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Do you ever read a story or novel and think, “Wow, if only I could write something that good!” 

Maybe you’re new to writing fiction. You get ideas for stories, but when you get home from work it’s a lot easier to stick to your usual routine than it is to stare at a blank page, wondering where to start

Or maybe you’ve been writing for a while, but your work isn’t where you want it to be. You send it to agents or publishers and hear … crickets. When you re-read it, you know something is off but you don’t know what it is.

Or maybe you’ve sold a few stories or written a strong first novel. You might have an agent, a publisher, and another story idea in mind. Then you learn the truth about writing: with each project, you’re starting from scratch.

You’d give anything to find out how authors create a compelling story, one that makes readers lose themselves in the experience.

Welcome to FICTION’S BIG-PICTURE FUNDAMENTALS: Create stories that work.

Fiction's Big-Picture Fundamentals: Create Stories that Work takes you on a direct route from idea to finished draft.

Student Testimonial

"This course single-handedly developed my writing ability and technique more than anything else I have done in recent years."

Chris Woodland, England

"The modules on scene building, plot planning and character development were most helpful in taking my ideas further than just a vague concept. I'd never really thought about story writing in these ways before.

Now I really analyse what each scene adds to the narrative.

I feel better equipped and more self assured that I will be able to produce better stories, with a good flow, good tension, logic and drive. The course has given me a lot of confidence to see a novel through to the end."

This course is for you if:

  • You love stories and dream of publishing excellent fiction one day;
  • You want to understand how to create a story or novel that works before you invest hundreds of hours in writing, scrapping, and rewriting;
  • You’re ready to write with more confidence and less wheel-spinning;
  • You have a project in mind;
  • You’re ready to start February 3, 2023, do the writing in each module (30-60 minutes per module), and participate in the 3 video co-working sessions with the instructor. (Maximum 12 participants)

What you'll do:

In the introduction, we’ll look at an overview of the modules and the tools you’ll need (hint: paper and a pen, a computer, or a typewriter). You’ll block your time for doing the course.

In module 1 we’ll start with a definition of the big picture and an overview of the areas involved. You’ll do some writing about your story or novel. Seven sentences, to be exact.

In module 2 you will create a character, or deepen an existing character in your work in progress. In a timed writing, you will write a new scene for your novel or story.

Module 3 looks at what scenes need. You’ll build another scene, a humdinger.

Module 4 looks at how to create a plot that works. You’ll do three timed writing exercises that will help you put together a plot.

*First live Q&A / Coworking Session*

In module 5, you will learn about pacing and tension, and how to use those to keep the reader turning the page. You’ll do a timed writing exploring sources of tension in your story.

In module 6 we will examine cause and effect, which creates the spine of your story or novel. You’ll learn how to run tests to see if a scene belongs or should be cut, and will start checking your story's throughline.

Module 7 looks at concept, premise, and theme. In timed writing, you will draft a compelling premise (or three) for your tale.

Module 8 is about effective structures that will make your story hold together.

*2nd live Q&A / Coworking Session*

At the end of this module, you will get a step-by-step process for taking stock of your story or novel’s big picture and taking your project to the end of a complete, well-structured draft.

*Final live Q&A / Coworking Session*

Your Instructor

Hi, I’m Pat Dobie–writer, editor, coach, and book doctor working with writers all over the world. My clients have gone on to get agents, achieve traditional publication, self-publish successfully, and win awards.

I’ve taught fiction writing live to hundreds of beginning and intermediate writers, and coached writers on book-length projects from concept development through to publication.

I’m looking forward to taking you through fiction’s big-picture fundamentals, a 5-week "learn by doing" workshop with your story or novel as the project.

Let me help you create a story that works!


Do I need a finished story or novel?

No. You should have a project in mind, but it doesn’t need to be too far along. In fact, working on the big-picture fundamentals before you get too far into the writing will save you time in the end. 

I'm new to writing fiction. Will this course work for me?

Yes it will! Just give yourself more time to work on the between-class homework and be sure to pop into the forum for help.

I'm short on time. How long will it take?

This workshop will SAVE you time–you’ll stay out of the weeds (plot holes, missing motivations, gaps in logic) and save yourself from having to do substantial rewriting.

But to answer your question, each video module (including the writing stints) takes from 20-60 minutes, and there are eight in total. I’ll lead three video coworking sessions with time for Q&A.

Is it self-paced?

Yes and no. The modules will be released on a schedule. You can do each week’s module(s) in one evening or spread them out over the week. The online forum is always open. The Q&A / coworking sessions happen live, by Zoom, and are scheduled in advance.

Do I need to complete certain modules before the coworking dates?

No. The Zoom sessions are to talk about craft questions and get some more writing done. If you’re behind on the modules that week, you’ll still get lots out of them!

How much is the course?

SAVE 20%!

REGISTER BY JAN. 13, 2023 to get the early-bird price of 159 USD.

For this you get...

  • 8 video modules
  • 14 writing exercises
  • 3 live Zoom sessions with the instructor & other participants
  • a curated list of resources to keep you going after the course, and
  • a workbook to keep and refer back to as you bring your novel or story to THE END.

After Jan. 13, the full fee of 199 USD applies.

How do I register?

Click the button below and you'll go straight to the checkout page.

Course Promise

No matter where you are in your writing life, this 5-week "learn by doing" workshop will help you develop your skills and gain or deepen your understanding of how fiction works.

But the most important practical result is that by the time you get to the last module, you will know how to use fiction's big picture fundamentals to draft a complete, well-structured story or novel.

Student Testimonial

"Any level of writer would benefit from the high-level view offered in this course."

Chris D., Canada

"I've bought and started several courses on fiction writing. None of them presented the subject in as clear a manner as this course.

Some of the fundamentals were already in my writing, but having them named and seeing how they all fit together was illuminating.

After working through the modules step by step, my story has almost written itself. I now have the knowledge and tools to write many more.

Some other highlights were the co-working sessions. Pat is warm, friendly, enthusiastic and incredibly knowledgeable. Just knowing there are other writers like you out there is so valuable."

5 Weeks, 8 Modules

course schedule