ

Plotstormers – guidance, structure, encouragement ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I wasn’t convinced any kind of online writing course could benefit me, having heard other writers’ tales of disappointment, but I would have no hesitation in recommending this one – and indeed anything else Writers’ HQ put out. Excellent in every way, refreshing and full of wisdom.

Jan Tchamani

Plotstormers

The scales have truly fallen ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I had an idea. I wrote it out for 60k words. Someone said it was more like a short story. I was stuck. Then I discovered Writers HQ… I’ve found my people. This course has literally transformed my work. I now have something that actually reads like the outline for a novel. The teaching methods, materials and support (both from Sarah and Jo, and my fellow plot-a-trons) has been superb. Sensible, practical, intense, with a good splosh of anarchy. I now feel more confident about the actual writing and am also happy that the original idea holds up. Thank you so much and I’m looking forward to the next course (9 month…). It’ll be AWESOME!

Liz

Plotstormers

Amazing journey of discovery ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I was a bit hesitant about doing an online course but I liked Writers’ HQ’s approach and the programme for plotstomers looked like the business. Over the last 6 weeks I have made such huge progress with novel. Really getting to grips with where story was going, characters’ motivation, that thing everyone mentions called “conflict”. The teaching material was excellent: just right amount and level. Support was good though I didn’t really get too involved with forum discussions as my head was buried in doing the plotting homework. Feel massively more confident now about actually writing the bloody novel. Will be going on to the next stage with Writers’ HQ.

Colette Batterbee

Plotstormers

Bursting with stories ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’ve written short stories for a while, but this course gave me loads of ideas about where to find stories and how to develop them. It’s also given me lots of food for thought about my writing process and how to approach (and edit) stories. I really feel the course demystifies everything about short stories, from idea to submission, and I’m looking forward to polishing the stories I’ve written over the past few weeks and trying to find them a home in the world. Thanks, Jo and Sarah

Liz O

Writing Short Fiction

TUTORS

Sarah Lewis
Half of Writers’ HQ
Procrastinator Level: Set up WHQ and had a baby to avoid writing her novel

Jo Gatford
Half of Writers’ HQ
Procrastinator Level: Set up WHQ and did an MA to avoid writing her novel

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