Story Architecture – Phase 1: Scenes

In this introductory program, I’ll focus on the fundamentals of character and conflict: how to identify the dramatically interesting conflicts that underpin a scene, how to establish the ambitions of the characters, and then how to portray them as they collide at full speed, creating a spectacle that no self-respecting reader could dare turn away from.

In my world view, the fundamental building block of fiction is the scene. A well-written scene is a story in miniature – characters enter with their own ambitions and agendas, they confront some form of conflict, and they leave the scene having been altered in some way by that confrontation. Scenes are the bricks from which we can build short stories, graphic novels, radio plays, film scripts, novels, or even video games. They are also much faster to write, which means that by focusing on scenes, a beginner can conceivably write two or three drafts during a workshop-length session – all under the careful guidance and feedback of the course leader. (That’s me.)

Built around 2-hr iterations, in which participants spend the first hour discussing and critiquing scenes, and then the second hour is spent rewriting their scene.

Half-Day Workshop Format: 3 hrs

Full-Day Workshop Format: 5 hrs

Course Format: 4-6 evenings of 3 hrs each, with 1 hr of homework between sessions

Story Architecture - Phase 2: Character Stories

About the author

Jefferson Smith is a Canadian fantasy author, as well as the founder, chief editor and resident proctologist of ImmerseOrDie. With a PhD in Computer Science and Creativity Systems compounded by a life spent exploring most art forms for fun and profit, he is underqualified in just about everything. That's why he writes.