Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Oh What a Character–On-Line Class for Teens at the Loft

on November 20, 2014

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In January, I’m teaching another on-line class for teens at The Loft Literary Center, Oh What a Character: Crafting Unique Story People.

Characters are the key to the story, but how do we craft compelling characters that go beyond the cookie cutter variety? In this class for teen writers, we’ll explore character archetypes as well as the sociology and psychology of all our story characters. We’ll look at how to craft multifaceted antagonists and best friends who can spin off into their own stories. The class includes writing exercises, reading and discussion, and opportunities to support others in our online community through the sharing of our writing. Beginning to advanced teen writers will learn how to deepen their story writing skills by creating strong characters.

As a part of the class, we’ll write two fun scenes to help us get to know our characters better. The class is taught through the Loft’s on-line website and both writing assignments will be critiqued using the workshop method by peer writers and myself.

Here is a little sample of the two scenes we’ll be writing:

Writing Assignment Scene One:

“Why I Stole It.”--From the view point of either your main character, their best friend, or the antagonist character select an object from YOUR house, and have your character tell you why they stole it. The object should be something with sentimental value such as a souvenir from the last trip you took with an older sibling before they went to college, or something ordinary such as a spoon in the kitchen. Try to stay away from the large, obvious, expensive items a thief might steal–electronics, expensive cars, fancy china, paintings. The one exception might be a piece of jewelry that had sentimental value–but this should be played with as in What if..the jewelry was NOT expensive. The writing should be no longer than 800 words, double-spaced.

Writing Assignment Scene Two:

“The Rattlesnake in the Drawer.”–Your character is going about their daily life and routine, when they find something unexpected that brings about a strong reaction. This should be a physical object that creates a physical or mental threat, or a mystery, real or imagined. The “rattlesnake in the drawer” should be something reasonably found in the house but changes the course of direction of the scene for your character. For example, a twelve-year-old girl finds an old wedding photo album in the attic, but instead of the pictures being her mom and dad, they are her dad and aunt. Pick the room in the house from the following list: Bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, closet, basement, garage, attic.

 

And here’s how we’ll talk about them in workshop:

What do you like? See if you can be clear with what you like. Do you like the opening? The middle? The character? The ending? The point of view? Be specific about what aspects of the character in this scene are working for you.

What bumps you? Where are you confused?

What questions do you have? What do you want to know more about?

Registration is now open here. If you register by December 12, 2014, there is a $10 off registration.

The class would make a great holiday gift for a teen writer.

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