Instructor: Jen Blood
Date & Time: Saturday, February 18 | 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Location: USM’s Glickman Library, Portland
Level: Open
Maximum Attendees: 12
Fee: MWPA Member $65 | Nonmember $125

From cozy mystery to thriller, science fiction to historical romance, and every plot-driven fiction in between, authors must be able to draw the reader in from the outset of a story and maintain tension throughout. Ideally, this should be done without sacrificing character development or writing quality.

In this day-long workshop designed for new writers as well as veteran authors with a completed novel or work in progress, attendees will gain a better understanding of how structure supports effective pacing in plot-driven fiction, and learn how to apply this understanding to their own work. Participants will explore three-act structure; the strategic placement of plot points and action beats; and how plot can positively impact character development for the reader.

Morning Session: Participants will look at three-act structure, first applying it to two well-known works and then examining their own works-in-progress to determine how the structure applies. Through exercises and discussion, attendees will track the plot points in their own work before breaking for lunch.

Afternoon Session: Participants will look at the beginnings of plot-driven novels, focusing on how action drives the narrative from the outset, the introduction of the protagonist, and exposition in the first act. Attendees will have an opportunity to share the first chapter of their own novel or work in progress and to receive feedback from the instructor and fellow participants; sharing is not required. The workshop will then close with a final writing exercise.

+ SUBMIT After registering, participants are asked to submit a manuscript (the first chapter of a novel or work-in-progress) of up to 2,000 words by no later than 9:00 a.m. on February 2. Please email the manuscript to with the subject line: “BLOOD WORKSHOP MSS.”


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain

*This is a full-day workshop and there is not an option to register for either just the morning session or just the afternoon session.

BloodJen Blood is the award-winning author of the bestselling Erin Solomon Mysteries, as well as the 5-Day Fiction writing guides Creating Complex Characters and Perfect Pacing: Thriller Edition. She is owner of Adian Editing, providing expert editing of plot-driven fiction for independent and traditionally published authors around the world, and has led seminars on writing, publishing, and marketing for authors in conferences throughout New England. Jen holds an MFA in Creative Writing/Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine, is a regular blogger with Maine Crime Writers, and is on the board of directors of Sisters in Crime New England. Her articles on writing and publishing have appeared on award-winning websites including The Creative Penn, Janice Hardy’s Fiction University, and The Crime Fiction Collective. VISIT

All MWPA workshops require advanced registration. We accept registration by phone, mail, and online via PayPal. We cannot guarantee registration in the final 24-hours before a workshop, and can rarely accommodate day-of registration.

Call 207-228-8263 and register with your VISA or MasterCard.

If you prefer to pay by mail, please print this registration form (downloadable PDF) and mail it to the MWPA with a check or credit card information.




The MWPA is proud to offer one full scholarship to this workshop. Scholarships are awarded on a combination of need and merit. Application Due in the MWPA office on February 6 at 9:00 a.m.


Registration in any MWPA workshop, program, or event constitutes your agreement to our terms and conditions.