Explore the elements that keep your story structure and arc solid and engaging from the outset. All stories have an external goal (driven by the plot). But an engaging story structure requires an equally compelling and primal internal goal, also referred to as the heart (theme) of the story. We will learn how to strengthen the theme by balancing the story flow with the “love” element in your story, whether it’s a love story or a thriller. Next, we will turn our attention to the details — crystalizing goal and theme, and evaluating the story arc to assure a powerful, exciting, well thought-out story.

Endings are everything—and that's why it's vital to get them right. In this session, we'll discuss the many pitfalls of the fourth quarter—including pacing, epilogues, character arc, and how to close any gaping loopholes. We'll touch on the challenges of happy endings that maybe aren't so happy, and how to satisfy readers without wrapping your last chapter in a bow.

Are you tired of hearing that your characters aren't likeable? In this session, we will discuss how to walk the delicate line of creating realistic protagonists your readers can root for, even when they make bad choices. We'll discuss practical ways to use context to build empathy and assemble a satisfying, engaging character arc.

Writing from multiple points of view can be a compelling way to tell a rich and layered story. It allows the author to show the world from more than one location and to show events through more than one lens. While writing from multiple POVs can be a tempting device for authors, it has to be done well and deliberately, or it risks creating unnecessary complexities in the narrative that will be off-putting to the reader, rather than serving to captivate them. This workshop will cover specific, practical advice on the ins and outs of using multiple POV characters to tell a story, whether or not it’s the right fit for a story, and detailed tips on how to make the structure work to the best possible result.   

The lynchpin of solid fiction, regardless of genre or literary scope, is well-rounded and compelling characters. Complex characters are never easy to create, but there are some techniques to help this process along. This workshop demonstrates how to craft an ensemble cast from basic personality archetypes and provides methods for turning those static figures into absorbing characters. We begin with an overview of archetypes, how they pertain to various genres, and how they can be used as the starting point for building a strong cast. We then explore the leading questions that allow the author to mold a truly engaging character from the clay of archetypes. (What are the emotional triggers for each archetype? What motivates a particular personality trait to act or remain indifferent?) We then delve into secondary personality traits and backstory that help round out each of our characters. The end result is a diverse group of characters who each serve a unique purpose in the story.