Workshops for Writers: Designing Characters

Characters fill our stories, and many writing instructors or teachers will say that characters are what drive a story and what brings readers in. But how often when writing do we stop to spend some time on our characters? When asked about our stories, can we say with authority what our characters want, who they are, and what they need?

This workshop will go over what characters are, different types, and how to craft them. You will learn how to fill your stories with believable, relatable, and memorable characters. For now, only focus on characters and character development.

Exercise and Discussion/Notes

If you’re doing this workshop by yourself, go over the resources and take notes like normal. When you’re done, take any questions or concerns you have to a Facebook, Reddit, or other community writing space. Open up a dialogue around what you’ve learned about designing characters.

If this workshop is being used in a group or with a partner, discuss the resources and your thoughts about them. Also, talk about characters in media and literature that stood out to you and why. Try and see what the creators did to make them stand out. Go over your own challenges with crafting characters and more.

For the exercise, use one of the character development sheets shared in the resources to craft either the main character, villain, or foil character for a flash story or excerpt. Use the character you’ve built from the sheet to craft the story in an hour. If you’re doing it in the group, share your story with the group and exchange comments. If you’re doing it alone, share your story in the same social space you shared your resource questions and thoughts.

Resources

Characters

Developing Characters

Character Building Profiles, Sheets, and Questions

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