The Winners Circle, and Shameless Self Promotion for My Plotting Workshop

It’s Saturday, so we must have winners! Before I announce the winners, I’ll put in a shameless plug for an online workshop I’ll be teaching over at Savvy Authors throughout the month of August on plotting your novel without killing your creativity. It’s $15 if you’re a premium member of the Savvy site and $25 for everyone else.Here are the shameless details, and if you’re really only interested in seeing if you won a book (no, reallly?), scroll on down! And the quilt pictures are in honor of the class–yep, I made them!

Quilting 101: Patchworking the Perfect Plot (Even If You’re a Pantser)
Do storyboards, sticky notes, spreadsheets and index cards give you hives? Does your manuscript wander in circles–yet you’re afraid a detailed outline will suck the heart and soul out of your writing?
All you need is a simple word-processing program to stitch together the perfect quilt of a plot to keep your novel on track and moving in the right direction–while still giving your muse room to play. We’ll use a six-step technique to plot a novel from start to finish, and give you a huge head-start on your first draft (and the dreaded synopsis). This will be a working course! Bring your best idea (the one that’s been bubbling in your brain for six months) or a manuscript that’s wandering in the desert, and we’ll shape it up and get it moving. We’ll also be deconstructing a novel into its outline as part of this class, and I’ve chosen J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover, the first in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. If you have a chance to read it before the class, it will make the deconstruction more familiar, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

Over the course of the month, you’ll put together the perfect quilt, er, novel. Classes will include:

1) Picking the Right Pattern. Just as a quilt uses small pieces that fit together to create a whole, a novel is created of the Big Idea–your overriding storyline–plus several Small Ideas, or subplots.

2) Choosing the Fabric. Your novel can have its pattern, but without the perfect fabrics, you won’t end up with a pretty quilt. In a novel, your characters are your fabrics. At this stage, you’ll decide who your dominant hero (or heroine) will be, identify the secondary lead character, and determine what roles your supporting cast will play.

3) Color Arrangement. Before beginning to stitch, the successful quilter decides how those squares of fabric will be placed to make the most effective use of the pattern. In our novels, this step involves identifying relationshipsnot just the relationship between a hero and heroine, but between all characters, and between each character and the Big  Idea.

4) Basting. Here’s where we really start to have fun. We’ll choose the threads of our story through the relationships we’ve identified and start to think about how to put them together. Each relationship should have a story arc that progresses from start to finish.

5) Piecing the Quilt Top. We’ll take each of our relationship arcs and rearrange them into a single plot arc. At the end of this stage, each person will have a rough sentence outline of a complete novel. This outline will also serve as an easy foundation to writing the dreaded synopsis.

6) Backing, Batting and Binding. A quilt top is beautiful, but unfinished. In this final lesson, participants will go back through their plot arc and begin to flesh out scenes. The “backing and binding” stage can be as simple or as detailed as the author wishes; those who develop a more detailed, fleshed-out plot arc will find themselves well along their way in creating a first draft of their novels.

WHEN: August 1-28, 2011
WHERE: Click link for more info.
COST: $15 for Savvy premium members; $25 for basic (free) members.

Okay, commercial over! Without further interruptions…..
Congrats to KRISTA, who won the pick of new releases last week. She chose Paula Brackston’s The Witch’s Daughter.
Congrats to JAMIE, who won Jon F Merz’s The Kensei
Congrats to NAJ, who won Laurie London’s Bonded by Blood.
Congrats to BECKY, who won Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon’s Map of Moments.
Congrats to BELLA, who won the 38 Mistakes book for writers.
I’ll be emailing everyone soon. Stay tuned for lots more next week, including two new Reader’s  Choice giveaways!

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

4 thoughts on “The Winners Circle, and Shameless Self Promotion for My Plotting Workshop

  1. Wow! I love the quilts! They are absolutely beautiful! And the class looks very interesting. may have to squeeze that into my calendar.

  2. I’m a quilter, too. Weird. Or at least I was. I guess, since I still have enough fabric to cover North America, I might still be…later, when I finish the great American Romance. *snort*