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Places, People and the 3-Act Plot

the essentials of storytelling

Eight-session online workshop, 1 hour per session, live teaching, via Zoom.

Start Date: Tuesday 2nd June 20, 7-8pm for eight consecutive weeks, ending on 21st July 20

(meeting invite to follow after enrolment)


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This sold out very quickly. If you're still interested please email and we'll put you on a prioriy list to be informed of new times and dates.

Join us in our virtual classroom for an eight-session creative writing workshop from the comfort of your own home, via Zoom.

With numbers strictly limited to six, this eight-session workshop will take you step by step through the process of creating a believable world, relatable characters, and developing a plotline. Then you’ll finish by livening up your text using dialogue. By the end of the eight weeks you’ll be well prepared to write your own tale in whatever format you like.

In the sessions, when you’re not working as a group, there will be time for you to work on original material, ask questions, and share your work (if you want to).

Printable worksheets will accompany each session, so you can continue developing your story between our get-togethers. Plus, we’ll set up a private online classroom where you can share your work with your workshop mates (again – if you want to).

This is a great opportunity to develop your writing skills and make friends with others on the same journey. It’ll be exciting, stretching, lots of fun, and give you the confidence to take your writing forward. This workshop is suitable for writers who want to develop their story writing skills, including beginners.


Workshop Outline:

Each session will start with some writing chat and a creative game to help the group get to know each other, relax and settle into a creative mindset.

Week 1: World Building – Here you’ll learn how to create a world for your characters to live in. This could be anything from fantasy or sci-fi to current day, past or future reality. In this session we’ll give you an exercise so you can start working on your world.

Week 2: Character Building – This week you’ll learn how to develop fully rounded, believable characters. You will then be given an exercise to help start creating the main character for your own story.

Week 3: Group Work – This it the first session where we’ll be creating something as a group. Taking turns, we’ll come-up with a world and characters for a story that we’ll continue developing over the next two weeks.

Week 4: The 3-Act Plot – Part One – The practice of breaking a story down (or building one up) into three distinctive ‘acts’ is as old as the hills. The first reference to it comes from Aristotle’s Poetics, written way back in the 4th century BC, but even he didn’t invent it. Modern day screen-writers, dramatists and novelists have refined the three act plot into a precise roadmap that can help any enthusiastic writer come up with a gripping, page-turning story. So, in this session, we’ll start following the map’s twists and turns, working together as a group to develop the first part of a plot so you can see precisely how it works.

Week 5: The 3-Act Plot – Part Two – Here we’ll carry on developing the group’s story plot through to the end.

Week 6: Start Your Story – Now you’re more familiar and comfortable with the structure of a 3-act plot, in this session you’ll use it to start developing your own storyline with the help of worksheets.

Week 7: How to Write Dialogue – Here you’ll learn what dialogue can be used for in your story, and how to lay it out.

Week 8: Writing a Scene Using Dialogue – In this final session, you’ll have the chance to write a scene from your story using dialogue. Then there will be time to share your writing and receive constructive feedback.


Introductory price £160 will normally be £200.



Phil and Susie Zooming


Workshop Leader :Phil Busby – E.N. (M) B.A. Hons

A playwright, singer-songwriter and author, Phil works in course development for The Writers Bureau, Manchester. Originally a psychiatric nurse, he studied Theatre at Dartington College of Arts before working across Europe for ten years as a performer, writer and workshop leader.

Workshop Support: Susie Busby Principal of The Writers Bureau

Susie has been involved in creative writing training for 30 years. She is an experienced writing competition adjudicator and has a passion for literature, art and astronomy.

By taking part in this workshop you will:

  • meet other writers.

  • develop an understanding of how to create worlds, characters and gripping stories with a structure you can come back to time and time again.

  • learn how to use dialogue effectively and set it out professionally.

  • learn new ways to improve your writing.

  • have a well planned story outline to kick-start your writing project.

  • gain increased self-confidence to take your writing forward on your own.


We’re operating as normal in these unusual times.

So don’t worry about your studies. All our tutors work from home and we’re set up for HQ staff to work remotely.  You’ll still be able to contact us if you need to. All you have to do is stay healthy and keep your brain active by studying your course.

Alice Vinten Writers Bureau's Student of the Year 2020

“All I knew when I joined up with The Writers Bureau is that I'd always wanted to write and never had the nerve to start. I've been an avid reader from an early age, and 'being a published writer' seemed like an unobtainable dream. The Writers Bureau opened my eyes to possibilities that I'd never considered before - writing for magazines, pitching for non-fiction books, and researching the writing industry. On the 18th April 2019, my memoir On the Line - Life and Death in the Metropolitan Police was published in paperback by Two Roads Books.”

Alice Vinten - Writers Bureau Student of the Year 2020

Free Creative Writing Course Prospectus

Institute of Training and Occupational Learning

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