Diverse Narrative Structure

Diverse Narrative Structure Header

When: August 14 – September 6, 2020
Where: Online — Available everywhere and at your own pace
Price: $100

Values are not universal across all cultures, and thus what a satisfying story looks like is not limited to one model either. In this course author Henry Lien uses case studies from books, films, and other mediums, and in-class exercises and games to demonstrate that elements that we consider staples of European/Western storytelling–such as the three-act story structure, the empowerment arc, and individual heroism–are not universal across all cultures.

Writers will leave this course with tools to analyze the European/Western forms and themes in the stories they have written as well as templates from other traditions to explore and apply to their work.

Who Should Take This Class?

Writers of all genres — Literary, YA, Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Children’s Books, Romance — and all mediums — Prose, Playwriting, Screenwriting, Comics/Graphic Novels, Games — at any point in their career from newbie to professional.

Required Texts and Media

The Arrival by Shaun Tan (Amazon | Indie Bookstore)

This course will use the following films as examples:

Purchasing or streaming the films during class is optional. If you are not able to view them due to finances or the film not being available in your country, you can still participate in class.

Course Format, Technical Requirements, Time Commitment

The class does not have set meeting times. You can access lectures, other class materials, and group discussions at any time from anywhere in the world as long as you have an Internet connection. All class discussions will take place in a private online forum and all class work is done on Google Drive. All students will need a Google account to upload to Drive–if you don’t have one, you can create a free account just for this class.

The time commitment each week will depend on your level of participation. Discussion threads tend to be wide-ranging, so students should try to check in at least once a day or every other day. You may manage your time as needed based on your own schedule. 


The class takes place in a private WordPress forum with a theme designed for accessibility. We’ll utilize Google Drive and Google Groups. All of these services are accessible to students using screen readers. Most lectures are text; required videos have closed captions and/or transcripts.

If you have questions about potential needs, or if there are any other ways we can make a class accessible for you, please contact us before registering and we’ll answer within 24 hours.

Full and Partial Scholarship Opportunities

There are a limited number of full and partial scholarships available for this class. If you do not have the financial means to pay for all or part of the registration cost for this class, we encourage you to apply.  We have a broad definition of financial need that ranges from writers who do not have the money at all to writers who have the funds but can’t afford to use them for a writing class. We especially encourage writers who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to apply. Wherever you exist on the financial needs spectrum, don’t self reject! (Still not sure whether you should apply? Read this post.)

If you can afford to pay for part but not all of the registration fee, please apply for a partial scholarship. Under this financial aid plan you can let us know the amount you can afford. If you cannot afford to pay at all, please apply for a full scholarship. 

To apply, please fill out this form by 11:59PM Pacific August 1, 2020. You’ll be asked to provide:

  • A brief (300 or fewer words) statement of financial need
  • A brief (500 or fewer words) description of a work or works in progress that you hope the class will help you research.
  • If you identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color, you may indicate that if you wish, though it’s not a requirement. (We set aside some scholarship spots specifically for students who identify as BIPOC, though we do not limit the number of scholarships we’ll give to BIPOC applicants.)

Deadline: 11:59PM Pacific August 1, 2020. We will notify all applicants of their standing by August 9. If you have any questions, please use our contact form to ask!

Refund Policy

If you find that you need to drop the class, you may do so by contacting our GMail or emailing via the website.

If you drop by August 1, 2020, you will receive a full refund minus a service fee.

If you drop by August 7, you will receive an 40% refund minus a service fee plus a chance to enroll in future Writing the Other classes at a discount before general tickets go on sale.

If you drop on August 8 or after you will not have your registration fee refunded. However, you will be able to apply to credit to a future classes.

Register Below

If you have a Gift Card, discount, or code to access tickets, please click the “Enter promo code” link in the Registration box below before you begin the process.  

Having trouble with the box below? Go to the Eventbrite page and register from there.