Narrative Drive and the Messy Middle, with Susanne Dunlap

We’ve all experienced it. We’re cruising along writing our novel or memoir. We know what will happen and have some idea how we’ll get there. The beginning is really promising. Then at a point roughly a third of the way in, momentum slows or grinds to a halt, and we can’t quite identify what’s wrong or figure out how to fix it. Why? Because the seeds for sustained narrative drive are sown from the very beginning—even before you put words on the page. Without some basic structural concepts in place (don’t panic, pantsers! No outlining here), the chances you’ll find yourself stuck in the middle are greatly increased. In this half-day workshop, we’ll examine the underpinnings of pacing and narrative drive and talk about some examples that successfully keep readers turning the pages to the very end. Then we’ll do some exercises together to put your story to the test, and see if you can identify something that helps you fix or prevent that saggy middle.  Online. 

Saturday, March 2nd, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Susanne Dunlap is the author of ten historical novels for adults and teens. Her young adult novel The Musician’s Daughter was a Junior Library Guild selection and a Bankstreet Children’s Book of the Year, and it was nominated for the Missouri Gateway Readers Prize and the Utah Book AwardHer novels Listen to the Wind and The Spirit of Fire are the first volumes of a medieval trilogy for adults, The Orphans of Tolosa. Listen to the Wind is a finalist for the Chaucer Awards for Pre-1750 Historical Fiction and a Distinguished Favorite in the NYC Big Book Awards. Susanne has a PhD in music history from Yale University and is an Author Accelerator Advanced Certified Book Coach.