Gay romance fiction

The Genre Plot: form vs. formula

a craft workshop for genre authors

  • Format: available in lengths from one to six hours.
  • Technical requirements: projector/screen if available.


Class Blurb:

THE GENRE PLOT with Damon Suede

A plotting class even pantsers love… Even when a happy ending is certain, a great plot keeps your writing fresh while amplifying your voice. Learn how to craft a sure-fire structure and launch your story.

We go beyond the bullet points and coockie-cutter structure. Rather hammering one “true” blueprint, we’ll break down major story models from Aristotle to Netflix, identify their seven shared points, and help you develop your own narrative strategy.

"No one deserves to be punished for loving with an open heart." (Hot Head - D. Suede)

Class Description:

The Genre Plot is comprehensive exploration of narrative structure and theories about its use over the past two thousand years. In this session we’ll cover:

  • the basics of classical plotting, beginnign with Aristotle, Shakepeare, and Freytag.
  • Cinematic models: the traditional three acts, Vogler's monomyth,
  • Beat Sheet paradigms: Save the Cat, Sequencing, and the Moral Premise.
  • Pulp techniques from Dwight Swain, the W-Plot, Snowflake Method, and more.
  • Pamela Regis' comprehensive analysis of the romance genre.
  • The Seven narrative points common to all genre fiction and a Plotting synthesis.

Though this class operates primarily as a lecture, there will be practical discussion of application to student projects.


  • A clear understanding of all the popular plotting systems of the past 2000 years si students can identify ideas that work for them
  • a look at the distinctions between cinema and fiction, and the ways that confusion can wreck a story
  • a list of the seven narrative points and a plotting method useable by pantsers and conscious plotters.
  • A comprehensive fusion (Genre Plot Rosetta Stone!) of all these systems to facilitate understanding and conversations with colleagues.




 "For an endless moment, Runt imagined the crooked corporation had folded and they’d been forgotten, laughing and living together under these perfect suns, waiting for wives that would never come, happily hunting fresh meat at the sharp edge of the galaxy." (Grown Men - D. Suede)

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Recommended reading:


  • Aristotle – The Poetics
  • Gustav Freytag – Technique of the Drama
  • Northrup Frye – The Anatomy of Criticism
  • William Gibson – Shakespeare’s Game
  • N.J. Lowe – The Classical Plot and the Invention of Western Narrative
  • Walter Watson - The Lost Second Book of Aristotle's "Poetics"

 Hollywood Three-Act Structure

  • Linda Cowgill – Secrets of Screenplay Structure: How to Recognize and Emulate the Structural Frameworks of Great Films
  • Steven V. Duncan – Genre Screenwriting: How to Write Popular Screenplays that Sell
  • Syd Field – Screenplay (n.b. dated now, but useful) and The Screenwriter’s Workbook
  • Lew Hunter - Screenwriting 434: The Industry's Premier Teacher Reveals the Secrets of the Successful Screenplay
  • Robert McKee – Story: Style, Structure, Substance, & the Principles of Screenwriting
  • Tom Pope – Good Scripts, Bad Scripts: Learning the Craft of Screenwriting Through 25 of the Best and Worst Films in History


  • Joseph Campbell – Hero with a Thousand Faces and The Power of Myth
  • Kim Hudson – The Virgin's Promise: Writing Stories of Feminine Creative, Spiritual and Sexual Awakening
  • Christopher Vogler – The Writer's Journey (also Memo from the Story Department)
  • Stuart Voytilla – Myth and the Movies: Discovering the Mythic Structure of 50 Unforgettable Films


  • Keith Giglio - Writing the Comedy Blockbuster (includes a great section on Sequences)
  • Paul Joseph Gulino – Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach
  • Jeffrey Alan Schecter - My Story Can Beat Up Your Story: 10 Ways to Toughen Up Your Screenplay from Opening Hook to Knockout Punch
  • Blake Snyder – Save the Cat (also Save the Cat goes to the Movies)
  • Stanley Williams – The Moral Premise: Harnessing Virtue & Vice for Box Office Success


  • James Scott Bell – Plot & Structure (also Conflict & Suspense)
  • Jack Bickham – Scene & Structure (also Writing and Selling Your Novel)
  • Lisa Cron – Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence
  • Amy Deardon – The Story Template
  • Jeff Gerke – Plot versus Character: A Balanced Approach to Writing Great Fiction
  • Randy Ingermanson – How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method
  • Victoria Lynn Schmidt – Story Structure Architect
  • Dwight Swain – Techniques of the Selling Writer
    • also his fantastic Master Writing Teacher audio classes
  • K.M. Weiland – Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success


  • Jayne Ann Krentz – Dangerous Men & Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance
  • George Paizis – Love and the Novel: The Poetics and Politics of Romantic Fiction
  • Pamela Regis – A Natural History of the Romance Novel
  • Laura Vivianco – For Love and Money: Literary Art of the Harlequin Romance
  • Sarah Wendell & Candy Tan – Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels

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"No one deserves to be punished for loving with an open heart." (Hot Head - D. Suede)

If you'd like to book Damon to come present a workshop for your group or chapter, just give a holler.