F207. Plotting the Realist Novel

Room 400, Washington State Convention Center, Level 4
Friday, February 28, 2014
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm


What are the mechanics of plot in the realist novel, and what do they have in common with those of other genres? How do you decide what kind of story you're writing? What should happen around page 100? How do you create urgency and momentum? What’s the relationship between plot and structure? Participants describe how they've turned a character sketch into a plot, how to use mystery to drive a narrative, what's necessary for a compelling first page, and other plotting tips and techniques.



Leah Stewart is the author of four novels: Body of a Girl, The Myth of You and Me, Husband and Wife, and The History of Us. She received a 2010 NEA fellowship in fiction and is the director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Cincinnati.

Marjorie Celona is the author of the novel Y. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she was recently named the Olive B. O'Connor Fellow at Colgate University. Her stories have appeared in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Harvard Review, and Glimmer Train.

Brock Clarke is the author of five books of fiction, most recently the novels Exley and An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England. His award winning short fiction and nonfiction has appeared in dozens of magazines, newspapers, and anthologies. He teaches at Bowdoin College.

Lan Samantha Chang is the author of two novels, All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost and Inheritance, and a collection of short fiction, Hunger. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. She is professor of creative writing and director of the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.

Susan Finch


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center