Workshop: Character Driven Plotting, Pacing to Maintain Tension

This Saturday I’ll be giving a day-long workshop for the Romance Writers of America’s Vancouver Island Chapter. If you’re in the Nanaimo area, come along and join us in an exploration of character-driven plotting, and pacing your novel to maintain story tension.

Workshop Details

When: November 2, 2013, 9:00 to 4:00 (registration from 9:00 to 9:30)
Where: Vancouver Island University, 900 Fifth Street, Building 255, Room 170, Nanaimo (Campus Parking Map)
Cost: $40.00 if registering after October 19th or at the door. Lunch, coffee, and tea is included.

Session 1—Character-Driven Plotting
In this workshop, Vanessa explores character-driven plotting, and the technique of using the hero and heroine’s personal territory to build a bridge between character and conflict. We all want the magic formula to work: characters + conflict = a great story. Sometimes, we need a little help, and adding a territorial imperative to the mix could be exactly what your story needs.

Session 2—Pacing to Maintain Tension
Pacing a book involves finding the balance between showing and telling, between emotional intensity and distance, between slow and fast. Vanessa makes this complex technical subject clear with graphic examples. Topics include time and the writer: story time, reader time, and writer time; the simple rule that covers it all; and how pacing relates to viewpoint and narrative style.

I’m looking forward to a great day with this group of enthusiastic writers!


Workshop Handout

7 thoughts on “Workshop: Character Driven Plotting, Pacing to Maintain Tension”

    1. This was a great workshop and I’m looking at the book now. So much good and timeless advice both through the workshop and your book Vanessa. It was a pleasure to meet you and be part of the experience.

      1. Thank you, Pat. It’s so affirming to get great feedback like this.

        And thank you for all the hard work you did in helping to organize the event, and helping in the background throughout. You all helped to make Saturday a wonderful day.


  1. I’ve heard this talk before…no matter…Vanessa hit so many points with me that I came away with my head abuzz with revelations.I am digging out my copy of Writing Romance and poring over it.

    There were so many points that I can’t list them. Character-driven plotting was spot on…something that’ll help me, the pantser who starts WAY too early and wastes WAY too much time learning my characters as I go. If I spent 2 “purposeful” days working on my characters I would save myself weeks, if not months of rewriting.

    And that was just one thing…

    Brilliant…that’s all.

  2. I know I am a bit late in this, but I wanted to say thank you for a great day at your workshop! Your presentation validated what I already had in my WIP, and showed me what I was missing. My characters needed your expertise and insight – they thank you and I thiank you! Lisa McManus Lange

    1. Thanks, Lisa. I enjoy giving seminars about something I feel so passionately about. It’s very affirming to hear that what I’ve learned has been useful for you 🙂

      Here’s wishing you all the best with your WIP!


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