Writing Fiction that Moves: Write page-turning novels by learning to write compelling plots!
In this course on plotting, you'll learn to write compelling short hooks for your query letters, and you'll learn how to plot a satisfying story that takes a character from point A to point B while keeping readers eagerly turning pages all the way.
If you're unpublished and having a hard time breaking in or if you're published but having a hard time breaking out, this course should help you.
You'll also be able to ask Sally questions in the course or on the companion Facebook page where she keeps office hours a couple of times a month.
Sally has over 3000 satisfied students on Udemy. Join those happy students by joining this course. (oh, OK, there are a couple of disgruntled folks in that lot--you can't please all the people all the time. Thank God for money-back guarantees!)
Is this course for you?
But . . .
WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING about Sally's courses?
And because Sally likes to be fair and balanced . . .
And last, but not least, this gal who really hated one course so much that she left a half-star rating. She perhaps did not see the irony in her remark about the course, which was, simply
Come on in if you dare. Step up. Invest in your dream. And in the end, if you hate the course, there is a 30-day, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee. And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things will be well.
What this course promises:
If you do all the exercises, you'll finish the course with a novel completely plotted. You'll also get a simple template to follow for writing your short hooks and you'll come away understanding what elements go into some of the most compelling plots. We'll cover:
What this course does not promise:
Some questions this course answers:
This course will help you come up with a plot that contains elements that are found in many commercially successful novels, which, in turn, will help you do away with writer's block. It also should give you a better chance of selling your novel when you're done writing it because 1) you'll probably write a better novel after taking this course and 2) you should have a compelling short hook ready to go.
When you are done with this course, if you've done all the exercises, you will have a short hook and a solid plan for the novel, and you will be ready to write the book.
Whether you will write a compelling book or not, I can say. That will depend largely on your imagination and your work ethic.
What is the one element all good books have? I'll give you a clue: It starts with C and ends with T and has onflic in the middle. But what are the three parts that make up a conflict? If you can find a bestselling book that is missing one of these three parts, I'll give you a prize.
Take a moment to tell me, in the Q and A section, which books you chose.
A quick outline of this course on plotting novels, and a short plea to ask you to join our writing community.
In this section of the course, you will work on your short hooks, which means you will come up with a character in conflict and you will add rising stakes.
First you need a character with a strong sense of self and a strong desire.
Conflict happens when your character wants something she can't have. The stronger your character's desire, the bigger the conflict when she meets an obstacle she can't get around.
Who is your character at her core, what does she want in this book, and what is standing in her way?
Add in some tension to your two-sentence hook.
Some of the terms I use are fluid. Some of the lectures I give bleed over into one another. For instance, a character's core identity and her core desire are pretty closely related. Katniss Everdeen's core identity is "protector" and her core desire is to "protect her sister, Prim."
This short article on "defining terms" should help to clear up any misunderstandings I've created by allowing concepts to bleed over into one another.
Write your pitch.
There are three elements of a plot that you will write into the beginning pages of your novel. In this section you will discover what a day in the ordinary life of you character looks like, you will experiment with inciting incidents and choose the best one, and you will make your character stand up and fight back.
We need to know a character before we can love and root for a character. Here you will work on your protagonist's normal life. Even if your character lives in a sunny world and life is good (and therefore seems boring), you must resist the urge to jump right into trouble.
Sometimes your character lives in a harsh place. That's fine. You still need to show the daily life and let us know and love the character, before the inciting incident hits.
Plot out the scenes that will show your character's daily life, whether she is in a good place or a bad place, when the book opens.
Your character is hit with something that tips her life over. Things get bad, all of a sudden. This is an incident that comes in fast and shakes her and makes her react.
Look at your character's core identity and her strong desire to learn what incident can come at her and threaten her.
You cannot have a whiner. Your character must fight back.
Imagine the scene where your character decides to fight back.
In this part of the story your character will try and fail, try and fail, try and fail, over and over and over again.
Your protagonist has set off on an adventure. She's decided to fight back. Now you need to plot scenes where everything she does backfires.
Write novels that will keep readers skimming through the middle by making sure the character is moving toward the goal, but meeting defeat at every turn.
We're looking at goals, action, and resolution for each scene.
In this section you get the last three elements--the dark night of the soul (and the choice that often follows that dark night), the climax, and the dénouement.
Yes, dear writer, you must be brutal here. You must plan a scene that will break your character's heart.
Imagine the scene. Get in touch with your protagonist's sense of despair.
Your book can be that much more gripping and that much more satisfying if the protagonist faces an awful choice and makes a great sacrifice.
See if you can give your character an awful moment of decision where he has to choose between two good options.
The last battle.
Imagine this battle. Is your character able to win? Is she motivated to do whatever it takes?
In which we happily let the character end the story at a level that is better than the good level where he started.
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Sally Apokedak is a literary agent with the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency who wades through thousands of queries from hopeful authors every year. She's also a popular speaker at writing conferences. These things put her in a good position to understand writers' struggles. She aims, in all her courses and conference workshops, to help writers complete manuscripts that will compel agents to offer representation or that will compel readers of self-published works to buy books and turn pages.