Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Novel Approach: An Intensive Novel Planning & Plotting Course (Lewes, East Sussex)

(click image to enlarge)

A Novel Approach:
An Intensive
Novel Planning & Plotting Course

5 December through 5 January

Give yourself or a loved one the gift of a lifetime!

A Writing Course Like No Other ...

Are you working on a novel that's getting nowhere fast? Have a long-held idea for a novel but haven't started it? Or, would you like to develop a brand-new novel idea to take to fruition?

Regardless of which of these situations might best describe where you are, this one-month intensive course is an ideal opportunity to go from idea inception to having your novel fully planned and plotted so that you'll not only be perfectly positioned to write but already be writing your novel by the start of 2012, just a month-and-a-half away.

** And you'll still have a full ten days off during the
holidays when classes will not meet. **

We'll meet Behind the Blue Door (an hour train journey from London, 15 minutes from Brighton) from 7 to 9 pm, every Monday and Thursday from Monday 5 December through Thursday 22 December, and then break for the holidays. We'll then reconvene the first week of January, on Monday the 2nd and finish up on Thursday the 5th.

This is an incredible opportunity to flesh out the structure of a novel in a month's time, and to do so such that you'll have a highly defined story ready to be written at the beginning of 2012.

If that seems like a stunning possibility, it's perhaps because it's nothing short of that.

Together, in just four weeks of classes — or five weeks including the ten days off during the holidays — we'll not only cover the theory but also actually strategize and plan/plot our novels such that they're ready to be written with a beginning, middle and end established. Not only that, we'll work through what bestselling novelist and writing coach Larry Brooks calls the Six Core Competencies of Successful Storytelling:  1) Concept, 2) Character, 3) Theme, 4) Story Structure (plot), 5) Scene Execution, and 6) Writing Voice.

Included in Story Structure, #4 above, is the Four Parts of a Story: a) Set-Up, b) Response, c) Attack, and d) Resolution. In addition to nailing down these four key parts of our novel, we'll also chart our novel's First Plot Point — during which the story really gets underway with the protagonist picking up the gauntlet, so to speak — the Mid-Point Shift/Twist, and the Second Plot Point, which leads our protagonist to actively bring the story to a resolution, whereby the main characters and ideally the reader are left changed in some real way.

As part of the structuring of your story, you'll develop a scene-by-scene 'beat sheet' which will give you not only the movement of the story from beginning to end, but will also empower you to make creative shifts at this crucial plotting stage before the novel is written so that when you begin the writing process you'll know where the story is leading, scene by scene. This is the real beauty and power of this story planning process, which can greatly facilitate the writing of a successful novel while saving incalculable time and heartache trying to stitch an organically grown story together.

That said, there's just as much room for that organic creative writing process to unfold at each stage along the way, including very much in the planning and plotting stages when we decide what the various conflict points are going to be, how these might be rearranged to make the story more powerful, or find, lo and behold, that something else needs to change and, thereby, save us days, weeks and months of rewriting.

And there's plenty of room, too, for the creative process to continue to unfold as you're actually writing the story. However, with your beat sheet developed ahead of time, you'll be able to make such creative changes far more efficiently. And you'll be making the changes because you see that doing so will improve the story, rather than out of a sense of panic seeing that the story is broken.

So, come January, you'll be well on your way to writing a novel that not only sees the light of day — that is, in actually coming to fruition — but also one which will contain all of the critical elements of a successful story.

We'll be using Larry Brooks' highly acclaimed book, Story Engineering: Character Development, Story Concept, Scene Construction, available via with free shipping. You'll want to have your own copy of this book (£10.49) to read and consult outside of class, so that we can make the most of our time together during each class meeting.

Although the course is just four weeks long, because we'll be meeting twice each week, we'll be spending a total of 16 hours in class, working together to understand and to apply these storytelling concepts to our own novels. It should go without saying that, as a writer, you'll need to make a strong commitment between classes both to reading the book and to applying what we learn together to complete the creative process of planning and plotting your novel. Our meeting twice a week will help tremendously to facilitate this commitment.

The course fee for these eight classes, or 16 hours of class time, is £245. However, IF YOU BOOK BY Wednesday 23 November, I'll reduce this fee to £195, saving you £50.

Furthermore, while my hourly Creative Writing (and Mindful Living) Guidance fee is £60, for the duration of this course, I'm offering participants virtually unlimited one-to-one writing guidance for £40 an hour. So, throughout our month together, we can also work one-to-one specifically on the planning and plotting of your novel — above and beyond our in-class time — so that come the first week of January, you'll have everything in place to begin writing the novel with clear direction as to where the story is heading.

To book your or a loved one's place in this course, click here. You can pay via cheque, online bank transfer or PayPal (using either your PayPal account or your debit/credit card of choice). If you'd prefer to pay via one of the latter two options, please send me a brief email and I'll respond with the particulars.

If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to write or to telephone (07971 774151) me.

I'm looking forward to this novel planning and plotting adventure, and hope that you or perhaps a loved one will be joining us too!

And, as always, I'd greatly appreciate your forwarding this mailing to others whom you think might be interested.

With warm regards,


1 comment:

  1. Online version of the course coming soon. If you'd like to keep apprised of this, I'd suggest subscribing to the Mindful Living Guide newsletter. You can also subscribe to receive MLG blog posts via email.