Arts & Entertainment, Writing

Creating Plot Structure - Part 1

Judy Blume

Lesson time 11:44 min

Don’t be intimidated by the thought of writing an entire book. Judy wants to help you tackle a book scene by scene, beginning with how to find your starting point.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Start When Something New Happens • Think One Scene at a Time • Surprises are Everything • Establish Character Before Major Plot Twist


So the idea of the word, plot, makes me very nervous. Plot, no, I think. No, I can't do plot. Don't ask me questions about plot, ever. But I realize that plot is really telling a story, and I tell a story. So maybe the story that I tell is the plot. But if I'm ever asked, you know, about how do I come to do a plot, I can't-- there's something about the word that just intimidates, that makes me so uncomfortable, because I would tell you, if you asked, that plot is my weak point. And yet I look at the books, and I realize, well, I've written all these books, they probably do have a plot, which I prefer to think of as telling a story. So plot for me is a mystery. I start a book on the day something different happens in that character's life. When I was writing Then Again, Maybe I Won't, and, again, had no idea what I was doing, because I started that book the day after I sent Margaret to a publisher, having no idea if it would be accepted or not. So I sat down and I started to write Then Again, Maybe I Won't, and I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote. There was a terrible problem with the beginning, because it was overdone. We didn't need to know these things. It wasn't the day something different happened in his life. It was just about his life. It was all those things that I said, you write in your notebook. And I had a good editor say to me, I think maybe, you know, this isn't necessary here, and where you want to start is here. And that, of course, was the day that something different happened in Tony's life. And so that's how I approach it now, on the day that something different happens. And that journey, to get to the end of the book, that journey that the character is taking to get to the end of the book, that must be the plot of the book. But I prefer to think of it as the story that I'm telling. And how do you get from here to here? That's the story. Now there are certain books that I've written that I do keep very careful track of what's going on. And In The Unlikely Event was very complicated, many characters, different family groups, lots of things happening. I did keep track. I had like a track notebook, OK. This is what's happening here and here and here. And someone other than me could say, well, that's the plot. There it is. But for me it's the story I'm telling. A scene is where something happens. So, you know, a scene takes place somewhere, and it's between more than one character, 2, 3, 4, however many. And then that scene ends, and that's something that you're going to figure out yourself where that scene ends. Again, you might write and write and write and keep writing it, and you'll see that, uh-oh, no, that scene really ended here. That scene is over, and then change pace. You change pace, and you're somewhere else. I've always wanted to write a book that was a series of scenes. ...

About the Instructor

Judy Blume broke the rules. Her refreshingly honest children’s books were banned by hundreds of libraries and loved by generations of readers, who bought 85 million copies of classics like Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Superfudge. In her first online writing class, the award-winning author teaches you how to invent vivid characters, write realistic dialogue, and turn your experiences into stories people will treasure.

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Judy Blume

In 24 lessons, Judy Blume will show you how to develop vibrant characters and hook your readers.

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