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"The 3-Act Structure" Online with Carolyn Cohagan

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Online Class

3/6/2019 From 06:30 PM CST to 09:30 PM CST


$49 for members (sign in for member pricing)

Registration for this class has closed.


Do you have a great plot idea, but you're stuck after page fifty? Are you in love with your characters, but no one else seems to be?


The three-act-structure has been used in screenwriting for decades, and it can be just as useful for novels. Thinking about an "inciting incident," "turning points," and a "rock bottom revelation" can help writers create an outline before they begin a manuscript or sort out writer's block after they’ve begun. Participants will leave this class with an outline or a structure format to consult during revisions.

To illustrate 3-act structure, Carolyn will discuss the Harrison Ford film Witness. Students are recommended to watch the film or remind themselves of its plot before class.




  • You're looking for a flexible structure for your novel.
  • You're interested in a backbone for your novel but not a prescriptive beat-by-beat approach.



  • "Lots of brainstorming and that was a very useful adjunct to the lecture on structure."
  • "Carolyn was great -- funny, comfortable, easy to listen to and follow."



Carolyn Cohagan began her writing career on the stage. She has performed stand-up and one-woman shows at festivals around the world from Adelaide to Edinburgh. Her first novel, The Lost Children, became part of the Scholastic Book Club in 2011 and was nominated for a 2014 Massachusetts Children's Book Award. Her Young Adult novel, Time Zero, was the winner of the 2017 Readers Favorite Award and the 2017 International Book Award. She lives in Austin, where she is the founder of Girls With Pens, a creative writing organization dedicated to fostering the individual voices and offbeat imaginations of girls ages 9-15.



Online Class



$49 members (sign in for member pricing)

$109 nonmembers


Before purchasing, please read all policies as noted below and on our Classes page.

Registration will close on Wednesday, March 6, at 5 p.m. CST. If your browser has difficulty with our website store, or if you prefer to mail in a check, click here for a class registration form. The document provides instructions on where to mail it.

Once a purchase has been made, tickets are not refundable and registration cannot be transferred to a different class or event. No exceptions will be made. If you purchase a ticket and then find you cannot attend, someone else can attend in your stead. Simply contact us at or 512-499-8914 and let us know so that we can update the class roster.



Our classes offer a combination of lecture and practical exercises, determined by the individual instructor, on focused aspects of the craft and business of writing. Your fellow participants will come from a range of writing experience, from beginners to people with MFA degrees and published books. WLT instructors, participants, and administrators all work together to create a welcoming, supportive environment.

If you haven't taken a class with us in recent years, feel free to give us a call at 512-499-8914 if you'd like to discuss whether our programming is the right fit for your needs.


This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Visit Austin at


Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to


This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit