In this 4-week course, award-winning author David Corbett will teach you the techniques for situating complex characters in compelling stories, and how to render them on the page.
Your Instructor: David Corbett, author of 'The Devil's Redhead' and 'The Art of Character'
Where: Online — Available everywhere!
When: September 8, 2015 - October 6, 2015
You can't sustain a book or a story without compelling characters.
Vivid settings are good. Clever plot twists can keep people engaged. But if your reader can't identify with your characters, can't find something to project themselves on to, the game is over before it's started.
David Corbett has written incredibly rich characters in novels like The Devil's Redhead and Blood of Paradise. And he's an immensely-talented teacher, with the ability to deliver writing lessons in a clear, in-depth manner.
He recently took his teaching to the next level with the release of The Art of Character: Creating Memorable Characters for Fiction, Film, and TV. This guide has already earned a ton of accolades—every one of them deserved.
This four-week, hands-on writing intensive is a practical lesson on how to craft compelling characters and bring them to life on the page.
In this course you'll explore the dramatic roles and functions that characters can assume in a story. Then you'll learn how to shape language to depict that variety of characters. Finally, you'll develop techniques for creating compelling scenes and fluid dialog to make those characters come to life.
Along the way, David's writing assignments will guide you in putting these tools into practice, and his detailed review and insightful analysis of your work, in addition to helpful critiques from your classmates, will solidify your command of the material.
In addition, opportunities for questions and discussion will be available throughout the course.
What This Class Covers
The Protagonist and Opponent: Crafting Conflict
Nothing is more crucial in the creation of meaningful drama than understanding the textured, multi-layered contest between the protagonist and the opponent
Secondary Characters: Creating a World
The protagonist and opponent do not act alone; they act on behalf of values they prize and worlds they cherish—values and worlds embodied in secondary characters
Point of View & Voice: An “I” on the World in Words
Reader engagement depends on character empathy, and that requires strong point-of-view characters with a controlled, consistent perspective on the story. Language creates the bridge between those characters as envisioned in your mind and the ones on the page, and shaping language to reflect character is key to effective drama.
Scenes & Dialog: Drama, not Description
Characters reveal themselves far more in what they say and do than what they think or feel. The arena for action is the scene, and dialog provides a critical means of both forcing the action and externalizing inner life
Goals Of This Class
You will learn:
- How to fashion the protagonist and opponent to maximize conflict and thematic richness.
- How to determine whether the protagonist faces an actual exterior opponent or instead faces a problem, an enigma, or a disaster—and how to craft the conflict if no opponent exists.
- How to embody the premise in the protagonist, and the counter-premise in the opponent.
- How to structure the story based on the core question asked of the protagonist.
- How to create compelling opponents who don’t fall into cliché, who honor the writer’s thematic intent, and who serve to enlarge the protagonist, thus enhancing the dramatic force of the story.
- How to create nuance and subtlety in the main characters, serve the hinge points of the plot, and bring to life the story world through the creation of compelling secondary characters.
- How to understand secondary characters with respect to the narrative functions they serve, without turning them into “plot puppets.”
- How to identify your point of view characters, and how to control language to craft scenes from their perspectives to enhance reader engagement with the story.
- How to use attitude, rhythm, tempo, and color—voice—in the service of characterization.
- How to craft compelling scenes that push the story forward, and how to create variety in “the scene weave.”
- How to think of dialog as action, not conversation, with techniques to render it more dramatic, with the understanding that dialog must be “realistic but not real.”
LitReactor offers a unique approach to a writing education: You study what you want, when you want, at your own pace. We bring in veteran authors and industry professionals to host classes covering a wide range of topics in an online environment that’s interactive and flexible. You get detailed feedback on your work and take part in discussions in a judgement-free zone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an experienced writer, our workshops are about working together to achieve your writing goals.
Where do classes take place?
Entirely online. So, anywhere you have Internet access.
Are there certain times when the whole class needs to "meet" online?
Nope. Our students come from all over the globe. Everything is posted online and accessible 24/7. (We do occasionally schedule phone chats, but try to reach a consensus on timing.)
What does a typical class consist of?
It varies, but nearly all our classes include weekly lectures, homework assignments, peer reviews, critiques from instructors, and discussion forums.
How much experience do you need to take a class?
Beginner or pro, everyone is welcome. We encourage all skill levels.
Got more questions? Click here for an extended FAQ.
And click here to explore a sample class that shows our layout and features.