Narrative Structure for Fiction Writers

Timothy Daly

4 x Saturdays: 19, 26 March; 2, 9 April 2022, 1-4pm

Full Price: $440
Member: $330
Conc Member: $285

Interested in this course? Sign up for our waitlist here to find out when it’s running again. In the meantime, check out our list of current courses or sign up for our Newsbite weekly newsletter for updates.

Participants in face to face courses must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and must comply with any other precautionary measures Writing NSW puts in place.

What makes stories work effectively? Why do some stories move you while others fail? Story and narrative structure is much more important in the overall success of a work than many writers realise.

Following the sold-out success of Timothy Daly’s 2019 course, we are delighted to offer a more extended and intensive study of structure for fiction writers. This four-week course will teach you many of the narrative structures and story patterns that lie beneath the surface of successful stories.

Participants will learn by applying the many narrative structures studied to their own writing and stories. Both macro-structures (those which drive an entire story) and micro-structures (paragraph structure, page textures, etc.) will be analysed and used by the participating writers in creative exercises. Other structures explored include three-part film structure; the plot snake; the components of linear narrative; episodic structure; and how the character journey and the relationship journey create the form of a story. The last hour of each session will involve participants reading out and analysing sections of their own developing stories and novel chapters.

Week-by-week Course Breakdown

Week 1

  • The vital opening page: different ways you can start a story – and create a world
  • Components of Linear Narrative and other classic story patterns
  • Reading & analysis of participating writers’ work

Week 2

  • Writing a chapter breakdown
  • Building up a story through fragment writing
  • Bullet-point plot and other story-building techniques
  • The relationship journey and how it applies to your story
  • Reading and analysis of participating writers’ work

Week 3

  • Structuring the climax and ending of your story
  • Writing the dialogue-driven sections of your story/novel
  • Working methods: part 1
  • Reading and analysis of participating writers’ work

Week 4

    • Working Methods: part 2
    • Imagistic writing and its techniques
    • Reading and analysis of participating writers’ work

Is this course right for you? Read our FAQ >

Expected Learning Outcomes

  1. Participants will receive a comprehensive picture of a rich variety of narrative structures and story-telling patterns.
  2. Participants will have the opportunity to use some of the narrative patterns as inspiration or formal stimulus for their story ideas.
  3. Short story writers will have completed or revised an entire original short story over the four weeks of the course. Those participating writers working on a longer work of fiction (e.g. a novel) will have the opportunity to have their story analysed and an improved chapter story-breakdown emerge from this analysis and re-writing.

Participant Requirements

All notes will be supplied. Just bring pens and paper. Writers will have the option of doing creative writing or structural analysis tasks to be brought to the next session. Please read our FAQ before enrolling.

If you are feeling unwell and experiencing any COVID-related symptoms on the day of the course, you must stay at home and contact us to let us know. As a participant in this course, you will be required to follow all COVID safety measures in place by Writing NSW to ensure the health and wellbeing of our community.

If you have questions about this course and/or COVID-safe guidelines, please contact us.


‘An informative, thought-provoking and useful course. I loved every minute of it!’

– Anne, 2019 participant

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