Plot & Story – The Deep Dive

Learn the fundamentals of narrative structure and weave together the threads of your story, with bestselling author Laura Barnett.


25 May 2022 - 22 Jun 2022


Plan and structure your story

Deep Dive

Intense learning on our bespoke platform

Course Fee £120

+ £145 for a 500-word report


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

Struggling to weave a coherent story from disparate threads? Floundering in the middle of a first draft that falls apart whenever you examine it up-close? 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.

With Laura as your guide, you will actively seek out inspiration rather than waiting for it to strike. You’ll figure out what your story’s 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. You’ll also have written at least 3,000 words of your story. Whether you’re just starting out on a novel or shorter work of fiction – or are already in the middle of your writing project – this course will help you identify the key ingredients of compelling plots and will deepen your understanding of narrative structure, so that you can ensure your own story is hitting all the marks you need it to.

Our deep dive courses help you develop new creative writing skills and tools that you can take with you to future writing projects. They offer a strong foundation of writing techniques if you choose to embark on on of our six-week online courses, such as: Starting to Write Your Novel, Writing Short Stories, Writing Historical Fiction, Writing a Psychological Thriller, Writing a Romance Novel or Writing Crime Fiction.

‘I loved Laura’s teaching style and the way she introduced us to topics. She always gave enough academic grit for those of us who like structure and yet was careful not to stifle those for whom that kind of teaching feels limiting… She’s really rather fantastic!’

Rosie Talbot, former student


Laura Barnett, Author

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.


Weekly Teaching Modules

Learn how to plot and plan your narrative

Work through four weekly modules comprising teaching videos and substantial notes by Laura Barnett. Topics range from discovering the difference between plot and story to using conflict and jeopardy to raise the stakes.

Dedicated Teaching Videos

Laura Barnett guides you through the course

Watch specially filmed, informative teaching videos, presented by Laura, offering a practical and friendly approach to help you understand the fundamentals of story structure. Each weekly module includes at least three videos.

Resources & Notes

Comprehensive teaching notes and reference materials which are yours to keep

You’ll get extensive teaching notes - and additional resources, including writing prompts and examples to illustrate teaching topics.

Curtis Brown Creative learning platform forum

Student Forum

The hub of our online courses, find your writing community

Upload your completed writing tasks, give and receive feedback, and discuss the week’s topics with your fellow students and the CBC team.

Writing Tasks

Tailor-made tasks help you put the lessons into practice

Two writing tasks per week will help you explore and understand the teaching topics as you plan your narrative arc.


Get feedback from your peers and an expert CBC editor

Sharpen your editorial eye through offering comment on other students' work and get their feedback on yours. An expert CBC editor will give brief written comments on several of the students' practical assignments each week, with all students receiving feedback on a task at some stage of the course.


You can follow the course at your own pace – but to get the best out of the course, we suggest you allow 3-4 hours per week to watch the videos, read and reflect on the notes and resources, complete the writing tasks, and take part in discussions in the forum. We encourage all students to offer positive, constructive feedback to each other in the forum as the course progresses.

It’s also important to be working on your story throughout the six weeks. At the end of the course, we invite students to share the opening 3,000 words plus a one-page synopsis (written with the help of the course) to give an overview of the story. This is not a submission to the agency but an opportunity to get peer feedback.


All students will be given the option to purchase feedback on their final task from a CBC editor (a published author with relevant teaching/editorial experience).

  • 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, with an optional synopsis or note of up to 200 words explaining more about the writing project) 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.


Each week students will gain access to a new module based on a practical writing topic. Our bespoke learning platform features separate forum spaces for all four teaching topics, arranged in a clear structure that’s easy to use. Our online learning space allows students to quickly find and take part in discussions and to easily locate task materials they’d like to refer back to.


What’s the story you want to tell?

Discover the difference between plot and story. Distil the essence of your story and begin to tease it into a narrative.


How have others told it?

Road-test your plot using some of the best-known theories about narrative structure, from Aristotle’s Three Acts to Freytag’s Pyramid.


How do you want to tell it?

Figure out how much planning is right for you. Decide on your narrative perspective and the temporal and emotional arcs for your story.


How could you tell it better?

Learn how to write a strong synopsis for your story. Develop techniques that will keep you on track while writing your way to the end.


We’re excited to have you join our community of writers.

Choose your preferred option from the right-hand-side and click the ‘Pay & Enrol’ button by 23 May 2022 (Midnight, end of day). Make sure that you agree to the Terms and Conditions. If you’re buying this course as a gift for someone else, please confirm that they are over 18 and accept our Terms and Conditions. If you have a discount code you can input the details at payment. You will be shown a secure credit card form for payment. Once you have paid you will receive an email confirming your enrolment.

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