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Summer Writing Retreat 2024: “Fundamentals of Fiction: Techniques for Plot, Structure, Character Development, and Scenes” with Amy Gentry

July 8 2024 - July 29 2024

$269.00 – $409.00


The numbers below include tickets for this event already in your cart. Clicking "Get Tickets" will allow you to edit any existing attendee information as well as change ticket quantities.
Level 1 (Class Only): "Fundamentals of Fiction" w/ Amy Gentry (Member Price)
2024 SWR / Fiction Class / Level 1 (Class Only)
$ 269.00
Level 1 (Class Only): "Fundamentals of Fiction" w/ Amy Gentry (Non-Member Price)
2024 SWR / Fiction Class / Level 1 (Class Only)
$ 329.00
Level 2 (Class + Private Consultation): "Fundamentals of Fiction" w/ Amy Gentry (Member Price)
2024 SWR / Fiction Class / Level 2 (Class + Private Consultation)
$ 349.00
17 available
Level 2 (Class + Private Consultation): "Fundamentals of Fiction" w/ Amy Gentry (Non-Member Price)
2024 SWR / Fiction Class / Level 2 (Class + Private Consultation)
$ 409.00
20 available

Level 1 (Class Only): $269 for Members, $329 for Non-Members

Level 2 (Class + Private Consultation): $349 for Members, $409 for Non-Members*

*WLT Members have an exclusive window to register for the 20 seats available in the Level 2 registration. Starting June 10, non-members will be able to register for Level 2 if seats remain. To access the member price, please be sure to log in to your account.  

This July, join us for our virtual 2024 Summer Writing Retreat featuring three classes on memoir, fiction, and revision plus lots of special events throughout the month, including registration for a Saturday Craft Seminar with author Steve Almond (July 13; includes a copy of the book), weekly presentations and meet-ups, and dedicated writing time. 

Each class will meet weekly for four weeks, starting the week of July 8, ending the week of July 29. Our fiction class with Amy Gentry will meet every Monday (July 8, 15, 22, 29) from 6:30 PM CDT to 9:30 PM CDT via Zoom. A recording of each class session will be shared with all class registrants the day after – so you won’t miss anything even if you need to skip a session. Class details are below. 

Registration for this class will close at 5:00 PM CDT on Monday, July 8.

Crafting a work of fiction can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be all guesswork. Learning basic techniques for approaching plot, structure, character development, and scenes can help both new and experienced writers get unstuck and craft more satisfying stories. As this class will show, there are lots of tools a writer can utilize as they move from the spark of an idea to the first line of an opening page; from the beginning to the middle to the end and all of the beats along the way.

In this 4-week class, the first half of each session will be a deep dive into one element of craft with opportunities for questions and discussion. For the second half of each session, students will work through in-class exercises with time for small group breakout rooms for sharing and further discussion.

About each session: 

Week 1 (July 8): Three-Act Structure and the Beat Sheet: In this first session, students will learn how to map the basic story beats of 3-act structure to draft and revise your novel.

Week 2 (July 15): Know Your Characters, Find Your Plot: For week two, we’ll focus on ways writers can build structure organically (and get unstuck) by strengthening the relationship between character and plot. This session will also cover plot twists and B-stories.

Week 3 (July 22): From Beat to Scene: Putting It on the Page: In this session we’ll look at how to transform story beats transform into satisfying, beautifully written novel scenes. What is a scene anyway, and how do you write one? We’ll cover that, too. Plus dialogue, description, backstory, and exposition.

Week 4 (July 29): Bring Out Your Theme with Better Pacing: Pacing and theme are more closely connected than you might think! In this final session, we’ll look at how to revise for pacing so that you highlight the theme and stakes of your project, and make sure what matters to you also matters to the reader.

Take this class if…:

…You need help getting started; you’re stuck in the middle and don’t know what happens next; you’re close to the end but thinking of jumping ship; or you’re not sure how to fix an unwieldy draft! A note to short fiction writers: While many of the tools and techniques in this class will be examined with novel writing in mind, they can also be beneficial for crafting short fiction. 

