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Novel Writing Series: Plot Versus Truth - Finding the Most Exciting and Suspenseful Path of Your Story

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

11/15/2014 From 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM


$49 for members (log in for member pricing)

$109 nonmembers

At this time, this class is at capacity and registration has been closed. There will be no walk-up tickets available on the day of the class.

No genuine writer likes to cheat a reader. No reader likes to feel cheated. No one wants to reach the end of a novel and say, “Whoa—I didn’t see that coming, and never could have, given what the author failed to provide.” That’s why it’s essential to remain true to the elements and personalities of your narrative. But how to do so when pursuing a storyline that creates a world you (and your readers) wish to inhabit, demonstrates the points you wish to make, provides plenty of interesting surprises and suspenseful drama, and winds up with a satisfyingly believable and natural ending?

This class will open you up to following the cord of your characters’ journeys into unexpected territory, sending them off in directions you had not yet thought of, widening your imaginative possibilities, solving those painted-into-a-corner problems, and emerging from cul-de-sacs with creative ingenuity—all while maintaining the integrity of human truth and likelihood in your characters’ behavior. Remember the old adage: character IS plot. Consider this the Anti-Deus-Ex-Machina workshop for novelists!

Two weeks before scheduled class time: please submit a general outline of your plot (no more than three paragraphs) and include whatever plot problems are stumping you, if any, for classroom discussion, demonstrations, and solutions.

About the instructor:

Carol Dawson is both a novelist and nonfiction author whose books include the novels The Waking Spell, Body of Knowledge, Meeting the Minotaur, and The Mother-in-Law Diaries, all published by Algonquin Books, Simon and Schuster, Viking-Penguin, and translated overseas into several languages. Her award-winning non-fiction book House of Plenty: The Rise, Fall, and Revival of Luby's Cafeterias was published by the University of Texas Press. She has taught creative writing and literature at the College of Santa Fe, as well as in numerous workshops. In addition, her work has been published in magazines and journals, including Texas Monthly, Southern Living, The Oxford-American, Parenting Magazine, etc. Currently she is working on two historical novels, and researching her latest non-fiction book, Miles and Miles of Texas: The Story of the Texas Highway Department, 1917-2017, to be published in Fall of 2016 by Texas A&M University Press.

REGISTRATION BY MAIL: 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.

NOTE: Tickets are not refundable, but they are transferable. 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. For policies, please visit our Classes page.


This project is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office/Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future. 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


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