Character Development Writing Courses for Grades 3-12

Everyone loves them. Or, for some, we love to hate them. What is it that characters do or have that makes us tick? That makes us keep coming back for more? Is it because we see something within them that we want ourselves? Or is it that they possess a strength and moxie that we can only wish for?

The reason why we love or hate particular characters is something writers are well aware of. Long before anything worth viewing or connecting with is distributed, a writer gets an idea, develops it, molds it, plays with it, edits it time-and-time-again, and then presents something or someone that is worth sharing.

The creation of a story rides on the foundation of character development. Without the development of a character’s actions, dialogue, habits, quirks, appearance, gestures, hopes, dreams, fears, triumphs, failures, flaws and circumstance, there is no story.

Throughout the winter, spring and summer of 2019, students will learn how to bring their characters to life through words. They will develop a foundation of character development, learn techniques for bringing characters to life and study other pieces of literature that will help them develop their voice.

Each session will meet weekly for an hour for a six-week period. The cost of the course is $150.

Students will be expected to come prepared to learn and create. Each session will be challenging and in-depth, so cell phones, tablets, laptops or any other electronic device will not be permitted, unless the student has a medical reason for needing these tools. Students will be expected to make mistakes, to test the boundaries of writing, to learn from them and to become better writers through them.

The course will consist of three sessions: winter, spring and summer to help students focus on the craft and process of writing. Students will not be allowed to produce one draft and be finished with the product.

The winter session will focus on developing a hero, the spring session will be about the role of the villain and during the summer session we will look at the guide. Students who have completed the coursework of three character development sessions, we will be eligible to enroll in the fall session of story development.

Classes will be small with 10 students per class. A waiting list and additional class sessions will be created once the 10 student maximum is reached.

Students will receive a copy of the honored classic, The Little Prince, upon registration. This text will be used as a character guide throughout the course.

Section 1) Writing a Hero

Strength. Courage. Valor. These are the characteristics that we admire when we think about our favorite characters. But, developing these characteristics isn’t always as easy as one thinks. Writers know that it’s all of the heroes actions, dialogue, habits, quirks, appearance, gestures, hopes, dreams, fears, triumphs, failures, flaws and circumstances that make a story compelling. Students will be challenged to develop characters who will withstand the test of story.

Section 2) Writing a Villain

The villain wreaks havoc for the protagonist (the main character) and everyone around them, including the viewer or reader. Why do they get under our skin so much? Is it because the villain disrupts the natural order of calm or is there something else within the villain that causes destructive actions? In this course, students will learn what makes a villain a villain, why they generally are indestructible and why it takes a hero to step in their way.

Section 3) Writing the Guide

The guide is the unsung hero of any story, but the guide, is the only reason any story sees resolution. With a story of their own, the guide uses his/her wisdom to help other characters realize their innate goodness. Guides usually see a lesser role, but in the end, guides are generally the characters who remain in our hearts forever.

Winter Session Schedule: Jan 7-Feb 15
Registration Deadline Jan 2
Instructor: Dani Tietz
Location: 207 E. Main Street, Office #D (across the street from police station in Mahomet)

Grades 3-5
Writing a Hero: Monday 3:45 to 4:45 p.m.
Writing a Hero: Wednesday 6 to 7 p.m.

Grades 6-8
Writing a Hero: Wednesday 3:45 to 4:45 p.m.
Writing a Hero: Thursday 6 to 7 p.m.

Grades 9-12
Writing a Hero: Wednesday 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Writing a Hero: Thursday 3:45 to 4:45 p.m.

Registration Forms

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