Essentials of Plot Design in Fiction
Like building the foundation of a house, great novels and short stories alike need strong, well-thought-out plot structures to craft rich, compelling tales. In this four-week class, students will learn practical strategies on utilizing techniques of layering and depth-building in fiction to create powerful central conflicts and intricately woven storylines and subplots that add complication, tension, and complexity to a story. Taking a layered approach to story building helps writers better organize and understand the narrative hierarchy at work in their story, while deepening character arcs and allowing haunting themes to take shape and emerge.
Each class will be grounded in craft discussions devoted to plot with essays and selections from contemporary literary authors curated to address specific areas of focus. Students will also be expected to share excerpts from their own fiction for on-the-spot feedback. Through in-class exercises, mini group workshops, in-class readings, and discussions of intricately designed short stories and novels from authors like Lauren Groff, Alice Munro, Arundhati Roy, Colson Whitehead, students will learn practical techniques in crafting better plot outlines, subplots, and revision strategies that they can directly apply to their own fiction.
This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. About 15 minutes before your class is scheduled to begin, you'll receive an email from your instructor with a link to join the class meeting!
Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.
For more more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.
Previous Students Say
- "Supportive Environment"
- "High-Energy Class"
- "Inspired Me to Write More"
- Craft Lessons
- In-Class Writing
- The Novel
- Short Fiction