Margie Lawson

Make your writing soar


Create Compelling Characters

Depending on who you ask, there are 2, 4, 7, 9 or 13 different plots for a writer to use. Regardless of who you believe, with a finite number of plots, you'd better find a way to make your story stand out among the masses.

And there is no better way to draw your readers in than by creating compelling characters.

Panster, plotter, or follow the whisperer, regardless of how you get that first draft, second draft, third draft on the page, at some point you'll need to dive into the skin of your character.

In Create Compelling Characters, we do just that. With hands-on behind the scene tips on how writers explore characters, you'll get to know your characters better than you ever thought possible. With practical exercises exploring the psychic distance between story and reader, we'll explore a multitude of ways to draw your reader in closer to your story and your characters.

In this course we will

  • ·    Delve deep into the protagonist's and antagonist's histories
  •      External goals
  •      Internal goals
  •      Conflicts
  •      Motivating factors of behavior.
  •      Core beliefs and behavior
  • Defining moments
    • Give a reader the reason to care   Develop character's fatal flaw
    • Get to know character's psychological levels
    • Develop personalities
    • Discover character voice and infuse our scenes with voice.
    • Exercise our abilities to pull close to characters
    • Explore secondary characters archetypes and springboard beyond to go beyond stock, forgettable, supporting cast. 
    • Develop secondary character story arcs and contradictions
    • Develop our use of secondary characters to support and highlight primary character.
    • Analyze how published authors reveal character on every page of manuscript.
    • Revise, reshape and bring out characters, scenes and chapters.

In this four week course, an abundance of learning opportunities will promote discussion and give you plenty of opportunity to learn from each other. Submitting work will allow you to put the theory to work and benefit from classmates feedback. And as a multi-Margie grad with a masters in writing from Vermont College, I'll also be digging deep to help you pull out your best work.

Who should take this class:

Any writer, at any level, who wants personalized, hands-on experience and feedback on character development, and how the character impacts the forward motion of the story.

Lesson Plan

With two lectures a week, we’ll dive in and dive deep into your goals, your character and your story.

Week One:

  • Get to know each other.
  • Describe our goals for the course
  • Dive into the pov currently on the page.
  • Goals
  • Motivation
  • Obstacles
  • Character core
  • Primary needs
  • Background development

Week Two:

  • The meso level of character
  • Primary motivators
  • Fundamental needs
  • Core values
  • How she/he is tackling her goals
  • Personality development
  • Voice development
  • Behavior
  • Tics, tricks and body language
  • Dialogue, setting, story

Week Three:

  • All about antagonist
  • Who, what, where
  • Goals, motivation, conflict
  • Story, plot, needs
  • Antagonist on the page
  • Deepening antagonist story

Week Four:

  • Supporting characters
  • Character jobs
  • Archetypes
  • Personalities
  • Wants
  • Needs
  • Stories
  • Creating character connections
  • Developing story threads and character connections
  • Subtext
  • Subplots

Each week comes with a wealth of opportunities not only to share your work with classmates, but the instructor as well.

Personalized feedback, Think About it, and Give it a Try allows students to create the course that allows them to reach the full fruition of their goals.


Rhay Christou

Rhay Christou loves her dogs—Fredo and MoJoe—her teaching and writing. Making her home in a small village in Cyprus, when she is not wandering the National Park's trails, she uses her MFA in writing from Vermont College to share her knowledge and experience to cheerlead writers in creating their best stories. Since graduating, she has taught everything from creative writing to academic writing at the university level and writing workshops on the lovely island of Cyprus, in Greece and the USA.




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