Image: Mr Burns from America’s longest running animated television series, The Simpsons.

The Book Length Project Group returned for 2022 on a hot morning in February. Members were busy this summer. Garry wrote “tens of thousands” of words, Cindy started a new project, and David worked through a manuscript assessment. Mary structured her manuscript, describing it as “stringing pearls” on a necklace.

Plot and structure are fundamental to a book length project. Plot can be thought of as an inter-related series of events. Events cause other events, which have consequences. Ideally, the consequences are something a reader will care about.

At our February meeting, the Book Length Project Group discussed plotting versus pantsing, how to make tension rise and fall, and the plot types that we have encountered in our own reading. We brainstormed the common elements that readers expect to see in plot types like family sagas and stories of rebirth and renewal. We asked ourselves if we had observed those conventions in our own projects and whether they would strengthen or diminish our plots. We decided that conventions are good to know, but it is equally important to know when we are breaking them and why.

The Book Length Project Group meets on the third Sunday of every month at Mattie Furphy House in Swanbourne. All FAWWA members and friends are welcome. If you would like to join us, please go to The Fellowship of Australian Writers WA ( for more information.

Published by karenwhittleherbert


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