The Art of No Plot with Chloe Caldwell

Who needs plot? In this four-week workshop with acclaimed author Chloe Caldwell, you'll learn that in order to stay true to the surprises and twists in your life, you may need to put plot aside.

Your Instructor: Chloe Caldwell, author of 'Women' and 'I'll Tell You In Person'

Where: Online — Available everywhere!

When: April 11, 2019 - May 9, 2019

Enrollment: 20 students

Price: $350

Class Description

It’s 2019, and writing is changing.

Some of the best books winning awards and hearts are plotless. Anyone can think of a plot, but without it, how can you make your essay or memoir compelling?

Life is full of surprises and twists, and to stay to true to the actual events in your life, plot has to be dropped. In this class you will explore contemporary and classic essays that brazenly go plotless, and students will finish class with new and exciting tools and techniques to make their own writing shine in an untraditional way.

Your instructor, Chloe Caldwell, is the author of acclaimed books like Women and I'll Tell You In Person, Chloe’s work has appeared in Buzzfeed, Lenny Letter, New York Magazine, Longreads, Vice, Salon.com, The Rumpus, The Millions, Catapult, Hobart, Nylon, The Sun, Men’s Health, The Nervous Breakdown, and half a dozen anthologies including True Tales of Lust and Love, Goodbye To All That, Fifty Shades of Blue, and Without A Net. Chloe is also a seasoned LitReactor instructor—here's a selection of essays written in workshops under Chloe's tutelage: 

What This Class Covers

Week 1

Why Plot Doesn’t Matter

In week one you will watch videos and read essay and memoir excerpts without plots. Writing prompts will be assigned and feedback will be given. You will read Joe Brainard, Michelle Mirsky, and Lidia Yuknavitch.

Week 2

What’s in Place of Plot?

When you finish a book you loved, think about why you loved it. Is it because of the voice? The characters? How the “place” came alive? Or the experimental structure it was written in? Why will someone turn the page of your book if they aren’t waiting to hear how the plot comes out? This week you'll focus on other aspects that make your writing strong and unique: voice, pacing, elision, theme, and setting. You will read pieces by Eileen Myles and Dorothy Allison.

Writing assignment TBA

Week 3

Honing Non-plot

In week three, Caldwell asks the students to take from a story or piece of writing they have, and remove the plot. This way they are writing around the plot, and might find something unexpected there. Readings and feedback on work will be provided. You will read essays by Samantha Irby and Chelsea Martin.

Writing assignment TBA

Week 4

A Plotless Essay

Inspired by the three weeks above, students will choose from the techniques they’ve learned and write their own plotless essay. Caldwell will provide feedback and suggest places for students to read and submit their essays.

Writing assignment TBA

Goals Of This Class

  • Stop stressing about “needing a plot” and learn other tools to propel your story forward
  • Focus on other craft aspects that are often neglected
  • Leave class with more confidence in your writing
  • Finish class with encouragement and support and inspiration around what writing can be

Additional Info

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