4-week outline your story

Fall: November 8-29

“Watt has an assured talent for complex narrative.”

The Globe and The Mail


The challenge in outlining a novel, memoir, or screenplay lies in marrying the wildness of your imagination to the rigor of story structure. There is no formula to creating an outline, but there is craft involved.

In this four-week workshop, each writer will discover a process of connecting to the primal forces in their characters to reveal plot. Through this process, you'll discover the foundational elements that will help you to unlock the story within. The workshop includes lecture, stream-consciousness writing exercises and structure questions designed to help you build a compelling narrative. We will watch clips from popular films and review scenes from works of memoir and fiction to illustrate the principles.

WHEN: Mondays, Nov. 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th at 12:00-2:00 p.m. (Pacific Time)

WHERE: Live on Zoom with Alan Watt

“I seriously didn’t think getting published could be a reality until I took your workshop!”
Aditi Khorana, Author of Mirror in the Sky, Razorbill, Penguin Books

“Al Watt is a master teacher, with a brilliant, intuitive understanding of story.”
Allen Zadoff, Author of The Unknown Assassin series, Little Brown

“Watt is a superb storyteller with an amazing ability to create suspense… fascinating and elaborate characters… multi-layered, complex and tragically realistic.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“Al Watt delivers the most concise, most graspable breakdown of story structure that I've ever heard.”
Andrew Lampl, Playwright

course breakdown

Week OneUnlock the Story Within
Through a series of exercises, each writer will connect to the protagonist’s dilemma at the heart of the story. The dilemma is the source of the story from which all tension and conflict arise. We will explore your protagonist’s wants and needs, uncover their transformation at the climax, and discover why you are uniquely qualified to tell this story.

Week TwoAct One/Thesis
We will take a close look at the first act of your story. Through lecture, discussion, and one-on-one work, we will cover the five key stages in your protagonist’s journey, from Inciting Incident to Opposing Argument to the Decision that propels your protagonist into the second act.

Week ThreeAct Two/Antithesis
In this workshop, we will explore the four key stages that your protagonist goes through, from 1) False Hope to 2) Temptation to 3) Suffering and 4) Surrender.

Week FourAct Three/Synthesis
In this workshop we will explore the final four stages in your protagonist’s journey from
1) Accepting Reality to 2) Taking Action to 3) Battle Scene and finally 4) New Equilibrium

your teacher Alan Watt

alan watt standing in front of an L.A. Hillside smiling, hand in pocket

Alan is known as the Writer Whisperer.

He is the writer/director of the award-winning independent feature film, Interior Night, which won BEST FEATURE awards at U.S. Film Festivals in New York, Breckenridge, Cleveland and Catalina, as well as The Boston Film Festival’s Filmmaker Visionary Award.

He's an L.A. Times Bestselling novelist for Diamond Dogs, which won France’s Prix Printemps for best foreign novel of 2004.