Nina Schuyler - Building a Story: Plot

Building a Story: Plot

Two Sundays, April 14 and 21
11:30AM -1:30PM


Hybrid: Corte Madera store and via Zoom
Classes will be recorded and video replay will be available for a limited time. 

* Note that for all classes held on Zoom, registration closes at noon the day before the class begins.  Same-day registrations are not available, so please plan ahead.


In this two-day workshop, students will explore a different approach to plot each session: the causation plot and braided or episodic plot structure.

Session 1: At our first meeting, we’ll focus on causation plot. George Saunders calls this approach “the preferred, most efficient, highest-order form of energy transfer.” Causation plot resembles how we tell a story about ourselves. We string together events to create coherence and meaning. After reading and discussing a published short story that exemplifies causation, we’ll do in-class writing, using this plot’s energies to build a story.

Session 2: Sometimes the causation plot isn’t the right form. In the second session, we’ll explore the braided or episodic plot. This plot consists of discrete events not connected causally but loosely by imagery, theme, or something else. For this session, we’ll read and discuss examples of published stories using this plot, which will prepare you for in-class writing and building your own braided story.

Nina Schuyler’s short story collection, In This Ravishing World, won the W.S. Porter Prize and the Prism Prize for Climate Literature and will be published on July 2, 2024. Her novel, Afterword, was published in 2023 and was named a Top 100 Notable Book by Shelf Unbound and a Top May Book by Alta Journal.


Book Passage Corte Madera
51 Tamal Vista blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925