Preparation for the first day of class: 

This class does not require any prep work or homework ahead of the start date.

Registration details: 

Choose your registration level:

Level 1 (Class Only): $269 for Members, $329 for Non-Members


Level 2 (Class + Private Consultation): $349 for Members, $409 for Non-Members

The difference: Level 2 (Class + Private Consultation) registrations include one 20-minute meeting with Amy Gentry sometime during the month (via Zoom). If you’d like, you can share up to and no more than 10 pages of your work ahead of the meeting for feedback, but that is optional and not required for the meeting. 

You may register online, or download the mail-in registration form here.


Amy Gentry headshotAmy Gentry is the bestselling author of the thrillers Good as Gone, Last Woman Standing, and Bad Habits, as well as a book of music criticism, Tori Amos's Boys for Pele, for Bloomsbury Press's 33 1/3 series. Her reviews and essays have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Paris Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon.com, Texas Monthly, Austin Chronicle, The Best Food Writing of 2014, and many other outlets. She holds a PhD in English and is a teacher and book coach in Austin, Texas.

Before purchasing, please read all policies as noted below and on our Classes page.

If your browser has difficulty with our website store, or if you prefer to mail in a check, click here for a class registration form. The document provides instructions on where to mail it. If you prefer this option, please email wlt@writersleague.org with a copy of the form as well to ensure we add you to the class roster as soon as possible.

Expecting to see the member price, but it’s not appearing?

Confirm you are logged into your account first and foremost. The member price will only appear when you are logged into your account and have an active membership on file. If you are having trouble accessing your account, please email member@writersleague.org and explain the situation.

Class & Event Registration Policy

Once a purchase has been made, registrations are not refundable and cannot be transferred to a different class or event. No exceptions will be made. If you purchase a registration and then find you cannot attend the class or event, someone else can attend in your stead. Simply contact us at wlt@writersleague.org and let us know the name and contact information for the person who will be using the registration so that we can update the class or event roster.

Accessibility Policy

Closed captioning is available for all online classes and special events.

The WLT is committed to making its programs & services accessible to all writers. Please contact us at wlt@writersleague.org or at 512-499-8914 for more information or to discuss accommodations you may need.

Credit Card Transaction Handling Fee Policy

All credit card transactions will incur a 4% handling fee. If you’d prefer to pay by check for membership, a class, or an event, you can use the provided forms on the membership or event pages and mail to: WLT, P.O. Box 14355, Austin, TX, 78704.


Our classes offer a combination of lecture and practical exercises, determined by the individual instructor, on focused aspects of the craft and business of writing. Your fellow participants will come from a range of writing experience, from beginners to people with MFA degrees and published books. WLT instructors, participants, and administrators all work together to create a welcoming, supportive environment.

If you haven’t taken a class with us in recent years, feel free to email the WLT staff at wlt@writersleague.org if you’d like to discuss whether our programming is the right fit for your needs.


Once you register for the class, you’ll receive an email with detailed instructions no later than 48 hours before the class date. You should expect 2-2.5 hours of direct teaching and 30 minutes of Q&A (for three hours total). If you need to leave the class early or can’t attend the class on that date, all registrants will have access to the recording for one month after the class date. No microphone or camera required, just an Internet connection capable of streaming video. All online classes are hosted on Zoom. To learn more about how Zoom works, click HERE. 

Plan to log in to the online platform an hour before the class so that you can update your software or any other settings required to access the platform. (Updates usually only take a few minutes, but you don’t want to wait until the beginning of class.) Questions? Email us at wlt@writersleague.org.

Cultural Arts City of Austin

This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Visit Austin at NowPlayingAustin.com.

Texas Commission on the Arts

Writers’ League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts – Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to www.arts.texas.gov.

National Endowment for the Arts

This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

Mid-America Arts Alliance

This project is supported in part by the Mid-America Arts Alliance. For more information, go to www.maaa.org.


July 8 2024
July 29 2024
$269.00 – $409.00
Event Categories:
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Online via Zoom