The King Died:
Finding Your Plot Through Character

  with Diana Wagman in Echo Park

Echo Park
7:30 to 9:30 pm
May 1 to June 19, 2019

“The king died and the queen died is a story. The king died and the queen died of grief is a plot.” So said E.M. Forster in his 1927 book, Aspects of the Novel.  What is the difference between plot and story? A story simply follows one action after another. A plot is sprung from a character’s deepest emotions and motivations. Why did the queen die of grief? Did she love him so much? Will she be banished? Did she kill him? A multi-faceted, interesting character is where good writing begins. This eight-week workshop will look at your work through character, exploring how to find the why of your character’s desires and goals. We’ll identify those elements that put your character into action in order to define your plot. The class is open to experienced writers and enthusiastic, serious beginners.

This workshop will take place in Echo Park, where wine, sparkling water, and the occasional gourmet snack will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$420 for new students; $380 for returning students. (Payment plans available to returning students.)

Logo Color for Stack Image.png

Diana Wagman is the author of five novels, most recently Life #6. Her second, Spontaneous, won the 2001 PEN West Award for Fiction. Her fourth, The Care & Feeding of Exotic Pets, was chosen as a Barnes & Noble Discover Pick. Her screenplay, Delivering Milo, was produced starring Albert Finney and Bridget Fonda.  She has had short stories and essays published, most recently in Conjunctions and The Colorado Review, and she is an occasional contributor to the Los Angeles Times.


“Diana Wagman has a wonderful way of keeping the Revising Your Manuscript workshop positive, focused, and constructive. Although everyone in the class was writing in a different genre, we all got the kind of advice we needed to push our manuscripts to the next level. Diana's editorial advice is also very astute and I appreciated her feedback on my manuscript. I highly recommend Diana's workshop to anyone looking for a warm, supportive, and constructive class.” —Lindsay Wright

"I am so happy to have found Diana Wagman's YA class. For starters, the very fact that Writing Workshops Los Angeles offers small, affordable classes with accomplished, published, critically lauded authors such as Diana is a small miracle all by itself. Thank you, Writing Workshops Los Angeles!  Specifically, sitting in Diana’s cozy space high in the wooded hills of Echo Park feels like attending a weekly writer’s retreat. Diana treats everyone as a peer and leads a warm and insightful workshop where the class thoroughly analyzes each student’s work. As issues arise within the work, Diana weaves in lessons on craft—tips on dialogue, voice, pacing, etc. She lets you know when something isn’t working, but does it in the nicest possible way. At the end of each discussion, Diana gives the student a marked up copy with her personal notes. My fellow workshoppers were wonderful, intelligent, creative people writing great things. The eight-week course definitely took my work to a higher level. Thanks for being here!" —Maria Speidel

"Taking Diana Wagman's class gives you the series of 'aha moments' that you need, even at times when you didn't know you needed them. She supports the class, encourages everyone even when they're ready to just bang their head against the wall, and is especially adept at involving everyone in the discussion. Her notes are spot-on and often encourage many other good ideas to surface. I've always left her class feeling inspired and ready to get back to work. Wherever you are in your writing process, taking her class will definitely move you forward, get you thinking about your project in new ways, and motivate you to write, write, write. Also, she makes delicious baked goods." —Kelley Coleman



In [Extraordinary October], an auspicious debut for teens, adult author Wagman proves particularly adept at mixing genres and maintains a terrific balance between fantastical (and occasional macabre) happenings and genuine teen perceptions." —Kirkus Reviews

The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets tilts on Winnie’s strength. In her, Wagman has constructed a magnetic figure who is easy to root for . . .The book also benefits from breathless pace and a dialogue-heavy structure that hints at Wagman’s screenwriting experience and keeps the pages turning.” —Los Angeles Times

"Wonderfully outrageous . . . [Spontaneous] reads like a Mary Gaitskill story adapted for the screen by David Lynch . . . explosively satisfying." —Publishers' Weekly

Life #6 intrigued and delighted me from the first paragraph, and for two days I read it everywhere: at meals, in the bath, in line, while driving, you name it. I loved the wit and despair of its heroine, and the way the past―with all its attendant desires and trauma―wouldn't let her go. I love this book!" ―Edan Lepucki, California