Basic Info
  • Fiction
  • Novel

W. Somerset Maugham said that there are three rules to writing a novel but that, unfortunately, no one knows what they are. We might safely assume though, that one of these rules might have something to do with plot: Maybe we should have one in our novels? Maybe it would be helpful to plan the plot out ahead of time? Instructor Kelly Dwyer has written novels both by writing one word after another with no idea where she was going, and by plotting out a novel ahead of time. She found that the latter was incredibly helpful and saved vast amounts of time, and she is excited to share her strategies with other writers.

In this workshop, we’ll do various exercises to help develop and deepen our plots. We’ll work on ways in which our plots might arise out of character, and we’ll discuss issues such as how to create more intensity and how to juggle and integrate more than one plot at a time. We’ll spend additional time sharing our ideas and plots with one another. By the time the week is over, everyone will have a general outline for the plot of a novel, and many will have a more detailed, annotated outline as well. Your outline will make it very manageable for you to go home and write your novel. This workshop welcomes writers of all levels. Our primary focus will be on generating new material.

Kelly Dwyer


Kelly Dwyer is the author of two novels, Self-Portrait with Ghosts and The Tracks of Angels, two children’s books, and a number of short plays. She is currently teaching creative writing and doing freelance manuscript editing, as well as working on her own writing. Current projects include a novel, travel writing, and plays and flash fiction based on the Disney princesses at middle age. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Oberlin College, Kelly grew up in California and lives in Wisconsin with her husband, daughter, and their pug. Feel free to contact Kelly via