How to Plot and Structure Your Novel OnDemand Webinar

How to Plot and Structure Your Novel OnDemand Webinar

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The plot of your book is the underlying structure of its story,the specific order and selection of events that reveal information about the characters and their circumstances to create emotional effects and thematic resonance for the reader. But how do you know you're choosing the right events for your story, whether they're in the right order, or if they achieve the ends you have in mind?

In this talk, editor Cheryl Klein will guide you through the principles that underlie traditional narrative plotting,a framework on which you can build all sorts of variations. You'll learn about the three main types of plot and how to braid them for maximum narrative efficiency and elegance. We'll examine who's driving the events of your novel, how plotting relates to character, where's the right place for the book to begin and end, and whether the stakes and characters are sufficient to keep narrative tension high the entire book. Finally, we'll discuss how to create an effective bookmap to see your plot on its own terms and be sure that every scene and event contributes to the whole.

Instructor Cheryl Klein has edited multiple award-winning novels, and she'll cite real-life examples and share notes from her editorial experiences to help attendees develop and expand their understanding of plot.

Please note: As Cheryl is a children's and YA book editor by day, many of the examples she uses throughout the webinar will be novels and books for children and young adults. However, the tools and tips she will share on plot/structure can be applied to any adult category of fiction (and even memoir).

What you'll learn:

  • The three types of plot and four elements of plot structure
  • What kind of plot you have and why that matters
  • Ways to establish and raise the stakes of your story
  • How to make every subplot contribute to the whole effect of the book
  • Tips for balancing character development and forward plot momentum
  • Practical techniques for tracking the progress of a plot in your book

Cheryl Klein is the senior editor at Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, where she edits and publishes picture books and novels for children, young adults, and discerning grown-ups. She has been featured in Time and Entertainment Weekly for her work on the Harry Potter series. Her book, Second Sight: An Editor's Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults, was published in March. Please visit her website at

Who should attend?

  • Writers interested in improving their plotting techniques
  • Writers whose manuscripts have been called "thin" or "slice-of-life"
  • Writers struggling with narrative tension or character development
  • Writers who want the ideas and emotions in their novels to be supported by the book's plot structure

OnDemand webinars do not include a critique.

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