Margie Lawson

Changing your Writing World

Creating a Constellation of Characters to Inhabit Your Story or Series

Lackluster, one-size-fits-all characters aren’t enough to keep readers turning those pages and anticipating future books. You need a well-rounded cast of complex, riveting characters to inhabit your story—a constellation of supporting characters to showcase the protagonist Star.

In this month-long class, the Constellation lessons will guide you through:

  • Internal and External Character Development
  • Character Relationships
  • Contrasts, Conflicts, Attractions, Unions
  • Building a multi-layered cast of major and supporting characters to fit your story, genre, and theme

To create dimensional characters, we will use a variety of techniques and elements including:

  • personality types, Enneagram
  • roles and values
  • false or self-limiting beliefs, defense mechanisms
  • functions.

We will examine relationships like:

  • Star Plus One: Protagonist/Antagonist, Hero/Heroine, Star/family member or friend
  • Star Plus Two: Triangles. 

You will practice analyzing examples, from bestselling novels, movies or TV shows for cast and character study.

Plenty of instructor feedback and a variety of activities and techniques will help you hone your skills and infuse these elements and concepts into your own story or series.

Constellation’s class goal is to help you dig deep and create the most meaningful character cast to capture the heart of your readers and have them begging for another story with your Stars. So, get out your stargazing snacks, your virtual binoculars, and your creation telescope to assemble an outstanding cast for your story.

Who Should Take This Course:

  • For writers who want complex, authentic characters who readers can relate to and connect with, whether they love or despite them.
  • For successfully published authors who want to diversify their characters to hold reader interest while exceeding reader expectations.
  • For writers who have an idea for a novel but don’t know how to get started writing or populating the story.
  • For writers who want to learn and practice some new techniques to analyze characters in bestselling works and award-winning shows and be able to apply that new knowledge to their future writing.
  • For novice writers who want to learn more about character creation and development.
  • For writers who want to write more quickly by identifying characters contrasts, conflicts, and relationships to fuel character-driven stories so they can avoid tangents, redundancies, and wasted scenes by concentrating on the scenes that advance the character arcs.

Teacher

Lisa Miller

Lisa Miller retired from teaching and counseling after 30 years. While she loved writing YA fiction, she has been drawn back into teaching. Not always finding the writing classes she needed; Lisa scoured the internet and how-to books for self-instruction. She funneled that knowledge into the creation of the Story Structure Safari class and merged it with her master teaching skills and experience with different learning styles. This is her ninth year to teach the class and she continues to update materials and expand her knowledge to best meet writer needs.

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Reviews

A wealth of material from a great writing coach

Rated 5 out of 5
February 5, 2022

This course is a treasure chest of tools for character development. I’m about half way through the rough draft of the third book in a series (Story Safari is also excellent) I was able to get a really clear picture of the series cast of my books, figure out layers of conflict and relationships, layer the romance beats over the top of the suspense plot line. The uber villian emerged and I have a much richer understanding of my characters, Best of all working with Lisa helped me get lots of words on the page as I had aha moments and helpful feedback. Lisa presents material in a very clear way and is happy for you to take what you need from the course, so have fun with the invention/ play opportunities. I finished the course with so much extra energy for my work in progress.

Avatar for Fionna Roberts
Fionna Roberts

My characters are calling me to write their world alive

Rated 5 out of 5
February 5, 2022

‘Creating a Constellation of Characters’ by Lisa Miller guides you through an exploration of your characters to flush out their characteristics; the good and the bad. How do they interrelate with each other? What are their functions? Where are the conflicts?
My WIP storyline was complete and I had all the characters in place but they were as exciting as cardboard cut-outs. Through the exercises, I spotted a shadow character with the potential of a mega villain. I discovered new and powerful conflicts on different levels and how my too-perfect Heroine could get downright dirty under pressure.
By the end of the course, I had a method for creating a mosaic of characters that I can use repeatedly for different novels.
I highly recommend ‘Creating a Constellation of Characters’ by Lisa Miller for all fiction writers and her sister course ‘Story Structure Safari’.
Please excuse me now, my characters are calling me to write their world alive.

Avatar for Jacqueline Visconti
Jacqueline Visconti

Helpful Class

Rated 4 out of 5
February 3, 2022

This class helped me to develop my characters by digging deep into my closed mind and unearthing ideas and possibilities that would not have entered my head without the material and Lisa's gentle prodding and guidance. The material and lessons are rich with possibilities for developing characters for books any genre.
Some of the lesson material seemed close in content and could possibly be combined. I found the Attitudes, Beliefs, and Values section to be a little difficult to understand. It was hard to differentiate the terms and apply them to my characters.
I couldn't keep up with the class work. I found it to be too much for me, but it could have worked well for others. I did only the lessons for the Forums. I didn't have time to do the personal journal or the Masterwork. I have two more Forums to go, and I will have completed the class!
Lisa was helpful and encouraging. I enjoyed working with her.

Avatar for Joyce H. Ackley
Joyce H. Ackley

This class helped me push my story and my series forward

Rated 4 out of 5
January 31, 2022

First, I gave this class four stars instead of five. The reason is, this was the debut of the course and sometimes instructions for the assignments were unclear, especially at the beginning. A couple of questions posted to the Lesson Q&A board worked out the confusing parts. After that, I was able to navigate quite smoothly. I know Lisa will be tweaking the instructions from our suggestions, so future students can put that worry behind them.
This is the second class I've taken from Lisa. As with the first class I took (Story Structure Safari), my creative muscle got a full press workout. The lessons are material-dense and lengthy. There are plenty of tools and many exercises. It can seem overwhelming but stick with it, focus on the task at hand and the rewards will come. There is something for learners of every type in this class.
As a review from the other class stated, you get out of the class what you put into it. I find this to be true with Lisa's classes. I was not able to finish because of my limited time and such a wealth of material, but my expectations were met. I was able to jump start a stalled outline for Book 1 of a trilogy.
My hero became more complex, his world expanded and as a result my heroine also became more developed. I was able to put more meat onto the trilogy concept, as well. Out of the character exercises came numerous ideas for scenes and plot points to move the story forward. This course did just what I hoped. I took just the bare bones of a concept and created a strong foundation for a story through some pretty extensive character development.
Thanks, Lisa, you inspire confidence and your suggestions made my brain go in directions I otherwise would not have thought of.

Avatar for Vicki
Vicki

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