How to Plot and Structure Your Novel

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Tutorial Details: 

Learn important principles, patterns, and practical revision techniques for your novel!

The plot of your book is the underlying structure of its story—the specific order and selection of events that reveal information about the characters and their circumstances to create emotional effects and thematic resonance for the reader. But how do you know you’re choosing the right events for your story, whether they’re in the right order, or if they achieve the ends you have in mind?

In this tutorial, editor Cheryl Klein will guide you through the principles that underlie traditional narrative plotting—a framework on which you can build all sorts of variations. You’ll learn about the three main types of plot and how to braid them for maximum narrative efficiency and elegance. You’ll even learn how to create an effective bookmap to see your plot on its own terms and be sure that every scene and event contributes to the whole.

Cheryl Klein is the Executive Editor at Arthur A. Levine Books (an imprint of Scholastic), where she edits and publishes picture books and novels for children, young adults, and discerning grown-ups. She has been featured in Time and Entertainment Weekly for her work on the Harry Potter series. Cheryl Klein has edited multiple award-winning novels, and she cites real-life examples and share notes from her editorial experiences to help listeners develop and expand their understanding of plot.

In this 84-minute tutorial, you’ll learn:

  • The three types of plot and four elements of plot structure
  • What kind of plot you have and why that matters
  • Ways to establish and raise the stakes of your story
  • How to make every subplot contribute to the whole effect of the book
  • Tips for balancing character development and forward plot momentum
  • Practical techniques for tracking the progress of a plot in your book

Please Note: Cheryl is a children’s and YA book editor by day, and many of the examples she uses throughout the webinar will be novels and books for children and young adults. However, the tools and tips she will share on plot/structure can be applied to any adult category of fiction—even memoir!

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