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Stealing from Shakespeare: How to Tell Stories Like the Bard On-Demand Video Course
Stealing from Shakespeare: How to Tell Stories Like the Bard On-Demand Video Course
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Stealing from Shakespeare: How to Tell Stories Like the Bard On-Demand Video Course

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This course includes a series of on-demand weekly video modules and course content led by novelist David Hopkins.

Fully On-Demand and Now Enrolling!

Any questions about this class? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.

Led by David Hopkins, author of The Dryad’s Crown, Wear Chainmail to the Apocalypse, and the co-author of the memoir about Dallas burlesque legend, Tammi True.

David is a novelist and essayist who has written for D Magazine, Dallas Morning News, Chicago Tribune, and Infinite Worlds Magazine. He taught Shakespeare for twelve years in the public schools. Even after his time in the classroom, David keeps coming back to Shakespeare for guidance.

William Shakespeare’s work has moved audiences for centuries, but writers often approach his work with a mixture of awe and intimidation. In this class, we’re not going to learn how to better worship the Bard; we’re going to steal from him!

Great artists often emulate the old masters. Let’s see what we can learn from Shakespeare. Instead of focusing on his poetic verses and flowery prose, we’re examining:

  • Shakespeare's plot structure
  • The interplay of characters
  • And the various tricks he used to maintain his prolific writing career—producing approximately two plays a year for twenty years!

This course is open to writers of all levels and genres. It’s not necessary to have a thorough knowledge of Shakespeare’s work before taking this class. You will learn as we go.

This class will be beneficial for anyone who wants to improve their productivity while writing stories that delights readers. This class hopes to provide a framework for studying other writers. Every great author has something to share. Let’s learn from the best. Remember: “Be not afraid of greatness."



We’ll look at Shakespeare’s influences, going all the way back to Aristotle’s Poetics, and we’ll discuss the secret to being a productive writer. We’ll answer the eternal question: Where do ideas come from? We’ll also explore the difference between episodic and dramatic works—and why it matters.


Shakespeare’s stories rarely lagged in the middle. And yet, nowadays, so many stories suffer in the middle. Much of what’s wrong with storytelling today can be traced back to a poor understanding of Freytag’s Pyramid, which was inspired in part by Shakespeare’s five-act structure. We’re going to redeem the five-act structure!


Shakespeare was a genre writer. He had a keen understanding of tropes and how to exploit them as well as how to subvert expectations. But Shakespeare was probably best known for his ability to develop characters who moved the plot with meaningful consequences. Many novice writers stumble over these issues. This week, we’ll deal with it head on!


Shakespeare had a certain way he liked to introduce main characters. He had a certain approach to establishing the setting. He had ways he preferred to build tension and handle violent moments. There are numerous tricks that he employed, which defy easy categorization. During this last week, we’ll cover as many of them as possible.


  • You want to be a prolific writer.
  • You want to become a master of the five-act structure.
  • You want to write fascinating, dynamic characters.
  • You believe you could learn a thing or two from William Shakespeare.


"The course is excellent. The instructor, David Hopkins, delivers the material effectively, he leans into the camera to make it appear as though he's talking directly to you. Very effective. His presentation style, and occasional levity, worked. The length of the videos was just right -- good balance between short and long; bite-sized for easy consumption and reflection. I related to David as a working commercial writer myself. Too often, academics get behind a podium and speak about this in the abstract, or come down from the creative mountain to address striving writers. With this course, it felt like David was talking to us from his writing office (which, it appeared, he was). The feature interviews were a great touch. I really enjoyed them. The course content was a good balance between understanding Shakespearean writing style and application to personal writing skills. Assignments were appropriate. As someone who doesn't have a lot of free time, I fit this course in. Any more content/assignments may have been too much. This was just right." - Dennis A.


This is an online video class you can work through at your own pace. The weekly modules are entirely asynchronous, which means you complete the weekly assignments on your own schedule. Upon enrollment, you'll receive an invitation to activate your account in Thinkfic, our online platform for video courses.

You can pay for the course in full or use Shop Pay or Affirm to pay over time with equal Monthly Payments. Both options are available at checkout.
  • Instructor: David Hopkins

  • Class starts as soon as you sign up!

  • Course is fully ONLINE.

Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this class.

Instructor Instructor David Hopkins is the author of The Dryad’s Crown, Wear Chainmail to the Apocalypse, and the co-author of the memoir about Dallas burlesque legend, Tammi True. He has written comic books and graphic novels in a variety of genres, and even a few D&D adventures. Of The Dryad’s Crown, Kirkus Reviews wrote that “Hopkins writes graceful and sinewy prose that vividly describes action, emotion, and inner life.” BookLife (an Editor's Pick) said David's series is “A fantasy unlike any other.”