Nancy Sondel's Pacific Coast Children's Writers Workshop
16th Annual    September 28-30, 2018    Master Class to Masterpiece
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“Laura Backes has a natural talent for being a storyline editor. Storyline editors need to not
 ‘re-write,’ but instead recognize and exploit the author’s voice. Our books shine because of
 Laura’s insights and skills.” — Diane Tinney; President and Publisher, Keene Publishing

2010 Home Study

Vision & Voice

Focus Sessions by Laura Backes


Our weekend theme is “A Novelist’s Toolkit: Architecture, Archetypes, and Arcs.” We’ll offer four related craft sessions (nearly six hours): one each on Friday and Saturday; two on Sunday afternoon. Each hands-on session will build on the previous, from character to plot to entire novel arc. The sequence is as follows:

1) Friday: “What a Character! Protagonist and Antagonist, with Archetypes”

Create or refine your primary characters—protagonist and antagonist—while exploring archetypes’ versatile functions. We’ll contrast archetypes (characters capable of growth) and stereotypes (unchanging, “cardboard” characters). An animated activity will add a real-life dimension.

2) Saturday: “Story Line and Three-Act Structure”

Create or revise your main plot arc—character-driven action starting with a tight story line, proceeding through elements of the universal three-act structure (as your unique story dictates).

3) Sunday, Session #1: “Tie Your Secondary Characters to Subplots and Main Plot”

Develop your secondary characters and subplots; explore how they interweave with each other and with the rest of your story.

4) Sunday, Session #2: “Your Complete Story Arc”

Outline (or enhance) your whole novel arc—main plot and subplots, integrated with character. Then take home Laura’s “road map” to further develop your story.

For a detailed description of each session, plus pre-workshop assignments, click the “next page” link below.

“Don’t manipulate your characters
 to showcase a predetermined plot.” — Laura Backes

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