Unputdownable: Techniques for Crafting a Page-turning Read (Morning)

with Ruth Ware


Ruth Ware is a master of the psychological thriller. She is often called the modern-day Agatha Christie. Her novels have sold many millions of copies worldwide and have frequently topped the NY Times bestseller list. We’re “thrilled” that she’ll offer this class on how she manages to craft prose that is widely regarded as “unputdownable.”

Ruth will cover topics including creating plot, tension and pace with a focus on the perfect hook, using suspense and narrative questions to lead the reader through a page-turning read. The central question of the class: how do you write something people find unputdownable? She will focus on crime and psychological thriller, but with reference to other strong, hooky reads so that the class will be applicable to people writing all genres.

Here’s Ruth’s outline of the four days’ topics:

  • The first session will be focused on “the hook”, looking at books with a strong recognizable hook and how you can brainstorm out from that into a larger plot, as well as identifying the hook in your own novel – and why that’s important.
  • The second session focus on plotting, working outwards from basics like the three-act structure to plotting techniques like the snowflake and the diamond, as well as looking at how those techniques apply to pantsers or part-pantsers like myself.
  • The third session will look at narrative questions and using those to create suspense, with a discussion of twists and  reveals and how those differ.
  • The fourth session will be a nuts-and-bolts dive into setting, atmosphere and text-level ways to immerse your reader into your story.

4 Mornings:  Monday 11/11–Thursday 11/14 | 9am-12pm


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Ruth Ware grew up in Lewes, in Sussex. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London.

She worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer, before settling down as a full-time writer. She now lives with her family in Sussex, on the south coast of England.

She is the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark WoodThe Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game. Ruth’s books have also won or been nominated for various awards: In a Dark, Dark Wood won NPR best book of 2015 and RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Suspense Novel; The Woman in Cabin 10 was nominated for the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards, Best Mystery & Thriller; One by One, was shortlisted for the 2021 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award at the Crime Writers Association Awards; and The It Girl was shortlisted for the 2023 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.

Her books have been published in over 40 territories. Ruth’s new mystery thriller, One Perfect Couple, will be released in summer 2024.