“To uncover the plot of your story, don’t ask what should happen, but what should go wrong. To uncover the meaning of your story, don’t ask what the theme is, but rather what is discovered. Characters making choices to resolve tension – that’s your plot. If your protagonist has no goal, makes no choices, has no struggle to overcome, you have no plot.” – Steven James (Story Trumps Structure)
“The bigger the issue, the smaller you write. You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying on the road. You pick the smallest manageable part of the big thing, and you work off the resonance.” – Richard Price 

Reading Assignments:

1.) 25 Ways To Plot, Plan And Prep Your Story – by Chuck Wendig
2.) The Snowflake Method For Designing A Novel – by Randy Ingermanson
3.) This Simple Story Structure Changed My Life – by Jerry Jenkins (and Dean Koontz)
4.) What Does It Mean to Move the Plot? – by K.M. Weiland
5.) Structuring Your Novel Visual Chart – by K.M. Weiland
6.) Story Structure: 10 Simple Keys to Effective Plot Structure – by Michael Hauge
7.) The 21 Best Tips for Writing Your Opening Scene – by Stephanie Orges
8.) Conflict and Suspense – by Tameri
9.) Unraveling Confict, Tension, and Your Plot – by Kaitlin Hillerich
10.) How to Write a Book Series – Part One – by Kristen Kieffer

__________________________________________________

Writing Assignments:

1.) After reading the first assignment, choose a “physical” plotting method that resonates with you, such as using index cards. Even if you would rather fly by the seat of your pants, try this anyway.
2.) Sketch a rough outline of your novel. Remember this is a ROUGH outline, and may change many times over the course of your writing. If you have spaces you don’t know how to fill yet, that’s ok. Make note of them, so you can go back and fill them in later. What are the major incidents that challenge your character’s inner life and what happens as a result? What does your antagonist want and how is he working hard to reach his goals? These are just some of the questions you’ll want to think about and answer in your outline.
3.) Write a possible opening scene to your novel, hooking the reader in, introducing the main character, the mood, and the setting. You should have at least 3-5 paragraphs for this exercise.

__________________________________________________

Class Discussion:

1.) Discuss the articles you read. Where there any that were more helpful than others? List 1-2 things you learned that maybe you hadn’t known or thought of before.

Getting in the Mood:

1.) Write for 20 minutes: Choose any scene you want, whether it’s one you have planned for the middle, or the end, and write the first 3-5 paragraphs. Share with the class.

Group Assignments:

1.) Get into small groups of 2-4 people. You can base your group members on your physical plotting method, if you’d like. Read over (or read aloud) each member’s outline and talk about what works and what doesn’t. What would make it worse? What would improve it? 
2.) Have each member read aloud their opening scene. Did it hook the listener? Did it make you want to keep reading past the end? Did it introduce the main character, the setting, what his problem is… What did you (the listener/reader) like about it? What didn’t you like about it? The writer should be sure to take notes on the group’s thoughts for later.