Grow Your Great Character & Plot! A Workshop for Writers of Fiction & Nonfiction with Martha Engber

Character Grow Your Great Character & Plot! A Workshop for Writers of Fiction & Nonfiction with Martha Engber

  1. Characters
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This is a LIVE webinar scheduled for Sunday September 13 at 1 p.m-2:15 p.m. EDT
* Wondering what that time 1 p.m-2:15 p.m. EDT is in your time zone? Click HERE

People aren’t simply vehicles for stories, they ARE the stories. Therefore it’s crucial writers take the time to grow great characters people want to read about. Through discussion and writing exercises, participants will do just that by seeding and growing their own characters, whether for a memoir, novel, screenplay or other project. Martha Engber, author of GROWING GREAT CHARACTERS FROM THE GROUND UP, will explain what makes characters great and how they can lead writers toward irresistible plots and unforgettable stories.

There will be a recording available for a short time.
Welcome, me, you

To demonstrate how, if we writers spend the time necessary to understand what makes our character tick at a deep, internal level, the character will write an exciting plot all the way to a dynamic climax.

What’s Your Story About?
Exercise #1: In one sentence, what’s your story about?
A word about exercises: Don’t panic if you can’t easily complete an exercise. Instead, make a note to start at that point during your next writing session. Sometimes writing one simple sentence can take hours of thought.

You and Your Character
Definition of a character: a living person
Definition of a great character: consistent, believable, admirable Types of characters and their general purposes (page 22 in GGC):

• • • • •
Protagonist: goes on a journey that leads to an epiphany
Antagonist: opposes the protagonist
Catalyst: jumps the tension by greatly upping the size/severity of an obstacle
Support: supports main character Side: brief appearance

Exercise #2: In one sentence, what’s your character’s type?

The Defining Detail
A defining detail:
  • shows the reader what makes a character tick
  • can be based on a prominent physical characteristic, incident, imagined blemish,
    object, what interests you most about the character
  • must be specific
    Exercise #3: In one sentence, what’s your character’s defining detail?
Now Extrapolate
Use the defining detail to reveal:

  • What the character fears most (internal belief)
  • What he’s motivated to do (external behavior)
Once readers know what scares the character most, they can understand his motivation and interpret his actions. He’ll strike readers as both consistent in how he views the world and believable in what he does.

Exercise #4: In one sentence, what does your character fear most? In one sentence, based on that fear, what’s he/she motivated to do?

The Five Questions

What defines your character? What’s her greatest fear? What motivates her?
What’s her greatest strength (cause for admiration)? What’s her greatest weakness (point of vulnerability?
Exercise #5: In one sentence each, answer the last two questions. (Hint: the last two answers should match.

And obstacle is the same as a conflict. Your character wants to do one thing, but faces the prospect of being forced to do the opposite.

Obstacle/Conflict + Action = Scene
A scene is when your character is in one emotional state, confronts an obstacle/ conflict, takes action (he/she is a doer), and as a result changes to another emotional state. Over time, those small changes lead to the character’s final transformation.

Series of Obstacles/conflicts = Plot
Obstacles should increase in size and intensity and drive the character toward the moment she confronts her worst fear (the story’s climax). Each obstacle should be organic, meaning the new conflict/obstacle is a direct result of the previous one.
Exercise #6: Create a list of the obstacles your character encounters. Do they get progressively bigger and more severe?

Conclusion: Game Plan!
Exercise #7: Your next step Happy writing!
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Start date
Sep 13, 2020 at 1:00 PM
End date
Sep 13, 2020 at 2:15 PM
Registration end date
Sep 13, 2020 at 1:00 PM
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