Story Structure for the Novel


Develop a solid premise and sketch out your story's structure with the goal of completing a six-page detailed synopsis that you can use to complete a draft of your novel.

Starting at $720.00
As few as 10 weeks

What you will learn.

  • Develop a compelling premise and moral argument for your novel
  • Identify key elements of your novel's story structure
  • Craft a compelling conclusion to your story
  • Write a detailed synopsis you can use as a map to your final draft

About this course:

Many aspiring novelists write with the hope that inspiration will come. The result is time wasted on a flabby novel with no clear shape and a sagging pace. On the other hand, story structure gives your novel a skeleton; it forms the bones of your story. And just as adding flesh and clothing to a body makes that body more unique, so does any creative addition the writer makes to his or her basic structure. This course teaches you how to build that skeleton, from a solid premise line to building the moral argument of your novel. You ensure that your novel has what story structure guru John Truby calls the "seven key steps," and you learn how reversals and reveals, as well as character wants and needs, can drive your story to a satisfying conclusion. Exercises are worksheets which focus on structural elements such as character ghosts, story world and more. By the end of the course, you have in hand a six-page synopsis that works.

Summer 2024 Schedule

Date & Time
This section has no set meeting times.
See Details
Instructor: Caroline Leavitt
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Optional live meetings will be held on Zoom Saturdays, 10 - 11 a.m. PT. Enrollment limited to 15 students; early enrollment advised. Visitors not permitted. Internet access required. Materials required.

This online course is conducted through Canvas, a secure website that allows students to log in to access lectures, discussions, and other course materials on demand. There are no required live class meetings. Each course is structured with weekly assignments and deadlines. Lectures and coursework are accessible throughout the week. Workshops are conducted in writing via discussion boards with your instructor and classmates.

Refund Deadline
No refunds after July 17, 2024
Course Requirements
Internet access required to retrieve course materials.
Wired for Story by Lisa Cron
The Anatomy of Story by John Truby
(Optional) Refuse to be Done: how to Write and Rewrite a Novel in Three Drafts by Matt Bell

Contact Us

Speak to a student advisor. Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm.
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