Margie Lawson

Changing your Writing World

Virtues, Vices, and Plots!

Characters are like people. Each of us has "good" traits, like courage and resilience and intelligence, but we also have traits that get us into trouble like foolhardiness, stubbornness, and too smart for our own good. Same with our characters. We create strong traits, on both sides of the spectrum, and watch as our characters stumble through the story.

But they don't need to stumble! We can harness those traits and direct them into strong, cohesive plots. Actually, nailing all those plot points and inciting incidents and black moments in the perfect place is like trying to scratch that hard-to-reach place on your back. But, once you know how it works, it's easy-peasy.

Whether you're starting a new book or editing an existing one, this course can help you put the "punch" in exactly the right place.

What you’ll learn:

  • Character archetypes and how to blend them into the story
  • Character traits – the good, the bad, and the ugly!
  • How we break our stories into eight equal parts – Three Act, Eight Scene structure
  • How to create a character arc that is an integral part of your story and is completely believable!
  • Find the perfect place to insert the perfect scene to drive the story forward

Who should take this course:

This is both a beginning and a master's course, usable on both levels, and can be used to develop a new story or rescue a finished one. 

Lesson Plan

Lesson One:

Overview of archetypes, character arcs, and character traits

Lesson Two:

Archetypes and how they create instant recognition in readers

Lesson Three:

Archetype traits – virtues and vices – and how to incorporate them in writing

Lesson Four:

How to create a story grid

Lesson Five (or Four, part two):

Continuation of story grid

Lesson Six:

Goal, Motivation, Conflict – the magic "three"

Lesson Seven:

Creating your own story grid

Lesson Eight:

Wrap up

Every lesson comes with reference material and homework assignments.


Sarah (Sally) Hamer

Sarah (Sally) Hamer is eternally fascinated by people and how they ‘tick’ and works hard to incorporate individual idiosyncrasies to create living, breathing characters in her many works of fiction. She writes in many genres – mystery, science fiction, fantasy, romance, medieval history, non-fiction – and has won awards at both local and national levels, including two Golden Heart finals.

A teacher of beginning and advanced creative fiction writing and screenwriting at Louisiana State University – S for over ten years, she also is a book coach, with many of her students and critique partners becoming successful, award-winning authors.



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© 2021 Margie Lawson, all rights reserved.

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