The Novel Mapping 8-Week Zoom Class: Dissecting Structures to Help You Plot Your Own Book, Starts Thursday, May 4th, 2023
Class Starts Thursday, May 4th, 2023
Class will meet weekly via Zoom (Thursdays, 7:00PM - 9:00PM Eastern Standard Time).
Any questions about this class? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.
Taught by Michelle Kicherer, an arts journalist, writing coach and instructor specializing in fiction and memoir. Michelle regularly interviews some of the world’s favorite writers and her work has been published in outlets throughout the United States and Canada. Michelle believes that there are no dumb questions in the classroom, only pretentious teachers.I remember being in my second semester of grad school and the professor asking us about a Faulkner plot. After looking around the room at our blank faces, she asked, “Haven’t you done a plot chart before?” She was shocked when we all shook our heads. In this class, we’ll spend most of our time looking at novel structure – which is one area where many MFA programs lack.
Together, we’ll map out the plot of several novels in order to understand how their stories are structured and why they are so impactful. We’ll then apply those same mapping tools to your novel so we can figure out where readers may get confused, where we can raise the story’s tension and how characters can be further developed.
My writing motto is the same as my teaching motto: “never bored, never lost.” The goal is to keep your readers engaged throughout the story, and for them to not be (unintentionally) confused along the way. We want the reader to have those “what’s going to happen next” questions in mind as they read.
In this 8-week class we’ll look at:
- How other novels are set up.
- How information and characters are introduced.
- How stories move about in time.
- How to make an outline (and why you should make one several times throughout your book’s journey)
We’ll look at writers like:
- Ling Ma
- Percival Everett
- Rachel Kusher
- Lily King
- …and others!
We will then apply those same tools to your own novel through activities like:
- Creating a “brain dump”
- Drafting a story outline
- Sketching a storyboard
- Writing character sketches
- Pinpointing and refining the book’s inciting incidents and moments of consequence
- Each writer will have in-class opportunities to workshop their outline, to gather written and/or verbal feedback on their “back of the book” pitch and to verbally workshop their novel.
- Together, we’ll look for what I call accordion moments: where the story could expand or contract to create the most impact.
"I gained confidence. I became aware of some of my strong points, the details of writing conversation, the scheme of plot and theme in developing a story, and the importance of considering less rather than more when editing one’s own work. These were all elements of writing that Michelle taught. I know my skill in writing has improved… I was amazed that so much could be covered in two hours of Zoom!” - Beverley C. Writing Student
"Michelle, thanks again and again. It’s been delightful to work with you and receive such helpful suggestions, skilled editing, and on-going encouragement. You’ve fed my writing in more ways than you could ever know, or imagine.“ - Geri O. Writing Student
"Michelle was so easy to work with. She was able to provide new ideas, to focus my thinking, and to generate a structure and a way forward that I couldn’t see because I was too close to the material.” - Peter Novak
ONLINE COURSE STRUCTURE:
This class meets weekly via Zoom. Come prepared for a super fun class with live interaction on Zoom each week and plenty of writing, reading, and talking!
Instructor: Michelle Kicherer
Class Starts Thursday, May 4th, 2023
Course is fully ONLINE and will meet weekly via Zoom on Thursdays from 7:00PM - 9:00PM Eastern Standard Time.
Instructor Michelle Kicherer is an arts journalist, writing coach and instructor specializing in fiction and memoir. Michelle regularly interviews some of the world’s favorite writers and her work has been published in outlets throughout the United States and Canada. Michelle believes there are no dumb questions in the classroom, only pretentious teachers. Learn more about her here.