See also:
Plot 1: Mechanics

Plot 2: Machinations

Plot 2: Machinations

Plot 2: Machinations is an Intensive, meaning it happens in a short time span (1 day in NYC, or 2 days on Zoom, or 3 weeks Online). The course includes a mixture of lectures and exercises. It’s open to writers of any level. Farther down, you can view a syllabus for this course.

If you feel you’re solid with the basics of plot, you may go straight to Plot 2. If you’re in doubt about this, start with Plot 1; it will be valuable even if some of it is review.

Plot is the art of drawing them in, then delivering a sequence of events that grows progressively more interesting and culminates with a killer ending. A good plot is what most readers and audiences crave…and what most writers fear.

Whether you’re working on something true or completely made-up, short or long, we’ll show you how to craft a plot that keeps them rapt from beginning to middle to end.

Plot 1 teaches the basic mechanics of plotting, the things you can’t get far without, such as: desire driving the story, the beginning/middle/end structure, cause and effect, how characters determine which way the plot goes.

Plot 2 teaches the crafty machinations required for expert plotting: the techniques for twisting and turning, intriguing and dazzling, and, most of all, keeping people hooked until the breathtaking finish.

About Plot
Plot 2: Machinations

The course sneakily gets you writing in ways you never thought you could write.

Kristi Walsh

biotech executive


This is a cross-genre course, applicable to any kind of writing that contains storytelling, including nonfiction.

Upcoming Classes

Masks are not required, but we’ll provide masks for those who want them. We are no longer requesting proof of vaccination.

More Covid details
  • Starts Tuesday, August 13
    Online, anytime
    3-Week Intensive
  • Starts Tuesday, October 8
    Online, anytime
    3-Week Intensive


Registration fee $25, paid once per term



This course gives an overview of the insider tricks of great plotting, in any genre. Course components:
     Writing exercises

Week 1
Time and Tricks: Time—compression and expansion. Flashbacks and framing devices. Suspense. Surprise.

Week 2
Deviations: When to deviate from the plot norms. Multiple protagonists—team, romance, opposing, witness, ensemble. Intriguing structures—organizing principle, unique shapes, unconventional subplots, nonlinear time. Anti-plot.

Week 3
A Well-Made Thing: Process—brainstorming and outlining. Logic. Pacing. Climax.

Each week students are provided with case studies of great stories, as well as notes on the working out of a from-scratch plot.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.


Pamela Harris
Pamela Harris

Pamela Harris has had TV pilots packaged with 20th Century Fox and others, and served as a staff writer for Life on the Line, a one-hour drama (Oxygen Network). She wrote the feature screenplay Joyville, which was selected for the Writers Lab, a program sponsored by Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Oprah Winfrey, and was a finalist for the WGA/FilmNation Fellowship. She directed and co-wrote a short film, En Route, that screened at many festivals including Soho International, Vermont Music and Film, and Adirondack. Pamela is also an award-winning visual artist and has exhibited extensively. She holds a BFA from the Hartford Art School.

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