“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature.”
—Ernest Hemingway ―
Take a look at your favorite book. Why is it your favorite? Is it because of the exciting plot or the incredibly detailed setting? Or is it the emotional journey of the character that pulls you in time and time again? More often than not, the character is what makes the journey remarkable, just as the characters in our lives--our friends, family, and peers--give our own story meaning. Together, we’ll identify your characters, discover their backstory, and find out how to make each and every character a memorable one.
Getting To Know You
In our free, 30 minute phone consultation, we’ll take a look at your project and identify your main and secondary characters. We’ll discuss what it means to add depth and layers and begin to craft them into complex, memorable characters. Over the next five weeks, we’ll unearth who your characters are…and discover who they really want to be.
Is your character street smart and book shy? Do they walk with a limp or speak with a lisp? Do they have an affinity for statistics but a passion for art? Your characters have their own unique set of characteristics that helps to distinguish themselves for the reader and define who they are. The more you understand your character, the more complex they are; the more complex they are, the more distinct and memorable they become. In week one, we’ll review your character’s individual traits, discover what it is that makes them unique, and find ways to add depth that can further enhance your story.
Unlike in books, life doesn’t begin in the middle of things. Everyone comes with their own history and family tree, experiences that shape our motivations, and events that help us become who we are. In short, we all have a story. Similarly, your characters also have a story, and it’s up to you to find it and share it.
Don’t forget your secondary characters! Just as strangers in our own lives play a role in our story, so do the minor characters in your novel, with their own traits, motivations, and history. In week two, we’ll look at the concept of using backstory to create complex characters to enrich the world you’ve created.
The old man eating his lunch on the museum steps, tapping his foot in time with the music from passing cars. The young woman stuffing grocery bags in her tiny, two-door hatchback to take to the food bank where she works. The teenager strumming his second-hand guitar in the middle of the town square… Unique, memorable people cross our paths every day, fueling our imagination and providing ample inspiration for our stories. In week three, we’ll discuss how to draw from that inspiration by merging what we see in the real world with who we want our characters to be. We’ll play with a combination of personality traits, craft back-stories, and use real-life observations to create authentic characters and see how they might fit into the world you’ve created.
Some writers might argue that a name doesn’t matter when it comes to character development, but would a rose smell as sweet by any other name? Okay, so that’s Shakespeare. But the infamous bard was onto something when he penned those words. Would Romeo be such a romanticized character if he traded names with Tybalt or Mercutio? Would Katniss Everdeen be such a memorable heroine if she were named Katie? What if the monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein had a name at all? Would it humanize him or would he still be viewed as a monster?
Names matter for characters as well as ourselves, becoming a part of our identity and shaping the way in which others view us. In week four, we’ll look at the characters you’ve created and determine just what’s in a name.
Every good book ends with a strong conclusion. In this final session, we’ll write our own with a review of your custom character worksheets. We’ll take a look at both main and minor characters and see how their development has made them memorable and added depth to your work. Your characters play a major role in your story. Now let’s bring them to life!
- Unlimited Email Exchange
- Session Summaries
- Related Articles and Resources
- Custom Character Sheets
2010 - present
2010 - present
What You'll Get
Each session consists of an hour-long phone call focused on the development of your major and minor characters. You’ll discover what makes a character complex, how to pull inspiration from your own reality, and the importance of names in shaping their identity and memorability. With your custom character worksheets, you’ll have the tools to develop your characters into relatable figures on their own unforgettable journey.
- A Brown Beagle Books welcome packet
- A weekly summary of our sessions
- Custom character sheets
- Articles and resources to keep you motivated
Looking for more?
Add another catch-all week to this package for only $25 or visit the À La Carte menu for custom services.
Here's the legal stuff:
Sessions are held for one (1) hour once per week or as scheduled by the client (you!) and Brown Beagle Books.
Payment is required by the first (free) consulting call. Refer to your welcome packet and individual contract for more details.