Editing for Plot and Story Structure (Oct 9 – Nov 5, 2024)



$300 (Members: $270) | How to edit for plot and story structure | 4 weeks | Instructor-led | Intermediate

Plot and story structure (also called narrative structure) are the big-picture elements of storytelling that we might call “what happens” and “the framework within which the plot (what happens) is shown.”

Authors (and editors!) sometimes think there is only one type of story structure to use, based on a three-act quest story. This is why you’ll often hear writers and editors talk about “the first turning point” and “the black moment.” While this type of three-act structure may be how many popular movies are written, it is not the only or necessarily the best way for novel narratives to be structured.

In this class, we’ll cover:

  • The wide range of story structures authors use and the basics of editing them
  • Helping authors recognize when a different story structure would serve their purposes better
  • Recognizing the intersections between story structure, plot, setting, character, and theme
  • Using conflict to drive plot
  • Identifying plot implausibilities and incongruities
  • Dealing with “nothing happens” plots
  • Scene and chapter construction within the structural framework
  • and more!

Each week includes a new lesson and a new assignment to be submitted for the instructor’s feedback along with online discussions about developmental issues.

Intermediate classes are intended for those with some developmental editing experience or who have taken the Beginning + Intermediate DE for Fiction classes or the self-paced DE 1 through 6 classes.

The class is entirely online and asynchronous (you don’t have to be in any particular place at any particular time to participate) but weekly assignments are due by specific deadlines.