Going from Blank to Real with Character Traits
In this Story Works Fiction single topic course, we'll explore character development from the very beginning. We get to know our characters the same way we get to know real people: from the outside in. It all begins with traits, those identifiable characteristics and qualities we use to identify and understand each other.
As writers, we get to define our characters, building them from the blank page up. That's exciting, but it can be a daunting task. In this course, we'll break it down from the first step. The material is straightforward and may even seem simple. But simple can be powerful, especially when you understand how to work with it.
Any time you sit down to write a new character, start here. You'll have a real person ready to write into your plot in no time...and that's when the fun begins!
Alida Winternheimer is an award-winning author and experienced teacher, editor, and writing coach. She’s published numerous short stories, two of which were nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Alida is the creator and host of two literary podcasts: Story Works Round Table, conversations about craft; and Story Works Reading Series, a literary journal for your ears. She is the author of the Story Works Guide to Writing Character and the Story Works Guide to Writing Point of View.
Her essay, "The Sun Still Shines on the Worst Day of Your Life" was recently published in Under the Sun and nominated for the Best American Essays anthology.
Every day, Alida helps writers write better through her craft books, the Story Works Fiction online school, free writing tips, and her podcasts. When she's not writing or teaching, you can spot her around Minneapolis on her bike, in her kayak, or being walked by her golden retriever.
PreviewModule 0 | Welcome! (3:30)
PreviewModule 1 | The Tabula Rasa (5:55)
StartModule 2 | What Before Who (3:41)
StartModule 3 | Four Basic Questions Exercise (7:16)
StartModule 4 | Appearances Speak Volumes (3:54)
StartModule 5 | The Power of Observation Exercise (2:46)
StartModule 6 | The Case for Specificity (5:18)
StartModule 7 | Character Building Exercise (5:30)
StartModule 8 | Final Words (1:48)