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
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:
- "Drifting Beyond The Pale" by Angela Giles Patel at The Nervous Breakdown
- "Fat Guy" by Ray Shea at Hobart
- "Holding On: My Journey With Antidepressants" by Angela Giles Patel at The Manifest-Station
- "Where I Write #26: Where the Rocks Gather" by Asha Dore at The Rumpus
- "Making it Big" by Asha Dore at Burrow Press Review
What This Class Covers
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.
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
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
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
LitReactor offers a unique approach to a writing education: You study what you want, when you want, at your own pace. We bring in veteran authors and industry professionals to host classes covering a wide range of topics in an online environment that’s interactive and flexible. You get detailed feedback on your work and take part in discussions in a judgement-free zone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an experienced writer, our workshops are about working together to achieve your writing goals.
Where do classes take place?
Entirely online. So, anywhere you have Internet access.
Are there certain times when the whole class needs to "meet" online?
Nope. Our students come from all over the globe. Everything is posted online and accessible 24/7. (We do occasionally schedule phone chats, but try to reach a consensus on timing.)
What does a typical class consist of?
It varies, but nearly all our classes include weekly lectures, homework assignments, peer reviews, critiques from instructors, and discussion forums.
How much experience do you need to take a class?
Beginner or pro, everyone is welcome. We encourage all skill levels.
Got more questions? Click here for an extended FAQ.
And click here to explore a sample class that shows our layout and features.