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PLOTTING THE NOVEL: How to Plot & 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 sprawling 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 compelling subplot, 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.

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

In PLOTTING THE NOVEL: How to Plot a Novel That Sells, 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. It also offers real-time interaction with our monthly live class.

Includes 14 video lessons, 8 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.

Live Monthly Class: When you select "+ Live Class" at checkout, your enrollment gives you access to my monthly live class, where you can ask questions in real time. All webinars are recorded, so you can submit questions before hand and watch the webinars later if you miss them.

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.

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.

PLOTTING THE NOVEL 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. (Students who enroll in the Novel Writing Master Class Series before Sept. 30 will get a free bonus class, Publishing Boot Camp, for a total savings of $198).

Class Curriculum

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Your Instructor

Michelle Richmond
Michelle Richmond

Michelle Richmond is the author of five novels, including the New York Times bestseller The Year of Fog, and two award-winning story collections. Her books have been sold in 28 languages. She has taught in the MFA programs in creative writing at the University of San Francisco, California College of the Arts, St. Mary's College of Moraga, Bowling Green State University, and Notre Dame de Namur University, where she held the Catherine Julie Cunningham Chair. She has also taught novel writing online for Stanford Continuing Studies. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Miami, where she was a James Michener Fellow. She is the founder and publisher of Fiction Attic Press.

Michelle's articles on narrative craft have appeared in The Writer's Chronicle, Writer's Digest, and Glimmer Train's newsletter for writers, and her essays about literature have appeared in The Believer and Oxford American. Her stories and essays have also appeared in Glimmer Train, The Kenyon Review, The Missouri Review, The Telegraph, The Guardian, Lonely Planet, and many other magazines, newspapers, and anthologies.

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.


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!

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