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Rhythm & Arc: Mastering the Art of Plotting

  • Iowa Writer's House 332 East Davenport Street Iowa City, IA, 52245 United States (map)

When: Friday, February 9, 6:00pm-7:30pm

Saturday, February 10, 9:30am-3:30pm (Lunch break at noon)

Sunday, February 11, 9:30am-3:30pm (Lunch break at noon)

Where:  Iowa Writers' House, 332 East Davenport St

Cost: $265


The human brain craves story. We’ve known this instinctually since our ancestors communed over cooking pots, huddled during long wintry nights, and celebrated ritual and ceremony. Now, brain science is providing proof that we learn best via story. That said, some tales fuel the imagination and engage their audiences more than others. Why?

In this course, we’ll explore three narrative journey devices in order to better understand their structure, characterization, and universal qualities. Undeniably, the hero’s quest has timeless appeal and continues to drive the plots of bestselling novels and Hollywood movies. More and more, however, the heroine’s (or feminine) journey and its unique arc is being explored for story constructs, so we’ll take a look at how it compares. And with the crossover success of the YA genre, it makes sense to consider the coming-of-age journey separately and equally.

Finally, we’ll use writing prompts and exercises to plot effectively and to up the emotional appeal of our writing no matter the genre. While we’ll focus on novels, this comparative workshop will benefit all storytellers. Come ready to work and to think deeply about story. The weekend is sure to provide plotting goals and inspiration. This workshop is designed for writers of all levels, including beginners and those with projects in progress.




Wendy Delsol is the author of four novels: The McCloud Home for Wayward Girls (Penguin/Berkley) and the trilogy Stork, Frost, and Flock (Candlewick Press). Stork received a star and Perfect Ten award from VOYA, and the trilogy garnered numerous rave reviews; it has been called “A breathtaking urban fantasy” by School Library Journal and “A superior paranormal adventure” by Kirkus.


Wendy is the recipient of an Iowa Author Award and has become an active organizer in the Iowa author community. She served on the inaugural board for the Wonder of Words Des Moines book festival. She has been a featured speaker, panelist, or moderator for numerous engagements: the Out Loud Author Series, the Iowa City Book Festival, AViD, and Teen Read Week.

She has an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and a graduate degree from California State University, Long Beach. She was born in Canada, grew up in Michigan, lived in Los Angeles for 20 years, and now resides in the Des Moines area.



I’m excited to teach this class because I’m passionate about writing. I fully ascribe to author Lisa Cron’s theory that humans are “wired for story.” And I’m eager to spend a weekend in the exchange of creative energies.


Everyone has a story to tell. If you are financially unable to attend this workshop, scholarships are available through our generous partners and donors. Apply here.


Helping another person attend a workshop is helping them achieve their dreams. Thank you for making our world a better place.


All course information is sent to participants upon registering including confirmation of workshop times, location, and materials. Our workshop cancellation policy can be found here:

Later Event: February 11
Art of the Pitch