The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

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Wild Transformations: Vital Secrets for Creating Compelling Narratives with Todd Mitchell

Date(s): Saturday, May 18, 2019, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Piper Writers House, 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281 (view map)
Workshop, Generative Workshop
Genre and Form(s): Fiction, Novels, Short Stories
Cost: $119 Regular, $99 Student

About the Class

Looking to create a story or character that leaves your reader wanting more? Learn the necessities of constructing compelling narratives with author and educator, Todd Mitchell. In this interactive workshop, participants will explore effective techniques for increasing conflict, revealing characters, and writing stories that readers (and editors) won't be able to put down. Topics will include:

  • Spotting the difference between a story and a situation
  • Developing sticky stories and elemental plots
  • Creating effective hooks and discovering ways to begin in medias res
  • The three most important things to know about your characters
  • Pulling plot from character and using plot to reveal character
  • Increasing conflict, and manifesting internal conflict through external events
  • Visualizing character arcs
  • Pushing characters to the end of the line to earn the transformation

Tip sheets and worksheets will be included so you can immediately apply concepts and get feedback during the session. By the end, participants will have a greater understanding of how to structure narratives to engage readers while using plot to explore and reveal characters.


Meet Your Instructor

Photograph of Todd Mitchell with dog

Todd Mitchell is the author of several award-winning books for young readers and teens including The Last Panther (2018 Colorado Book Award Winner and Green Earth Honor Book Award winner), The Traitor King, The Secret to Lying (Colorado Book Award Winner), and Backwards (CAL Award Winner). He created the graphic series Broken Saviors (available on Comixology), and co-wrote the graphic novel A Flight of Angels (Vertigo, a YALSA "Top 10 Great Graphic Novels for Teens"). Currently, he serves as Director of the Beginning Creative Writing Teaching Program at Colorado State University. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with his wife, dog, and two wise daughters. You can visit him (and learn about his squirrel obsession) at

A Statement from the Piper Center about COVID-19

In an effort to reduce the spread of germs, this event will be ‘touch free,’ meaning that all authors, faculty, students, and other participants should avoid shaking hands, hugging, taking selfies, or otherwise engaging in physical contact. Additionally, we are encouraging all community members to wash their hands, avoid touch their face, use hand sanitizer, and otherwise follow the official guidelines from the Center for Disease Control. If you are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms of a virus, please stay home and seek medical treatment as necessary. Any individuals who are unable to attend due to illness will have refunds issued in full. While we are unable to provide livestreaming or other forms of remote access for this event, we are actively working to ensure this in the future. If you have any questions, please contact the Piper Center accordingly. To learn more, read our full statement on COVID-19 at

About the Piper Writers Studio

The Piper Writers Studio is committed to supporting writers in every stage of their development by providing challenging, diverse, and accessible educational opportunities. All classes are not-for-credit, and are intended for an open to the public. You do not need to be an ASU student to attend. Writers of all backgrounds, genres, and experience levels are welcome. Discounts for students, senior citizens, individuals experiencing economic challenges, and other groups are available for every class. To learn more about the Piper Writer Studio, visit our website at