Back to Calendar

"Plot and Conflict in Fiction" with Bill Cotter

Add to my calendar

St. Edward's University, Trustee Hall 303
3001 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704

10/6/2018 From 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM


$49 for members (sign in for member pricing)


Registration for this class has closed. Walk-ins will be accepted as space allows at the member walk-in rate of $59 and non-member rate of $119.


Are you constantly asking, "What happens now?" or "Why is this happening again?" about your stories or novel?

In this class, veteran novelist and experienced editor Bill Cotter will offer a top-to-bottom examination of what makes a plot tick. Participants will look at the the distinctions between the terms "plot," "story," and "narrative," then define what is meant by "conflict" in the fictional landscape. They will look at examples of how plot and conflict function in contemporary fiction and investigate how to structure a novel or short story so that conflict drives the plot.
Participants will leave the class with an understanding of how conflict is the signal derivative of a strong plot and a toolbox of examples of conflict that can be used in their own work.



  • You're writing in any fiction genre.
  • Your plot feels as if it is slowing down or falling apart.
  • You want to clarify what the driving force of your story is.



Bill Cotter was born in Dallas in 1964. His first two novels, Fever Chart and The Parallel Apartments were published by McSweeney’s, and his last, Saint Philomene’s Infirmary, a middle-grade adventure, was published in February by Henry Holt. His short fiction has appeared in The Paris Review and elsewhere, and an essay for The Believer titled "The Gentleman’s Library" was awarded a Pushcart Prize in 2014. Cotter is currently at work on a novel about the lottery. When he is not writing, he is coaching others with their literary projects.



St. Edward's University, 3001 S. Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704, Trustee Hall 303. You can find a St. Edward's University campus map here.



$49 members (sign in for member pricing)

$109 nonmembers


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

Online registration will close at the end of Thursday, October 4. After that you can pay admission at the door with a check for the walk up rate - $59 for members and $119 for nonmembers - as long as seats are available. 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


The Writers' League of Texas would like to thank St. Edward's University for its generous support and commitment to community, ongoing education, and the arts. Visit