Writers’ HQ’s 5-star online Plotstormers means you can learn the fundamentals of plotting your story, wherever you are in the world. Designed to fit around everyday life and a busy schedule, you will start with a simple idea, and finish with a comprehensive outline of your novel ready to be first drafted.

They say everyone has a novel inside them – the tricky part is getting it out without painful invasive surgery. This in-depth novel outlining course contains everything you need to plan out your story from start to finish so that you're rip roaring ready to get that first draft out, without too much swearing.


Build a practical understanding of story structure and plotting.

Learn the fundamental elements that make up every good plot and the basics of story structure; explore who's in your story, what their roles are, and how to make compelling characters; how to build tension and conflict; how good beginnings, middles and ends work; how to break your story down into chapters and scenes; and what to do with your outline once you have it.


By the end of the course, you’ll walk away with a comprehensive outline of your story and a plan for what to do next (hint: write it!).

Exercises, examples, group discussion, swearing and crying will enable you to grow your fictional world and build your story plan, taking it from ‘idea in your head’ to ‘actual real story that’s ready to be properly written’.


  • A series of online classes and exercises to lead you, step-by-step, towards a comprehensive chapter-by-chapter, scene-by-scene outline of your story, ready and waiting to be first drafted.
  • Tips and advice from brilliant authors who are at the top of their game, including Costa Award winning Emma Healey, Polari Prize winner Paul McVeigh, and Bridport Prize winner Vanessa Gebbie.
  • Lessons on story structure and techniques to make your story adhere to or break the rules.
  • Advice on how to turn big picture chapter ideas into unputdownable scenes with believable and complex characters.
  • Access to our private student Facebook group to discuss ideas, techniques and get advice from your tutors and fellow writers.
  • The opportunity to be part of our utterly lovely social media community.
  • OPTIONAL EXTRA: A one-to-one critique of your final outline and solid constructive feedback.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Part 1: The colour and the shape


    • READ: Foundation garments for a shapely story

    • WATCH: Authors on starting, planning, and thinking

    • WRITE: Emotions, morals, and castles

    • WRITE: The Ridiculously Reductive Four Point Plot Planner

    • READ: Planning non-linear stories

    • WRITE: The Slightly Less Reductive Seven Point Plot Planner

    • DISCUSSION: And relax

  • 2

    Part 2: Finally, the beginning

    • READ: The Magical 16 Point Plot Planner Of Your Dreams

    • WRITE: Making people

    • DISCUSS: Let us begin

    • WRITE: Chapter 1

    • WRITE: Chapters 2 & 3

    • WRITE: Chapters 4 and 5

  • 3

    Part 3: And now the middle

    • READ: Sculpt your middle for a firmer figure

    • READ: Productive procrastination

    • WRITE: The middle - part 1 of 3

    • READ: Writing by layers

    • WRITE: the middle - part 2 of 3

    • WRITE: the middle, part 3 of 3

  • 4

    Part 4: In a surprise turn of events, let's look at the end

    • READ: Elements of a rising climax and exciting finish

    • WRITE: The final chaps V1

    • WATCH: Authors talk about tricky bits and moving on

    • WRITE: The final chaps V2

    • WRITE: The final chaps V3

    • WRITE: One more quick go round

  • 5

    Part 5: And then?

    • READ: Smaller units

    • WRITE: What's the point and what can you see?

    • WRITE: But then, so then

    • WRITE: The midpoint

  • 6

    Part 6: Getting ready to write

    • WRITE: Let's take it to the bridge

    • WRITE: Another iteration

    • READ: Nip tuck

    • DISCUSS: Plotstorming