Turbocharge Your Characters with Delilah S. Dawson

Master the art of creating compelling, unforgettable characters through dynamic action and punchy dialog in this four-week course with award-winning author Delilah S. Dawson.

Your Instructor: Delilah S. Dawson, award-winning author of HIT and SERVANTS OF THE STORM

Where: Online — Available everywhere!

When: This class is not currently enrolling. To be notified when it is offered again, Click Here

Enrollment: 16 students

Price: $350

Class Description

Your main character is a sports car. 

And you can't have an adventure until you get them tuned up, tricked out, and burning rubber on the road to a thrilling destination. That means you know where you're starting, where you want to end up, and a few attractions to visit along the way. Or, in writing parlance, your exposition, climax, denouement, and overall character arc.

And Delilah S. Dawson, award-winning author of Hit and Servants of the Storm, is about to become your favorite mechanic.

Is your first chapter about a character going through their normal day or just thinking about their life and the history of their people? Is your synopsis about a character who learns, finds, discovers, and wants... but who never seems to take any real action? Do you have three or four ideas for how the book ends but can't seem to get past chapter three? If so, then we need to get you out of the showroom and onto the open road, where all the fun stuff happens.

In this four-week class, you'll focus on developing compelling characters and getting them moving toward their goals with agency. Character is revealed through dialog and plot, not daydreams and purple prose. That means that your character needs motivation to propel them forward, a logical series of choices, pitfalls, and resolutions.

To keep with the car metaphor: Unless you can get your character driving, you've got a junker without a future that just sits in the garage.

Want to learn more about Delilah? Check out our interview with her!

"The worst advice I see is anything that recommends itself as THE ONLY WAY. Every writer has a different path, and there are infinite ways to write, to find an agent, and to get published. If there was A SECRET, it wouldn't be a secret at all..."

What This Class Covers

Week 1: What makes a great main character (including antiheroes)

This is where we define the make and model of your car by describing who your character is, where they are in life, what they want, who their friends are, and what resources are at their disposal. I'll let you in on one of the biggest secrets to making sure a character is real and relatable.

Assignment: Craft a character profile, including a character arc, and identify the five pit stops of your book.

Week 2: What makes a great supporting character, love interest, or villain

Your character isn't the only car on the road. As you fill your story with friends, lovers, nosy neighbors, and antagonists, we'll discuss ways to keep the plot moving, the interactions punchy, the tension high, and the conflict troublesome.

Assignment: Give us a manifest of your antagonist and supporting characters, including their motivations.

Week 3: How to get started, write your first chapter, and keep moving

The best way to get where you're going is to keep the gas tank filled and the car pushing the speed limit. Let's talk about plot and how the character guides action through their motivation, decisions, failures, and tenacity. 

Assignment: Turn in the first 2000 words of your book for instructor and student critique.

Week 4: How to make choices that lead you to exciting conclusions and a satisfying character arc.

Keep your map on the dashboard, kids. We'll study how to get through Soggy Middle Syndrome, how to floor it to the climax, and how to safely coast down the Resolution Highway to that glittering sign at your destination.

Assignment: Turn in the next 2000 words of your book for instructor and student critique plus instructor guidance on how to continue in a dynamic and compelling fashion.

Goals Of This Class

  • Develop compelling characters who have agency and motivation
  • Get the plot moving through action and circumstance
  • Use dialog and physical cues to reveal the finer points of character
  • Avoid Mary Sues, stereotypes, cardboard cut-outs, and one-dimensional villains
  • Allow your character to fail, learn, and grow through action for a satisfying character arc
  • Ditch the major tropes and pitfalls that make characters fall flat
  • Identify and destroy soggy middles, linking scenes, and overnight stays in Dullsville
  • Develop a road map from the first chapter to the last page
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