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Plaracterization = Plot + Characterization

A Masterclass in Four Sessions with Joshua Mohr
October 7 - 15, 2024

Middlewick, Glastonbury, UK


In this four-session workshop, Joshua Mohr will teach you how to get out of the way of your characters, and let them take the story where it's supposed to go.

The best plots aren’t controlled by the author. They spring from the characters themselves.

Got it? Good.

So, the writer masterminds all things, yes. But the more you realize that your characters are sovereign beings with independent consciousnesses, the better prepared you are to traverse what Joshua Mohr calls plaracterization.

Get it? Plot + characterization = PLARACTERIZATION.

In this workshop led by the author of acclaimed novels like Damascus and Fight Song, you'll ponder characters’ decision-making, the causality between plot points, and how to keep a reader excitedly flipping pages. You'll delve into specific tactics for constructing a present action, and how to fold backstory into it.


Plaracterization is a strategy that will help any writer, by getting you to dig deep down into your characters, your plot, and the very DNA of your story!

About the Workshop Leader

Joshua Mohr is the author of the novels “Termite Parade,” an Editors’ Choice on The New York Times Best Seller List, and “Some Things that Meant the World to Me,” one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a SF Chronicle best-seller. His most recent novel is “Damascus” about which the New York Times said:

“The author’s jaunty voice [is] Beat-poet cool…Mohr nails the atmosphere of a San Francisco still breathing in the smoke that lingers from the days of Jim Jones and Dan White, a time when passionate ideologies and personal dysfunction intermingled and combusted.” — New York Times

Mohr teaches in the MFA program at the University of San Francisco and Stanford University’s creative writing program.

Here’s how the four sessions will unfold.

Letting the Characters Drive the Plot

During the opening session, you'll learn how to construct plots that are a meaningful series of events. The trick will be contemplating how to let the characters, themselves, tell you what's meaningful to them, rather than using any authorial superimpositions.

Dramatizing the Internal Struggle

You'll turn your attention to conflict and tension. The best stories contain both internal and external conflicts; this week, you'll figure out tactics for how to dramatize your protagonist's internal wants and desires.

Granting Characters Free Will

Developing a cogent psychology—a psychology for a character that's independent from the author's—might be the hardest thing you do as storytellers. You'll discuss a variety of tactics aimed at giving your characters free will.

Plot Points that Illuminate Character Traits


In the last session, you'll put all these pieces together and discuss how to map your images, picking external plot points that illuminate new information about your character's inner-lives. When you nurture the symbiosis between these two domains, that's when plaracterization works at its highest octane.

What Joshua’s Mentees Have to Say

"Joshua Mohr's Plotlines class was invaluable to me. I took it because I'd been trying to write a novel but felt stuck and thought that writing to deadlines (imposed by someone other than me) and getting feedback on my work from other writers would help kick-start me. It did. But more importantly, Josh's "have fun on the page" mentality helped me remember why I became a writer in the first place: because I enjoy it. Somewhere along the line, I'd started to see it as an intimidating chore, but the supportive environment of this class--along with the exceptionally useful lectures on plotting, characterization, and dialogue-- reminded me to put the joy back into writing. I learned a great deal from the lectures and would absolutely recommend the Plotlines course to any writer."


"As a writer I felt like I underwent a metamorphosis during this last month. Josh was generous and giving with his knowledge, the wisdom of experience flowed through everything he said and every bit of feedback he gave. I wish I did this course years ago, it would have saved me a lot of flailing about, having spent years nurturing the desire to write, but not really knowing where to start or how to get traction."




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