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Write a Character Arc for Your Protagonist: Understanding Character Development
Barbara McKay, PhD
Calling all creative writers! This course will help you write an engaging, believable character arc for your story’s protagonist that maps out his/her development over the course of the story. We will focus on the positive-change arc.
Please click on the course picture thumbnail for a video of me explaining the class! This course is designed to help you write an engaging, believable character arc that outlines how a character develops over the course of your story. Specifically, we will focus on the positive-change arc used for most protagonists. Often, we spend a great deal of time planning who our character is without considering how that character will develop over the course of our story. The result is a character...
By the end of the class, students will understand 1. Central elements of a compelling character arc 2. The difference between a dynamic and a static character 3. How character arcs relate to plot structure 4. What makes a positive character arc 5. How to analyze a literary or film character to discern that character’s internal thoughts, emotions, and desires 6. How to brainstorm and write you own character arc 7. How to balance internal and external conflicts 8. How to choose opposition based on the direction of your character CCSS Standards Addressed CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.1 Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.3 Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.3 Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed). CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.10 By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
I have taught literary analysis and creative writing at the university-level for over fifteen years—both in the classroom and online. I have advised many people on specific story projects, helping them solidify their narratives and characters and begin the process of publishing. I am also a published author.
This course comes with downloadable class notes as well as a character arc worksheet*, which you will need in front of you for the class. I recommend printed copies because this will allow you to write on them. You will want to choose a character to workshop during the class. This can either be a character you are writing in a story of your own or a character from a book or film that you would like to analyze. Writing your own character or analyzing someone else’s will teach you a great deal about how characters function in a story. *Notes and Worksheet will be available in the Outschool classroom a few days prior to the start of the course.
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
Meet the teacher
Hello! My name is Barbara; thank you for your interest in my courses. I hold a PhD in Literature, Narrative and Media Production, an MA in Literature and Creative Writing, and a BA in Literature; and my teaching history includes over twelve years...
Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(8)
Completed by 18 learners
Live video meetings
8-15 learners per class