We Are Going to Road Trip!

We Are Going to Road Trip!.
Follow us on our newest Blog The Writer’s Road Trip.


The Shape of the Thing

Writing has a form. Beyond understanding and becoming competent in the traditional elements of fiction (such as plot, conflict, character, setting, point of view, etc.) understanding the language of form can help a writer uncover the (metaphorical) shape of the work. “The Shape of the Thing” refers to the whole form your writing takes, from the twist and turns of a sentence to the more global view of the plot puzzle.

One way to examine the shape of a novel (short story, memoir, essay, etc.) is to look for a character’s arc following a pyramid map. As old as Aristotle, this shape includes rising action, falling action, climax and denouement. The study of The Writer’s Journey (based on Joseph Campbell’s work) adds the influence of myth and archetype in modern dramatic works.

When we take the study of shape and patterns such as found in permaculture and apply them to writing, we uncover a myriad of framework tools that can guide a written work. One way we learn is through example and copying that example. Copying shape is no different. In our workshops we help writers:

  • Identify the shape of a craft-based habit in a published work.
  • Reduce it to a general rule.
  • Apply liberally.

Come prepared to play with forms, use diagrams and reduce plot points to post it notes that will swirl around the page. Knowing the shape of your work will help you with the most important aspect of your writing— knowing the shape of your story. Come and expect to have fun at our workshop at the Writer.ly Pub Camp on November 15, 2014 in Seattle for more.


 Come hear me talk  at Seattle PubCamp on November 15th. As one of my friends, you get $60 off the regular ticket price when you use the promo code “friends.” Hope to see you there! Yes, I want to go!

NOTE: This article was written by Ron Heacock and Karen Walasek.

I’m Doing a workshop at Seattle PubCamp! called The Shape of the Thing

Not only is my collection of short stories coming out on the 15th of November but you can come hear me and Karen talk about Structural Mapping Techniques at Seattle PubCamp on November 15th. As one of my friends, you get $60 off the regular ticket price when you use the promo code “friends.” Hope to see you there! bpt.me/852767

Here’s the short write up of my workshop:

The Shape of the Thing
Ron Heacock & Karen Walasek

Writers are told not to edit until they complete the first draft, because it is impossible to know the shape of your work (whether a novel, short story, memoir, etc). But when we are in the fit of the creative chaos, writers need some sort of guidance. In this workshop we will discuss and practice using structural mapping techniques that help keep the story moving through to the completion of your draft and even to the completion of your manuscript.