Plotlines with Joshua Mohr

Finding a balance between story and character is tough. Best-selling author Joshua Mohr will show you how to do it in this four-week workshop. After this, you'll never lose the plot again.

Your Instructor: Joshua Mohr, author of DAMASCUS, FIGHT SONG

Where: Online — Available everywhere!

When: This class is not currently enrolling. To be notified when it is offered again, Click Here

Enrollment: 16 Student Capacity

Price: $399

Class Description

***Please note: This class starts July 12... but it's not too late to sign up!***


Finding a balance between story and character is tough.

One should support—and not detract from—the other. But it's hard to sustain an engaging story AND character arcs over the course of hundreds of pages. 

Enter Joshua Mohr, best-selling novelist and crack writing instructor, back with his hit class, Plotlines

In this beginner-friendly four-week workshop, Joshua will break down the varying ways writers can construct an exciting series of events to glue the reader's attention to the page. Each weekly session will begin with written and video lectures. And students will also have writing assignments to practice and demonstrate these various tactics for plotting.

After this class, you'll never lose the plot again. 

This class includes:

  • In-depth lectures from Joshua—including video lectures

  • Writing assignments to be critiqued by Joshua and your fellow classmates

  • Ongoing discussion and Q&A's

Want to learn more about Joshua's thoughts on plot? Check out this conversation he had on the subject with Anisse Gross, the film editor at The Rumpus

What This Class Covers

Week 1: How to start in the middle of the action

We'll focus on kicking our stories off in compelling ways.  Students will try to employ the "in medias res" philosophy, starting in the middle of the action.  Mainly, this first week will deal with tactics to generate narrative conflict, both internal and external, and how to put pressure on our characters to tell the readers about themselves.

Week 2: Effective ways to dangle bait for your reader

How do we seduce our reader into generously giving us a few hours of her time to read our books?  This week we'll cover many notions on how to entice that total stranger to commit to your stories.  We'll talk about ways to use images and language in tandem, and we'll build on what we've already learned about narrative conflict to start building on our skill-set.  Finding a nuanced image is one of the hardest thing we do as authors, yet there are ways to demystify this conundrum.

Week 3: Creating characters who characterize themselves

One mistake that apprentice writers often make is to over-explain why their characters are behaving in certain ways.  This week, we'll learn a variety of active, dynamic characterization tactics: letting the characters characterize themselves.  The reader needs to observe our players going about their daily life, giving the reader the space to form her own opinions about what makes a certain protagonist tick.  We'll arm you with various ways to foster this relationship between reader and main character.

Week 4: How to write compelling dialogue

We'll wrap up our month together dealing with one of the most common complaints I hear from my graduate students: how do I write compelling dialogue?  Mainly, how can I make my characters sound unique from one another on the page?  We will do a series of short writing exercises to identify diction and syntax that will individualize your players.  We'll also discuss how to use body language and gesturing to your advantage.

Goals Of This Class

  • Learn to rely on scene to convey the essence of your characters.
  • Develop ways to dynamically engage your audience, to involve them in the action as it unfurls on the page.
  • Come away with a strong sense of how to tickle your reader's voyeuristic streak, letting them peek into the status-quo of your character(s).
  • Explore the collision between plot and characterization, how these two seemingly different pieces of craft have to work as one to really rev your story up to maximum velocity.

Additional Info

Unprintable: The LitReactor Podcast Episode 7 - Stories We Never Need To See Again (Guest: Joshua Mohr)

About Our Classes Class FAQs