How to plot a novel

Writers’ HQ’s 5-star online Plotstormers means you can learn the fundamentals of plotting your story, wherever you are in the world. Designed to fit around everyday life and a busy schedule, you will start with a simple idea, and finish with a comprehensive outline of your novel ready to be first drafted.

They say everyone has a novel inside them – the tricky part is getting it out without painful invasive surgery. This in-depth novel outlining course contains everything you need to plan out your story from start to finish so that you're rip roaring ready to get that first draft out, without too much swearing.


Build a practical understanding of story structure and plotting.

Learn the fundamental elements that make up every good plot and the basics of story structure; explore who's in your story, what their roles are, and how to make compelling characters; how to build tension and conflict; how good beginnings, middles and ends work; how to break your story down into chapters and scenes; and what to do with your outline once you have it.


By the end of the course, you’ll walk away with a comprehensive outline of your story and a plan for what to do next (hint: write it!).

Exercises, examples, group discussion, swearing and crying will enable you to grow your fictional world and build your story plan, taking it from ‘idea in your head’ to ‘actual real story that’s ready to be properly written’.


  • A series of online classes and exercises to lead you, step-by-step, towards a comprehensive chapter-by-chapter, scene-by-scene outline of your story, ready and waiting to be first drafted.
  • Tips and advice from brilliant authors who are at the top of their game, including Costa Award winning Emma Healey, Polari Prize winner Paul McVeigh, and Bridport Prize winner Vanessa Gebbie.
  • Lessons on story structure and techniques to make your story adhere to or break the rules.
  • Advice on how to turn big picture chapter ideas into unputdownable scenes with believable and complex characters.
  • Access to our private student Facebook group to discuss ideas, techniques and get advice from your tutors and fellow writers.
  • The opportunity to be part of our utterly lovely social media community.
  • OPTIONAL EXTRA: A one-to-one critique of your final outline and solid constructive feedback.

Love for Plotstormers

BD Copey

Just What I Needed!

It was brought to my attention ever so subtly, Sarah I'm looking at you, that I wasn't stuck because I had a lack of fodder for my novel. I was stuck because I lacked a coherent plot, and an outline of how to get from beginning, through the middle...

Claire Wade

A reformed pantser

I have always written without a plan but Plotstormers helped me realise I could save myself a lot of work and rewriting if I structure an outline and work from there. I'm not sure if I'll be able to stick to my plan but at least it's there to help...

Marisa Blagden

Whoop fucking whoop

This was the best plotting course around. Thought I was a plotter before I did this but now I know differently. I'm exhausted - but I have a very good plan for my novel!

Jan McCarthy

Plotstormers - guidance, structure, encouragement, a kick up the pants!

I wasn't convinced any kind of online writing course could benefit me, having heard other writers' tales of disappointment, but I would have no hesitation in recommending this one - and indeed anything else Writers' HQ put out. Excellent in every ...