Designing Compelling Plots in Fiction
Like constructing the design of a house, great novels and short stories alike need strong, well-thought-out plot structures as the basis for establishing rich, compelling tales. How do writers design plots that are effective, absorbing and even entertaining without sacrificing character? That feel inevitable and surprising without becoming predictable or contrived? In this four-week asynchronous fiction workshop, we will explore the mechanics behind strong plot structures, why the most dramatically engaging stories are those rooted in character, and learn how taking a layered approach to story building can help better create intricately woven storylines and subplots that add complication, tension and complexity to a narrative. Through readings, exercises, and the sharing of work, you will learn practical techniques in crafting better plot outlines, subplots, and revision strategies that can be directly applied to your own fiction. Readings will include Lauren Groff, Alice Munro, Delia Owens, Arundhati Roy, and Elena
Please note that this is a rigorous workshop with assignments or exercises due each day. Participants will be expected to generate work while also devoting time to giving feedback to their peers.
Olivia Kate Cerrone’s writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Rumpus, and New South, among other publications. Her novella The Hunger Saint won an American Fiction Award and was praised by Kirkus Reviews as “a well-crafted and affecting literary tale.” She won the Crab Orchard Review’s Jack Dyer Fiction Prize and various other honors, including fellowships from the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers (Scotland), the Ragdale Foundation, VCCA, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences, where she received a Distinguished Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.