Understanding Story Structure


Tutor: Laurel Cohn
Saturday 1st June
10am - 4pm

A story is like a creature. It can have a multitude of limbs and unusual features, but it needs to be able to stand on its own and deliver its creator’s intent. In order to be viable, your story needs to have healthy vital organs and a strong spine. In this workshop I introduce tools and strategies for writers to be able to check that their story has the key elements required to carry a compelling story. Being able to identify the backbone of the story is crucial to help you work out whether you have unwanted growths that need to be excised or require additional material needed for balance. Participants have the opportunity to practice the tools introduced on their own work so they can continue to use these skills as they develop their manuscript.

This workshop helps writers identify what I call the ‘vital organs’ in their work: the story essence, the major dramatic question and the central event.

Using short texts that I distribute for all to read (fiction and non-fiction), we practice identifying these vital organs and discuss the writers’ approaches to aspects of story structure, including backstory/exposition.

Visual strategies such as storyboarding are introduced to help writers understand what the current structure of their draft is and how to strengthen it. Practical exercises are introduced for each key area.

Note: once you have made your booking we will confirm venue address and other housekeeping matters via email one week prior to the workshop.

Laurel Cohen writing tutor

Laurel Cohn is a book editor passionate about communication and the power of stories in our lives. As a developmental editor she has been helping writers since the 1980s prepare their work for publication. She also works with publishers, businesses and community organisations, and is a popular workshop presenter. Laurel has a PhD in literary and cultural studies and publishes in the academic world. www.laurelcohn.com.au