Discover the foundations of plot development and set the groundwork for how to structure a dramatic narrative.
Plot Essentials demystifies the storytelling process by outlining the essential components that make a well-structured story and showing how they work together.
A story isn’t just a series of events, it is a carefully orchestrated experience in which plot events and character development are strategically connected so that the reader feels a range of emotions as she engages with it.
You need to arrange your plot events so that they continually create and resolve dramatic tension at varying levels from the smallest beat, all the way up to the overarching story conflict.
In this workshop, we examine the types of plots that exist so that you can choose the story structure that is right for you. We will examine writing with purpose and avoiding unnecessary scenes, how to structure plots with tension, and so much more!
This workshop addresses how to:
This course includes
Students have course access for 365 days. All worksheets and notes are downloadable.
In addition to the video lessons, this course includes a course outline to follow along with the lectures and a workbook that will get you started plotting your own story or analyzing great plots from works you admire.
What People Are Saying
“Barbara’s classes are super, sometimes I feel, the only creative writing classes that you need. We work through the nitty gritties of fiction writing in depth and I take my time and work with the elements of the novel we are talking about, pausing and coming back to it. That is something one can’t do even in a live class. And doing more than one class of hers is also really really helpful. Also the resources are excellent”
“This is the third of Barbra’s classes I’ve binged in recent weeks. She always quickly gets into detail, and the good stuff just keeps coming. Not only do her courses kickstart my creativity and impact the quality of my writing, but I’m already reading in a much more critical style as well. Brilliant. As she recommends herself in the course, taking her 2 classes on ‘Writing Vivid Character Descriptions’ and ‘Dramatizing Inner Conflict’, really does help you deeply understand what she’s on about around the mid-point of the course with character-driven plots. If you feel you’ve got a good grasp of characters already, jump in. There’s nothing “difficult” about the content per se, but that background context is so useful. “
“I was totally blown away. It’s not just about the principles, the exercises were really helpful. I’ve been watching movies and dissecting stories on my own now with the tools I learned from this course. I’m learning so much more this way.”
“Amazing class! Super engaging, had me taking notes and hanging on every word, and got my creative juices flowing! So grateful for this class, I’ve already bookmarked several of Ms. Vance’s other lessons to begin now that this one’s finished. Thanks again!!!”
“This course was truly amazing! For anyone who has a loose outline of what your story looks like but wonders about how to lead to those big moments, this is a must-watch. An incredible resource in one’s writing journey. Thank you, Barbara!”
“Barbara is one of the more knowledgeable teachers I have found. Many of her examples come from great works of literature rather than pop-culture, which appeals to me. She incorporates some visuals in the course to show plot and character advancement. Her course is longer than others so I listen to a couple of chapters at a time.”
“You have become my favourite teacher! Your explanations and examples are always well informed and your breakdown of course material is extremely engaging and well thought out and organized. (Unlike that run on sentence lol) Thank you for helping me become a better writer!”
“I said it all before and I can’t say it enough. Barbara is a brilliant and very engaging teacher. Her content is amazing, and I have learned so much. Her latest course is great for building a foundation of knowledge regarding the basics like structure and plot development. English is not my first language, but I never struggle understanding anything. I have taken all of Barbara’s classes and I can’t wait until she releases her next one. #BarabaraVancefanrighthere”
“Really good class. It was very helpful for me and easy to understand, although I am a total beginner in writing. I think Barbara provides a great mixture of theory and practical tips, to get a better understanding of storytelling. Also, I feel very motivated to reread all my favourite books from this new point of view. Thanks for that!”
“Another excellent class by Barbara, far more insightful than any other teacher I’ve seen so far. In-depth look at plotting, and the theory behind it, which I found immensely helpful to write my own novel. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!”
“This class goes deep into the different parts of plotting and, crucially, highlights the best ways to make your novel dramatic and keep the reader reading. I really enjoyed it and learned a great deal. I especially loved the outtakes at the end! Thank you for another great class, Barbara. You are very inspiring.”
“Incredibly helpful! Once of the absolute best teachers I have ever had in my life! I’m almost finished taking every one of her courses and they are all fantastic.”
“The information in this class is concrete, well-articulated and specific. Watch it. You would find it more useful than much of what is taught about writing.”
“I’m currently in the process of outlining and plotting my novel and this was SO helpful! I especially appreciate the section where different plotting/outlining methods and tips are explained. Thank you so much!”
“Really enjoyed this class! Packed with knowledge. I’d recommend it for anyone, although I’d say it would definitely more beneficial to someone with some writing/analytical reading experience already under their belt.”
“Barbara is awesome (and cute). Clear explanations, examples. 99% perfect course, thanks!!!”
“This is not a course for beginners nor immediate writers due to the complexity of the material. I have watched many other teachers attempt to provide lessons in Plot and story structure and to be quite honest, most are geared to presenting a general knowledge of the subject. This includes those who are published novelists. Hence, there is an intuitive nature to structuring plots and analyzing story structures that many cannot teach what is intuitive for them. And as Ms. Vance rightly points out, writers must work out their own approach to plot and story. Or to put it in a manner that easily illustrates that point, Steven King is no more capable of writing “War And Peace” as Tolstoy is or writing “Christine”. This course is for the novelist who wishes to attempt something more than popular fiction.”
“It was the first class I watched from Barbara and I loved it!”
“I love your classes. You are such a brilliant teacher!!”
“Another amazing class. Making my way through them all.”
“Barbara is an amazing teacher.”
“It was a very helpful course. Practical advice that can be applied from a teacher who is skilled.”
“This was a great course. Clear, useful, inspiring. Well done.”
“Thanks for a great lecture! I’ll have fun devouring the rest of them.”
“Amazing class, can’t wait to watch the others!”
“Thanks! I learned a lot from this class!”
“My first course from Barbara; I’m glad I signed up.”
“Enjoyed the course.”
“The teacher give good examples on how create a good plot for a novel.”
Barbara Vance, PhD
I am a writer and instructor who has been blessed to help thousands of writers bring their stories to life.
My degrees include a B.A. in literature, an MA in Literature and Creative Writing, and a PhD in storytelling and media. Prior to launching my own company, I taught writing and storytelling at a tier-one university.
Over the past sixteen years I have developed a widely acclaimed collection of courses designed to help writers develop their stories, stay on track, and finish what they start . . . even while juggling busy careers and a family.
I am also the author of a multi-award-winning poetry collection, and my poems are licensed for use in anthologies and curricula around the world.