Plots and outlines – a bootcamp for envisioning your story
Facilitated by Richard Pope
For three Tuesdays @ 5:30pm, we’ll meet together for the following:
30 minutes of lecture and discussion covering important plot and outline concepts focusing on the beginning, middle, and end of a story. Concepts will include “setting the stage,” “point of attack,” “arc of action,” “climax,” and many more. Out intention is to not only make these concepts accessible to a beginning writer, but also to make them new and interesting to old hands. As in chess, the movement of the pieces is easy to grasp, but mastering them can take a lifetime.
Then, after we’ve equipped ourselves with outline and plot concepts or else refreshed our knowledge of them, for the next hour we’ll practice outlining stories together. We’ll do this by using a screen and projector, together describing and creating scenes, actions, and characters, and then putting them together to create plots. There are a few exercises in this style that we might undertake depending on interests and submissions—that’s right, your submissions!
(1) If someone submits an outline, a synopsis, or even a story description or idea, we can use this submission for our exercise. This would be a great way to help envision or progress your story idea, should you want to participate in this fashion. Please email me for more information.
(2) We can hypothesize an entirely new story together.
(3) We can dissect a successful story, novel, or movie. We might then be so bold as to suggest improvements or alternative pathways for that plot to take.
The goal of this bootcamp is to exercise the mental muscles responsible for envisioning and outlining a successful story structure. My intentions is for everyone to walk away with a better grasp and ability to utilize the concepts that shape stories as we encounter them in novels, cinema, television, graphic novels, and more.
Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way To Success, by K. M. Weiland
A copy of this textbook can be purchased at all the normal places online (Amazon, Powell’s, etc.). If you don’t want to purchase the text but would like a copy, please reach out to me at ThePeoplesColloquiumPDX@Gmail.com.
There are many good texts on this subject-matter. Participants are welcomed to use other texts when approaching this course—most of the texts cover the same basic ideas but in different ways; we’d certainly benefit from the perspective of other authorities.
4/9 – Lecture/discussion on Beginnings—start outlining exercise
4/16 – Lecture/discussion on Rising Tension—continue outlining exercise
4/23 – Lecture/discussion on Endings—finish outlining exercise
Suggestions and submissions for exercises
Do you have a piece of your own writing that you would like us to outline?
Do you have a theme or thesis for a story for us to outline?
Do you have a favorite novel or book that you would like us to outline?
If yes to any of the above, please email your suggestions to me @ ThePeoplesColloquiumPDX@Gmail.com.
Thanks in advance!
About the course facilitator
Richard Pope is the executive editor of The People’s Colloquium. An enthusiastic though unpublished novelist, he’s passionate about the mechanics and structure of stories.