Story Structure and the Process

During the course, participants often ask, “How could anyone write a novel or screenplay without having a process like this?”

The Writers’ Studio process allows you to access the power of your imagination while grounding your story in solid structure. This is what creates the magic on the page and helps produce a profound and dramatic experience for your reader.

The importance of Story Structure

Ninety percent of novels and screenplays are rejected because of poor structure. This course demystifies story structure so you can harness its power without getting confused or rigid. It will expand rather than limit your imagination.

Many people can write great scenes and/or have a strong idea or initial incident that they think will make a great story. But an idea, a few good scenes and a dramatic incident is unfortunately rarely enough. Everything needs to be connected for your story to have a powerful impact.

Robert McKee, acclaimed teacher and author of Story, says, “You might have the insights of Buddha, but if you can’t tell a story, your ideas will be as dry as dust. Craft is the sum total of all means used to draw the audience into deep involvement, to hold that involvement and ultimately reward them with a moving and meaningful experience.” 

The purpose of structure is to link the action of the story with the character journey so that each scene contributes to the overall character arc and the story builds in a dramatic and logical way, engaging your reader from beginning to end. This is the art and craft of storytelling.

The power of a step by step process

This course’s step-by-step process shows you what to do and when you need to do it, grounding your story in classic story structure while allowing your creativity to flourish and your characters to come alive on the page.

The live sessions are great fun. You get to experience the pleasure of going on a creative journey with a group of like-minded people and witnessing the magic of seeing everyone’s stories come alive as they work through the process. Our goal is to have everyone walking away from each session knowing what they need to do between sessions and feeling energised and inspired.

The workshops are scheduled one Saturday per month and one full weekend intensive. (See dates below) The workshops are where most of the heavy lifting, that is the planning and structure, is worked out (missed classes can be caught up online). Your tutors give you weekly feedback on your developing structure using our bespoke, interactive online Steps Board.

Google Reviews

“Roland and Kathleen, and of course, Rich are Sydney’s best kept secret. They bring an aptitude, love for writing, and unique talent in drawing out the stories within, like no one else. I’m totally indebted to them for the richness of my story and in developing a love of storytelling that I never realised was so deep inside me. You will not regret one second of the time you dedicate to turning up and being guided by these lovely, lovely people. I just finished my first draft and am looking forward to starting Second Draft!” Rebecca Eves

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Elizabeth Packett
"I work as professional script writer and editor, so I understand the basics of story structure, but the way the everything was broken down to the smallest of steps was just brilliant. It made me dig for my story, and get in deep, and get complex, rather than settling for the easiest first thought. Forcing me to think deeper and come up with more imaginative solutions. Loved the dance! Such a beautiful perfect balance.”
Elizabeth Packett Scriptwriter & Editor

Course Outcomes

During The Course You Will:

  • Develop the broad spine of your story using our Ten-Step Outline before you start writing your actual first draft to make sure your story is structurally sound and has the legs to go the distance of a novel or screenplay.
  • Implement strategies to develop, flesh out, and motivate your characters so they feel authentic, unique and come alive on the page.
  • Follow a proven step-by-step process that will help you work effectively. The process interacts with our bespoke interactive online tools making sure your story is grounded, kept on track and builds dramatically and logically in the weeks between sessions.
  • Learn how to develop a dance between structure and  imagination to utilise your creativity while grounding your story in solid story structure.
  • Receive guidance, accountability, inspiration and support from your tutor and fellow classmates to enable you to fully develop the possibilities of your story.
  • Develop a regular writing habit – a fundamental ingredient of writing success.
  • Learn the essential keys to creating powerful drama full of internal and external conflict using our specialised Scene Templates to bring your scenes alive on the page.
  • Develop a deep understanding of classic story structure dynamics by using our 8 Turning Points and 29 Story Steps. This will keep your story on track and make sure you don’t get lost in the dreaded middle, which is where many writers get stuck.
  • Learn the art and craft of storytelling. The goal of the first draft is not to write the perfect story, but rather to  discover the possibilities of your story and characters.
  • Complete your first draft in ten months while taking your main character and yourself on a profound journey of change. A huge achievement.
Tiara Lowndes
Well! I feel like I've learnt more in this course that I did in my whole MA in writing at Sydney Uni. Fabulous. Finally someone who really does have the key to practical help for writers. I really loved finally feeling like things were coming out of me, when for so long I've felt like a big dried up prune.
Tiara Lowndes Editor


What Writers Say about our Creative Writing Courses

Below is a short compilation video featuring writers talking about their experiences doing our 4-Week Unlocking Creative Writing course and our 10- Month Novel & Scriptwriting course.

Workshop Calendar Dates

All classes available online if you need to miss any workshops. We reserve the right to change class dates if necessary.

Workshop Dates for 4 March 2023 course

4 March – Saturday Workshop – 10am to 6pm at the Writers’ Studio

1 & 2 April – Weekend Intensive Workshop – 10am to 6pm at the Writers’ Studio

Continues on the following Saturdays – 10am to 6pm, except the final session:

29 April, 27 May, 24 June, 22 July, 19 August, 16 September, 14 October and SUNDAY 12 November (2pm to 6.45pm & Dinner on us)

Workshop Dates – 10 September 2022 Course

10 September  – Saturday Workshop – 10am to 6pm at the Writers’ Studio

8 & 9  October – Weekend Intensive Workshop – 10am to 6pm at the Writers’ Studio

Continues on the following Saturdays – 10am to 6pm, except the final session,  2pm to 6.45pm & dinner.

5 November, 10 December, 28 January, 25 February, Saturday 25 March, 22 April, 20 May, SUNDAY 18 June (2pm to 6.45pm & Dinner on us)

Workshop Dates for 12 March 2022 course

12 March – Saturday Workshop – 10am to 6pm at the Writers’ Studio

9 & 10 April – Weekend Intensive Workshop – 10am to 6pm at the Writers’ Studio

Continues on the following Saturdays – 10am to 6pm, except the final session:

7 May, 4 June, 2 July, 30 July, 27 August, 24 September, 22 October and SUNDAY 20 November (2pm to 6.45pm & Dinner on us)

Important Information - Please read

If you have enrolled for the 10 Month Novel & Script course and after completing Unlocking Creativity, we feel that you are not ready or suitable for the longer course, we will recommend that you either repeat Unlocking Creativity and go into the next Novel & Script course, or we will provide you with a refund for the Novel & Script course component. Please be aware that this is to do with attitude and temperament. The process of the Novel & Script First Draft Live course is delicate and requires open-mindedness, sensitivity to others, positivity, humility, passion and patience. Whether you are a complete beginner or have been trying to write a novel for 20 years it doesn’t matter – we welcome you all. But when working with a group of writers intimately for 10 months, it is our responsibility to create a safe space for all writers to enable optimum learning to take place.

Interested in signing up for the Novel & Script First Draft course?
Novel & Script First Draft - Sydney

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