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  • Seminar
  • Online: Zoom
  • Adult (18+)

Screenwriting Tools for Fiction Writers

Apply for Scholarship
  • $250.00 Non-Member
  • $235.00 Member

Class Description

The most important element of a novel is a good story. No matter how gorgeous the prose or likeable the protagonist, without a strong and well-structured story, readers will stop turning pages. But story is hard. If a brilliantly shaped narrative arc doesn’t flow intuitively onto the page, writers may kick and scream. Luckily these elements can be learned, and movies are a bold and exciting place to start. While novels have the luxury of hundreds of pages, a film’s story is told in a taut 90 minutes. The story must grab you quickly and hold you with high stakes and tension—or you’ll turn the channel. Film is such a compressed and precise medium, its bones provide a blueprint for story. There are precise beats audiences expect, having experienced them in stories from the Greek myths to Jane Austen to Barbenheimer.

Whether you’re starting the first draft of your novel or revising your 17th, instructor Andrea Meyer will show you how the basics of movie structure, pacing, and suspense can help you find your story and make it sing. Inspired by the book “Save the Cat! Writes a Novel” and using clips from a vast array of films like Touch of Evil, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Get Out, Thelma and Louise, Us and Back to the Future, plus in-class exercises, Andrea will provide tools to brainstorm, structure, flesh out and pitch your story, addressing such precise story-building blocks as creating a sympathetic yet flawed hero with a desire and a need; building suspense and tension; beating out a narrative arc that ensures character transformation; and finding your kick-ass ending.

Scholarships Format/Location

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 detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

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!

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!