Plot & Story – The Deep Dive

4 weeks
Start Date
← Back to Courses

Plot & Story – The Deep Dive

Develop your fiction idea into an exciting narrative that you can write with confidence.

Struggling to weave a coherent story from disparate threads? Join bestselling author and much-loved CBC tutor Laura Barnett for this four-week deep dive course. We’ll help you to work through all the important decisions you need to make to fully gain control of your unruly narrative.

Figure out what your story is really about and nail its central idea, question or concept. You’ll also discover some of the most useful theories of story structure and learn how to use them to shape your plot.

By the end of the course you’ll have distilled the essence of your story, figured out its temporal and emotional arcs and worked on a plan that has the right level of detail to suit your individual writing process.


Laura Barnett

Laura’s first novel, The Versions of Us (2015) was a number-one bestseller, it has been translated into 24 languages, and was shortlisted for Debut of the Year at the British Book Awards. Her second novel, Greatest Hits was published in 2017, with an accompanying soundtrack album by the musician Kathryn Williams. Her third novel, Gifts was published in 2021. She delivered a TedX talk on originality in fiction, and worked as a writing mentor for the charity Arts Emergency. She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Writing School. Laura has taught many novel-writing courses for CBC in London and online, and she currently mentors members of our alumni community.


  • Video modules: Work through four weekly modules comprising teaching videos and substantial notes from Laura, with topics ranging from discovering the difference between plot and story to using conflict and jeopardy to raise the stakes.
  • Writing tasks: Weekly writing tasks to help you explore and understand the teaching topics and progress your novel.
  • Resources & notes: You’ll get access to extensive teaching materials, including writing prompts and a list of recommended reading.
  • Professional feedback: An expert CBC editor will give brief written feedback on several of the students' practical assignments every week, with all students receiving feedback on one of their writing tasks. Students are also given the option to purchase additional end-of-course feedback from our expert editors.
  • Student forum: Find your writing community on our private student forums. Upload your completed writing tasks, give and receive peer-to-peer feedback, and discuss the week’s topics with your fellow students and the CBC team.


Our online courses are designed for flexible learning. Allocate your own study time and take part from wherever you are in the world. Each week, we recommend spending at least four hours on the course.

  • WEEK 1
    What’s the story you want to tell?
  • WEEK 2
    How have others told it?
  • WEEK 3
    How do you want to tell it?
  • WEEK 4
    How could you tell it better?


All students will be given the option to purchase feedback on their final task from a CBC editor.

  • CBC report: For an additional fee of £145, you can obtain a detailed 500-word report on your work (of up to 3,000 words) from one of our editors.
  • CBC report + tutorial: For an additional fee of £240, you can obtain a 500-word report from one of our editors and have a 30-minute video or telephone tutorial with them to discuss your work.