Dramatic Dilemma

“Dramatic Dilemma — The Dramatic Dilemma is the heart of many great character-driven stories. In this forty-five minute presentation, Shawn Scarber uncovers the common patterns that create the powerful emotions that drive the character-driven story. Using the classic film Casablanca as a guide, this class will leave you with a firm understanding of how to use the dramatic dilemma in your own fiction.”

Course Materials:

>> 4-page-booklet-dilemma

>> Dramatic Dilemma – Casablanca

The Three Elements of a Powerful Narrative

“Have you ever found yourself bogged down in the minutia of storytelling? Do you get lost in the words, struggling to find your way back to the story’s emotional core? Would you like a set of tools to help plan and revise your story? Never fear! In this hands-on, interactive workshop, all-star instructor Shawn Scarber presents the “big three” elements of great narrative fiction and demonstrates how to use them in works of any size, with a special emphasis on short stories. Don’t despair: a strong story is as simple as 1 -2-3!”

Course Materials:

>> The Three Elements of a Powerful Narrative (PDF Handout)

>> Three elements of a powerful narrative – presentation

The following are the mind mapping tools to help guide you through brainstorming events and the hero’s inner journey. These tools are both web applications. To use these tools, unzip them to a directory on your hard drive and click on the file called “index.html.” This will launch your web browser and allow you to navigate the mind map.

>> Hero-inner-journey-presentation

>> event-analysis

Introduction to Writing Short Fiction

“Introduction to Writing Short Fiction is a course focused on young and beginning writers who are interested in learning the basics of writing short stories. In this course I cover character development, short fiction structure, and deep point of view. It’s a 30 minute class with time for questions and answers with readings from the works of Ray Bradbury, Italo Calvino, and Alice Munro.”

Exploring the Hero’s Inner Journey

“Do you know the secret to connecting your main character’s emotional journey to your secondary characters, the setting, and the theme? Can you create an emotionally compelling character arch? In this one hour class, Shawn Scarber presents a set of planning and analysis tools to help you to discover your hero’s inner journey. These tools work across genre and medium to help you write a transformational story.”

>> Analysis Tools – Hero’s Inner Journey

>> The Hero’s Inner Journey – PowerPoint Presentation

>> Analysis Tools Hero’s Inner Journey


Information on scheduling, fees, and course requirements

Please contact Shawn Scarber @