Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Constructing a Plot

Here’s an interesting class, offered by the Writer’s Center. (If you're not in the area and can't sign up, this looks like an amazing reading list that Sarah has compiled!)--

Working on a novel but feel you lack structure? Need a boost assembling a plot? Sarah Blake, author of the novels Grange House and The Postmistress, offers a reading workshop in which she'll dissect what makes a great plot great. Here's a description:

What's the Plot? How to Catch the Tale: A Reading Workshop

Plot--the armature of a story or novel, its narrative design--might be easily one of the most elusive yet essential elements in great fiction. Greater than merely what happens, a good plot works like the music of the spheres. This class is designed for serious writers who want to study great plots with their own struggles to construct plot in mind. Reading as writers, we will spend the first half of every class session discussing a novel or group of stories in an effort to detail and isolate how the plot is working and where you can see it doing its work. The second half of class will concentrate on each other's stories, or chapters, as seen through the lens of our discussion. Possible readings include: Aristotle; Peter Brook's Reading for the Plot; Vivian Gornick's The Situation and the Story; Joyce Carol Oates, Telling Stories; Alice Munro's "How I Met my Husband;" Deborah Eisenberg's Mermaids; Barbara Park's Junie B Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus; Louis Sacher's Holes; Ann Patchett's Bel Canto; Paula Fox's Desperate Characters; Joan Didion's Run River; Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Please note the new start date, May 1. 6 sessions.

For a complete listing of this and all our workshops, please visit our website at


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.