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Secrets of Plot: How to Plot and Structure Your Novel

Novel Writing Master Class 3

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Learn how to plot and structure your novel in this eight-week master class, taught by a New York Times bestselling author and veteran writing teacher.

Whether you're writing a literary novel, a compact detective novel, a YA novel, or a nail-biting thriller, you need to understand plot.

In this course, you will learn how to write compelling scenes, how to craft a strong subplot, how to write a great first chapter, how to end your novel, how to develop your plot in a logical but surprising way, and how to use a story chart. Learn techniques to keep readers turning pages, and discover how chapters fit into the bigger picture. Understand the secrets of pacing and suspense.

You'll get weekly video lectures, written lessons, and assignments to help you put what you've learned into action. You can work through all of the material at your own pace, and you have a full year to complete the course.

HOW IS THIS COURSE DIFFERENT from other online courses in novel writing?

In SECRETS OF PLOT, we focus on the nuts and bolts of novel plot. You'll walk away with solid, practical information on how to create your story arc, how to write your first chapter, how (and when) to introduce plot twists, how to construct a subplot, and where exactly the climax fits into the novel.

While other courses offer a broad overview of novel writing, this course will help you figure out, step by step, how to craft a plot that keeps readers turning pages.

Includes 16 video lessons, 10 written lessons, novel planning worksheets, a story chart template, a workbook, and ongoing discussions.

Course Structure: Each week, you'll receive instructional videos, a written lecture, and an assignment. You can access the materials at any time once they go live, so if you're away for a week, you'll be able to catch up. I'll send out weekly emails to help keep you on track.

Goals and Outcomes: You will leave this class with a clear understanding of various methods of plot development, as well as a map for completing your book.

Origins: I designed the lectures based on my experiences writing and publishing five novels, including a New York Times bestseller, as well as teaching for many years in Masters of Fine Arts programs in Creative Writing. Over the years, through thousands of hours of trial and error, I have learned how to craft a plot that attracts publishers and engages readers. In this course, I share those techniques with you.

Readings: We'll be using Patricia Highsmith's classic suspense novel, The Talented Mr. Ripley, to analyze certain aspects of plot development. Every module includes additional recommended novels for study in various genres, as well as links to pertinent essays on craft.

Proof of completion: When you finish this course, you will receive a certificate of completion from the instructor.

This course is available either with or without critique. If you opt for critique, you will submit up to 10,000 words of your novel for critique from the instructor at the end of the course. If you're not sure you want critique, you can enroll in the non-critique option and add the critique at any time.

All students have access to all video and written lectures, as well as discussion forums.

This course is suitable for writers who want to begin a novel or continue work on a novel-in progress.

SECRETS OF PLOT is the third course in the NOVEL WRITING MASTER CLASS SERIES. You can enroll in one course at a time, or save by enrolling in the entire series.



WHAT STUDENTS ARE SAYING

What do you like most about this course? "Michelle's transparency about the writing process...An informative and affordable course." - Rhonda Filipan

I've been feeling "stuck" for a while and this course really helped me to see how I can move forward with my writing. Faatimah H.

I needed those eight weeks with Michelle. I needed the kick in the pants, because my writer’s block was becoming a nuisance. I needed the camaraderie of other writers, to get out of my little cave. I needed to hear encouraging words from strangers regarding what I was doing. ~Joanne Huspek (Read her entire post, What I Learned From Michelle Richmond, on her blog).

Student feedback from Michelle's 2016 continuing education course in plotting the novel

Michelle Richmond was an inspired choice for this course. She shared insightful knowledge and personal experience from learning the art of plot herself. The lectures were well plotted themselves and were accompanied with podcasts and videos that added richness to the material and community to the group. The content was comprehensive and the references were spot on. The pacing was brisk and brimming with surprising and savvy guidelines.


I was amazed at the amount of material Michelle shared with us. She was extremely generous in finding relevant material online, in articles, and excerpts from books that were very helpful. She was highly organized.


I thought Michelle Richmond did an extremely wonderful job in creating an inspiring learning environment. She responded to questions and comments efficiently and her suggestions were knowledgeable and encouraging. I appreciated the extra effort she put into her weekly lessons especially the podcasts and videos. I would definitely take any other class she teaches!

Your Instructor


Michelle Richmond
Michelle Richmond

Michelle Richmond is the New York Times bestselling author of five novels and two award-winning story collections. Her books have been published in 30 languages. She has taught in the Masters of Fine Arts programs in creative writing at the University of San Francisco and California College of the Arts and has served as Distinguished Visiting Writer at St. Mary's College of Moraga, Bowling Green State University, and Notre Dame de Namur University. She has also designed and taught novel writing courses online for Stanford Continuing Studies. She is the founder and publisher of Fiction Attic Press. Michelle has received the Truman Capote Prize, the Grace Paley Prize, the Hillsdale Award for Fiction, the Mississippi Review Fiction Prize, and the Palle Rosenkrantz Prize for the Best Foreign Crime novel published in Denmark. She lives and writes in Paris.


Frequently Asked Questions


How long do I have access to the course?
You have unlimited access to this course for one full year after enrollment.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact me within the first month for a full refund.

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All contents of this course, including written and video lectures, the course syllabus, downloads, workbooks, worksheets, and course description are under copyright by Michelle Richmond. No part of this course may be reproduced or distributed in any way, for any purpose.