New Bedford Blubber Writers Workshop

Structuring Your Novel

Paul Goodchild

Paull L. Goodchild has written stories, novels, scripts, songs and beer labels. His books, Xmas (and other) Stories and The Case of the India Pale Ale, have both been featured locally in Southcoast Almanac Walking Book Tours. When not writing, Paull is a winemaker with thirty odd years in the business. In an earlier life, he was fiction editor for Ball magazine and has maintained a passion for helping others improve their work.

Structure in creative writing can be like house rules for playing pool: different everywhere you go, but when you’re there, that’s the only way to do it. Some writers eschew notions of structure or plot outlines until a full draft has been completed, believing that the formulaic nature of such devices will stifle their creativity. I would hazard to suggest that these people rely on their own natural sense of structure to get the job done. For the rest of us, who might have trouble getting a project off the ground or keep it going once the original impetus has faded, it can be a prompt.    


Part 1: I will provide a rundown of various frameworks used in storytelling. Three-acts, hero’s journeys, and all the most popular arcs will be covered, as will the various linear and non-linear styles of presentation.


Part 2: You will provide a synopsis, even an elevator pitch is enough, for a piece you are considering or are currently writing, be it a story, novel or script. We will workshop a tentative structure for that piece.


Part 3: We will discuss the ways in which we can use our structural notions to inspire creativity and engage in a productive process.



Workshop:  2 ½ hours

Cost:  Free

Instructor:  Laura Vaughan

What to bring:  Notebook, Pen, Laptop

When:  July 29. • 6 to 8:30

Where:  Co-Creative Center  •  137 Union Street  •  New Bedford, MA 02740











Reading service

When I’m reading or watching a piece of fiction, and a sour note is hit, I always think, gee I wish they had run that by me before going with that. We could all use an extra set of eyes on something. I will provide a thorough reading of your piece, producing a critique and suggestions to make it better. I will not be trying to make it more publishable, nor will I be doing line edits. The service is priced accordingly.