Great fiction builds on a solid framework, the three-act structure. Think of it as the architectural underpinning of your novel. Once the foundation, the framework, and the load-bearing beams are in place, you can write any book you choose, knowing the house will stand! A solid foundation frees you up to create without wondering, but will this story work?
Because it will.
Join us for a long weekend, virtual fiction intensive, wherein you’ll learn how to get your novel into the best possible shape – tight, clean, and absorbing – before spending time and money pitching a book that isn’t yet ready for you to submit. This weekend is a perfect fit for those just starting a book or those who wish to revise one already underway.
You only get one chance to make a first impression. Editors and agents want books that need little developmental work. Independently publishing? Readers want your books to be as engaging and entertaining as possible, and so do you! Unputdownable!
Because this retreat is virtual, you can attend from the comfort of your home or office. Reach out via the form below, and I’ll be in touch soon.
Meet and Greet, Overview
Structuring Novels for Pacing, Arc, and Success
Teach the macrostructure elements, review each attendee’s synopsis
Break out with two groups of three, where you work on one another’s synopses; Sandra to visit each group, review and brainstorm.
Creating Likeable Characters. How character arcs dovetail in with the outer plot journey.
Structuring Scenes and Chapters for Tension and Success
Teach the S & S elements, review each attendee’s first scene structure
Break out into two groups of three, and work on one another’s first scene/chapters; Sandra to visit each group to review and brainstorm.
State of the industry, agent protocol, publishing options
Final Questions and Goodbye
Sandra will read one hour’s worth of structure material and meet via Zoom for a one-hour chat about your material and her comments as a follow-up to the retreat. Reading and Meeting must be done within two months of the retreat.
“I arrived at Sandra Byrd’s virtual doorstep in need of a master builder. Despite my repeated attempts to assemble it, the story I hoped to write lay in heaps and tangles, stacks and files, photos and ideas in my study and brain. Clearly, my experience as a non-fiction writer, though extensive, lacked a crucial skill set: how to frame and roof my novel, then plumb, wire and sheetrock the scenes that would fill its rooms.
Sandra, however, knew just what to do. She not only provided me with plotting and scene construction tools I’d never seen before, but she also showed me how to use them. Patiently. Expertly. Intuitively—despite my non-linear mind. She’s wise and experienced, with methods that work and are adaptable to authors’ unique writing processes. Without Sandra, Sugar Birds would still be an idea. With her, the story found a home first at an indie press, and now at Tyndale, with a sequel slated for publication in 2024. Happily, I highly endorse her.”
2022 Christianity Today's Book Awards: Award of Merit – Fiction
2022 ACFW Carol Awards: Winner – Debut Fiction
2022 Christy Award Finalist – First Novel
In 2017, I had an idea and the desire to write a novel but no clue about the process required to bring it to life. All I had was Sandra Byrd's name and the hope she could lead me in the right direction. I'm so grateful that she did!
Over five years, we worked together on three novels. Each time we started a new project, Sandra had me use the same framework she uses to shape my ideas into scenes and, ultimately, stories that became books. One step at a time, and as only a master craftsman could, Sandra helped me develop a solid story structure that made writing easier while also ensuring that my plot was strong.
Her wisdom and guidance have blessed me. Anyone who can spend time with her and apply the fiction techniques she teaches will not only walk away a better storyteller but someone who can repeat the process with confidence and beauty time and time again. That is why my company, The Author’s Write Hand, has partnered with her to present these virtual weekend retreats!