Crafting a Complete Story Online Course


A complete story has it all. A strong hook in the beginning, characters we can care about, ongoing conflicts and questions to keep the reader interested, and an ending that is both satisfying and leaves the reader wanting more. In this four week online course, participants will learn skills like identifying essential establishing information, how to create motivation for both protagonists and antagonists, writing scenes that flow continually between conflict and resolution, and setting up potential sequels while still crafting endings that are emotionally satisfying.

Each week, instructor Lindsay Schopfer will host a live, one-hour, video group chat via Zoom which participants can attend by following a link provided in a private, e-mailed invitation. For those who can’t attend these chats live, all presentations will be recorded and posted on a private page where all students can view them at their convenience until the end of the month. Students will also have access to Lindsay via e-mail for any questions that they may have on the craft of writing during the course.


Week One: Where To Start Your Story

A great story must start strong to get the reader’s attention. Each novel’s beginning must be a balancing act of description, backstory, and action. Participants in this workshop will learn how much backstory to include in their novel, how to identify essential establishing information, and how to effectively drop their readers into the action.

Week Two: Unlocking Character Motivation

Motivation is the fuel that allows a character to make the long journey from a story’s beginning to its ending. No other character trait will prove more useful to the writer in determining a story’s structure, pacing, mood, and theme. Participants in this course will learn how to identify character needs, how to increase pacing through motivation, and how to make a character’s motivation evolve throughout the story.

Week Three: Make Your Novel A Page-Turner

We all know novels need strong beginnings, but what about the rest of the story? An effective story keeps the reader up late into the night because they just can’t put it down. Participants in this workshop will learn how to establish a pattern of conflicts and resolutions throughout the story, how to balance description with action, and how to build up to the story’s climax.

Week Four: Writing Satisfying Endings

A good ending can make a reader beg for more. A bad ending can leave a reader feeling betrayed. This spoiler-free (mostly) workshop will examine what it takes to write an ending that will leave the reader both satisfied and hungry for more. Participants in this course will learn the three traits of a satisfying ending, where to go after the climax, and how to set up a series of books as opposed to finishing a standalone novel with series potential.