Join OWC for two twisted afternoons in November with femmes noir thriller author Valerie J. Brooks, who will teach the art of the plot twist.
In this workshop, writers will learn the building blocks of creating plot twists for any genre from memoir to thriller. Valerie uses a PowerPoint presentation and examples from all genres to teach the foundation that a work-in-progress needs in order to create credible plot twists that have continuity with theme, story, and characters.
When: Saturday, November 13, 2021, from 1 to 3 p.m. and Saturday, November 20, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (Note that the November 20 class is longer.)
Where: Your house on Zoom
Registration: $40 until October 25
$60 October 26 to November 11. Space is limited
Starting with the definition of plot twists, the workshop covers the foundation of an effective plot twist:
- The need for suspense and how to create it, and
- The identification of what drives your main character and what matters to them both externally (plot) and internally (story).
Participants will learn what a work-in-progress (WIP) needs in order to create effective plot twists. Examples of ineffective plot twists will also be covered.
Participants will use their WIPs during the exercises to learn
- What plot twists do
- The five rules for creating twists
- The two major categories of plot twists
- The four main types of plot twists.
Examples from film and literature will be used.
Plot twists are not about the reader but about what matters most to the main character. When readers understand what matters to your character, they will care about your character. When you add effective plot twists, readers won’t ever forget what your characters have endured. Plot twists are an effective way to create a page turner.
Participants will leave with copies of all slide material, two pages of resources and further reading, and a list of all films and books mentioned during the workshop.
About Your Instructor
Multi-award-winning author Valerie J. Brooks writes femmes-noir psychological thrillers where the women are badass and take center stage. The first in the Angeline Porter Trilogy Revenge in 3 Parts was a finalist for the Nancy Pearl Book Award and a winner in the International Readers’ Favorites Thriller Awards. NY Times bestselling author Kevin O’Brien called her second novel in the trilogy Tainted Times 2 “a real nail-biter from first page to the last.”
A lifelong writer and reader, she reads everything from Daphne du Maurier to the latest Scandinavian crime writers. Her English war-bride mom and artistic army officer dad raised her with my two siblings in ultra conservative New Hampshire during the 1950-60s. Growing up in puritanical New England, she was drawn to the gothic, to secrets, mystery, and the dark side of human nature. As her English mum once said, “You’re a good girl who wants to be bad.” Now she has the perfect conduit for her “bad girl” side—writing noir.
After studying film noir in college, she found her noir voice for fiction. She received an Elizabeth George Foundation grant and was the recipient of five writing residencies. She teaches classes and workshops in writing noir and creating plot twists, plus reviews mystery, suspense and thriller novels, podcasts, and streaming shows on her blog.
She’s a member of Sisters in Crime (Columbia River Chapter), Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Oregon Writers Colony (past board member), Willamette Writers (co-founder WW Speakers Series) and Professional Women’s Networking Association. She teaches workshops and classes in how to write noir and how to create plot twists to keep your reader reading.
Brooks lives in Oregon’s McKenzie River Valley with her husband, Dan, and their Havanese pooch Stevie Nicks.
As an exciting addition to this class, on November 20 at 3 p.m., Valerie will be joined at the end of class by Hannah Mary McKinnon, bestselling thriller author and co-host with Hank Phillippi Ryan of “First Chapter Fun.” They will talk about how Hannah develops her plot twists, especially in her recent starred thriller You Will Remember Me that NYTimes bestselling author Lisa Unger called “Riveting, smart, and utterly diabolical.”
Register for the Workshop
Valerie Brooks Plot Twist Workshop