Build a Better Plot

Who This Course Will Help

This course is for people who are beginning a book or who are struggling with plotting their novel. This course will cover all the pre-work needed to develop a plot strong enough to engage the reader and keep them turning the pages. Plot is the framework for a novel, and if that framework is weak or crooked, it impacts the entire book. By having this framework in place before you write, it becomes much easier to know what scenes you will need to create. 

We will cover the basics of both external and internal Goal, Motivation and Conflict. Learning the difference between these, how they interrelate, and how they impact the novel, is vital. You will also get to know your characters better through this process. If you are in the middle of a book and feeling stalled, this course will help you find the dropped plot threads and get the novel back on track. By the end of this course, you will be ready to start or finish that novel you have dreamed of writing.

What This Course Specifically Teaches

  • basic plotting structure, focused on Goal, Motivation and Conflict
  • internal plotting, which creates stronger, more emotional characters
  • how to apply the structure to the novel as a whole and each individual scene
  • how to analyze novels and scenes you read to pinpoint the GMC 

The course is broken down into two units. Each unit is accompanied by several handouts that build on the one before. You can start using the information immediately for your current work. Questions will be answered within the private Facebook group.

Unit One will be about getting the basics down. We will start with deciding what message or theme you want your book to communicate, then focus on creating strong, book-length goals that accomplish that. Second, we will create a chart for you to use with your book that narrows the GMC down to usable bites. 

  1. Begin with the End in Mind
  2. GMC
  3. GMC Analysis Worksheet
  4. Good to Sold
  5. Power of a Great Scene Goal

Unit Two will take GMC to a deeper level. We will go over Goal, Motivation and Conflict in depth, discuss the importance of each part, and show how external and internal GMC interconnect and impact each other. We will also do scene analyses to show these building blocks of plot at work.

  1. Conflict the Missing Link
  2. Conflict What it is and Isn't
  3. Motivation
  4. Scene Analysis TSB
  5. Highlighter Method

About the Instructor

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump spends her days writing romance so she can avoid the towering stack of dirty dishes, eat copious amounts of chocolate and reward herself with trips to the mall. She’s published more than 60 books in 24 countries. Look for her all-new novella in the anthology ASK ME WHY (with Marie Force, Virginia Kantra and Jodi Thomas), as well as her Sweet and Savory Romance series, including the USA Today bestselling book, THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE, and her Fortune’s Island series, starting with AND THEN FOREVER. Visit her website at www.ShirleyJump.com for author news and a booklist, and follow her on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/shirleyjump.author for giveaways and deep discussions about important things like chocolate and shoes.

Praise for the novels of Shirley Jump

“A superbly written celebration of love . . . Includes plenty of surprises, both sad and sweet, shared by a community of characters that will charm your socks off.” USA Today

“A solid plot, strong tension, and steady pacing draw the reader into this delightful read.” —RT Book Reviews

“Jump’s second Sweetheart Sisters . . . brings together two flawed yet appealing single parents searching for love.” —Publishers Weekly

“Fun, romantic, and entertaining! This was my first time reading a Shirley Jump book, and I’m extremely happy that I got the chance to discover her fantastic talent! Her writing style is captivating and it will leave you cheering for Diana and Mike.” —A Bookish Escape

“A smoothly written and emotionally satisfying novel that includes both sexy tension and tender romance, with humor and emotionalism in abundance. A fun, sexy, heartwarming read.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A fun, heartwarming, small-town romance that you’ll fall in love with . . . Shirley Jump is a true talent.” —Jill Shalvis, New York Times bestselling author

“Shirley Jump packs lots of sweet and plenty of heat in this heartwarming first book of her promising new series.” —Virginia Kantra, New York Times bestselling author of Carolina Man

“Fans will enjoy following the sisters’ paths to love and the quaint and quirky setting.” —Booklist

Course Syllabus

Getting the Basics Down

We will start with deciding what message or theme you want your book to communicate, then focus on creating strong, book-length goals that accomplish that. Second, we will create a chart for you to use with your book that narrows the GMC down to usable bites.

Taking GMC to a Deeper Level

We will go over Goal, Motivation and Conflict in depth, discuss the importance of each part, and show how external and internal GMC interconnect and impact each other. We will also do scene analyses to show these building blocks of plot at work.
If you've ever wished for a brainstorming session with a published author with a talent for turning stories into publishing contracts, you owe it to yourself to register for Shirley's class! — Cathy Shouse, Journalist and novelist

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