Outlining for Pantsers with Henry Lien

02/10/2024 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM PT


  • $120.00  -  Supporting Tuition
  • $89.00  -  Helping Hands


Instructor Henry Lien has developed a Plot Grid technique to offload the outlining process to a document that will keep track of the plotting for you. The Plot Grid allows for a sort of x-ray vision revealing the rhythm of your plot threads and is scalable from the beat level to the act level.

The workshop also explores how a) the Plot Grid delegates plot structure to a document that can be manipulated and rearranged mechanically, freeing you to disregard structure and remain spontaneous; b) the Plot Grid allows you to see and be in control of your story like you’ve never been able to before; and c) The Plot Grid enables you to write stories that you couldn’t have before because their architecture or choreography were too intricate. Students will leave the workshop with a finished portion of their Plot Grid and clear steps on how to complete it for the rest of their novel

This class meets online for two 90-minute sessions.

Saturdays, February 10 and 17th, 10 am- 11:30 am

Writers will need to come to the workshop with story notes prepared in a specific format. Detailed instructions will be disseminated two weeks before the workshop regarding organizing the notes into rearrangeable units that can be manipulated during the workshop. Writers are encouraged to register for the workshop as soon as possible to ensure sufficient time to prepare these materials.



About the Instructor: 

Henry Lien is a 2012 graduate of Clarion West. He is the author of the Peasprout Chen middle grade fantasy series. His short fiction has appeared in publications including Asimov’s, Analog, and F&SF, and he is a four-time Nebula/Norton Award finalist. Henry also teaches writing for UCLA, the University of Iowa, and Clarion West. Henry has previously worked as an attorney and fine art dealer. Born in Taiwan, Henry currently lives in Hollywood. His hobbies include writing and performing campy science fiction/fantasy anthems and losing Nebula and Norton Awards.



This event will be held in Zoom. By registering for this class, you agree to follow the Clarion West Code of Conduct and Zoom policies

Limited Free Seating: 

We offer a percentage of seats in every class to People of the Global Majority (Asian, Black, African, Latina/o/x, Middle Eastern, Indigenous, Pacific Islander, and/or have been racialized as 'ethnic minorities') for free, regardless of financial need. 

Eligible folks should complete this form to enter the lottery for free seats.  If a seat is available, we will email you 7-10 days before the class begins. For more information, see our equity and inclusion policies.

Sliding Scale Pricing:

The Supporting Tuition rate is shown for each class or workshop for folks who can pay it. Paying the Supporting Tuition rate enables us to continue to pay our staff and instructors equitably, as well as support access to classes for others who may be in a different situation. 

The Helping Hands rate is available to folks under more limited economic circumstances, no matter your background.

For more information, see our financial aid policies.

Our Refund Policy:

Clarion West will refund all class fees if the request is made 30 days before the class date. Refund requests made within 30 days of the class will be honored if we can fill the seat.

Any exceptions are subject to approval by our workshop staff.