August 26, 2020
$250 | 5 Weeks
Everyone writes great beginnings and endings to their novels, but when it comes to the middle they get bogged down and lose their way. It’s called “the mushy middle” and there seems no way out of this quagmire.
But there is hope. There is a process that can ensure a strong middle throughline for any story. Jeff Lyons will teach you the two-key story-structure engines needed for any story’s middle, and the two essential character patterns needed to build a character’s arc through the middle.
These engines and patterns work together to not only assure a narrative throughline that avoids episodic or meandering writing, but that also gives you a repeatable process that will produce solid middles for any story you might write in the future. Say goodbye to the mushy middle, and hello to stories that work.
Week One: The Structure of Every Story and What Does “Middle” Mean?
- Students will learn the basic story structures in every story
- Students will learn what a story’s middle is all about
- Students will learn what “mushy” means and what are the alternatives
- Basic story structure
- Narrative patterns in middles that don’t work
- Narrative patterns in middles that do work
- The Moral Component of every story
- Analyze their own story’s middle to see what is missing or needs improvement
Week Two: The Narrative Engine
- Students will learn the basics of how to build a Moral Component
- The Moral Component and its three main pieces.
- The Moral Premise Worksheet
- Fill out the Moral Premise Worksheet
Week Three: The Classic Story Engine
- Students will learn the first critical narrative engine for the middle
- Students will learn the seven components of this engine
- The seven pieces of the Classic Story Engine
- The Classic Story Engine Worksheet
- Fill out the Classic Story Engine Worksheet
Week Four: The Narrative Story Engine
- Students will learn the second critical narrative engine for the middle
- Students will learn the various components that make up this engine
- The six components of the Narrative Engine
- Review of the Moral Component (as it ties in)
- The Narrative Engine Worksheet
- Fill out the Narrative Engine Worksheet
Week Five: Summary and Next Steps
- Students will apply all the previous weeks’ learning to their own story
- Students will learn the next steps in story development
- How to apply all the previous work to your story
- Review of the basic story development workflow
- Specific steps to take to move forward with their own development
Learn more about how our courses work here, and contact us with any other questions.
Student Feedback for Instructor Jeff Lyons
I have to admit the course caught me off guard. From the title, I was expecting a somewhat superficial "how to" class on writing a premise. I had no idea how profound (not too strong a word) the work would be. It was one of the most valuable experiences I've had as a writer---and I've been through a 3-year MFA program, with many workshops. Jeff gave it his full attention. He is a challenging teacher and made me work, and I will always appreciate that. It all has to do with how Jeff views what a premise is. I had to think long and hard about my protagonist and realized I didn't really know him. Also, he sets the bar pretty high, not only for the premise, but for what qualifies as a story. I could go on, but my main recommendation is working on the course description to explain a bit better what students are in for - I guarantee that by writing a premise, before writing a single word of the narrative, or even after a complete draft, your novel or short story will be deepened, and greatly improved... You've got the best bang for the buck. I've taken courses from both Gotham and Writer's Digest, and your courses are the best. Charles David Taylor
I was very happy with the class. Jeff is a great teacher. He makes himself available for guidance. I had read Jeff’s Anatomy of a Premise Line and knew the class would be great. It was. It really helped me to understand how to develop story ideas. I just purchased Jeff’s book for my son who is considering signing up for Jeff’s next class. I will take more of your classes. Thanks for offering this class. Ron Ware