Lucy A. Snyder talks about her “The Plot Thickens” workshop

lucysnyderTell us something about your StokerCon workshop that is not in the original description:

In “The Plot Thickens”, participants will have the opportunity to outline the plot of a new supernatural horror story.

If you could participate in one other StokerCon workshop, which one would you choose and why?

I would take Linda Addison’s “The Scary World of Structured Poetry.” I love her work, and I love writing in more formal poetic forms, and I’d like to hear what she has to say on the subject.

Why do you feel that your workshop subject is especially important?

The plot is a critical element of any piece of fiction; it answers the question, “So what happened?” Without good plots, stories can seem dull and pointless.

What skills or achievements make you ideally suited to lead this workshop?

Some writers are natural-born storytellers who have an instinctive feel for plots. Me? I started out as a poet; I love language and wordplay. I had to learn how to plot. And because I had to learn it, I think I’m in a good position to teach it.

My first epiphany with regard to plots happened in the Clarion Workshop.  Before I attended it, I’d been writing short stories and had sold one, but I had no clear idea of why my other stories weren’t selling.

I’d taken a couple of creative writing courses in undergrad, and the instruction there had focused largely on the quality of micro-writing and on things like dialog and theme and metaphor. All good stuff, but the fundamental mechanics of what makes a story a story — namely the plot — were treated as something that just sort of happens.

During the week that author Joe Haldeman was teaching our Clarion class, he started talking about plots as they relate to short fiction. Nobody had ever before taken me around to a story, popped the hood, and showed me how it works. Seeing that type of story engine explained was an enormous “Ah-Ha!” moment. And I finally realized why my stories weren’t selling — my micro-writing might have been good, but the plots needed work.

I’m hoping to provide that “Ah-Ha!” for other writers who may be struggling with their own plots.



Click here to register for Lucy’s “The Plot Thickens” workshop or to read more about Horror University.