Writing a terrific novel is a complex endeavor. And while there are hundreds of books, podcasts, and blog posts that teach aspiring authors how to structure scenes and plot out a solid story, none implement the most intuitive and effective method for success.
Novels are made up of dozens of scenes, and regardless of genre, time-tested structure dictates what key scenes are needed and where. Most writers are familiar with some of those scenes: the Inciting Incident, the Midpoint, and the Climax, to name a few.
But novelists need more than a few landmarks to find their way across the tricky terrain of novel plotting.
They need a surefire method to organizing all their scenes.
In this video course, you’ll be introduced to an innovative, intuitive method for arranging your scenes and crafting a beautifully structured story. Nearly every great story, whether a novel, a play, or a movie, follows this time-tested structure. And it isn't all that hard!
The ten key scenes are your story foundation. If you don't construct them well, your story will collapse.
In this course, you'll learn these crucial elements of novel structure:
- What the 5 major turning points are and where they’re placed in your novel
- How to know exactly where to start your story and how to set up your premise
- What the ten key scenes are that serve as the framework for your novel
- What pinch points are and why you need them
- How to craft those essential twists and where they’re placed in your story for greatest impact
- Why your protagonist’s goal is the key to great storytelling
- What the six stages of character transformation are and where those specific scenes go
Don’t guess what scenes you need in your novel. Don’t guess where your scenes go. Guessing usually leads to novel failure.
With the method, you’ll guess no more. You can write terrific novels, every time, if you follow this blueprint!
Your course includes video modules for each lesson, slides and movie clips, and charts, along with passages from novels, to help you fully understand the content. You'll also get handouts you can download, including worksheets to use to help you brainstorm your turning points, key scenes, and the protagonist's transformational journey.
This course lays the foundation for the intuitive layering method outlined in Layer Your Novel: The Innovative Method for Plotting Your Scenes. Once you've mastered your ten key scenes, you'll be ready to brainstorm your second layer of scenes. An online video course will be added to this school later this year to help you layer your next ten scenes!
International best-selling author Jerry Jenkins says of this layering method:
"I loved this book. There is so much here, yes, even for us pantsers—because in every novel manuscript there comes that point where we wish we were plotters. And as much as C. S. Lakin eschews winging it, her layering method actually allows for enough creativity and innovation that we get the best of both worlds.
If the idea of outlining repulses you, admit there are times when you wish you’d done it, and give Layer Your Novel a peek. It’ll make you a better storyteller."
C. S. Lakin is the award-winning author of thirty books and blogger at Live Write Thrive, a top-ten site for writers. She works as a book copyeditor and writing coach, specializing in manuscript critiques. Her writing craft book series The Writer's Toolbox teaches aspiring and experienced novelists how to write terrific stories. More than 5,000 writers have taken her online video courses over the last 10 years. She loves nothing more than to help writers craft stellar novels and experience success and joy in their writing journey.
"C. S. Lakin is a genius! I love how she merges mind-blowing structure information into comprehendible audio/visual lessons. I'm one who needs to have complicated concepts explained simply. Thank you Susanne!"
“I’ve taken several craft courses over the past five years in an effort to learn plotting, character development, character arcs, and creating setting. While I believed I was getting it, I found something to be missing—a clear understanding of the scene as it relates to plot and character.
Layering Your Novel, was an eye-opener in that it established the 'scenes' necessary to move plot and character development forward such that it provides an emotional satisfaction for the reader. Putting those ten critical scenes into an online video course is outstanding for any writer.
I wish this course had been available when I started my book several years ago. Whether you’re new to the writing process or an old pro, this course is a must have in your library."
~ Larry Keeton
StartThe 5 Turning Points (20:49)
PreviewThe Setup - Key Scene #1 (15:06)
Start"Opportunity" - Key Scene #2 (11:17)
StartThe Midpoint - Key Scene #5 (12:12)
StartPinch Points - Key Scenes #3 and #6 (21:10)
StartTwists and Turns - Key Scenes #4 and #7 (11:59)
StartThe Dark Night - Key Scene #8 (11:49)
StartThe Climax - Key Scene #9 (17:03)
StartThe Resolution - Key Scene #10 (16:00)
"Susanne’s Writing for Life Workshops are presented in a clear, concise manner, are easy to follow and understand, and once you sign up, you own the course forever. I strongly recommend following her blog as well as taking her workshops."
~ John Cryar
“C. S. Lakin did a really good job at putting this course together—we get to see bits of various movies to help learn what she is teaching. What I also like about this course is the chance to ask questions of C. S. Lakin and our fellow classmates, and she answers them. I wish professors in college would have been this attentive to their students as she is to us! I can't say enough about this course.”
Frequently Asked Questions
"I enjoyed the stages and how Susanne explained in words, writing, and using the movie clips. I will definitely use more of her methods when I plot my next novel."