Creative Writing Workshop Lesson 3: Building Strong Characters

Grade Levels
6th - 12th, Adult Education
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26 pages
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  1. Hi! I'm Livia Blackburne, author of the NY Times bestselling young adult novel Midnight Thief. In July of 2015, I ran a week long creative writing camp for middle and high school students. We had a ton of fun, and the students wrote some great short stories and novellas! After the camp, I revised my
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Created by a NY Times Bestselling Author!

Lesson three is about characterization. Students learn the tips and tricks that make a well rounded character. Through brainstorming exercises, mock interviews, and character autobiographies, students develop their main character's life experience and personality. Then after they've nailed down their protagonist, students explore how supporting characters complement and challenge the protagonist. Finally, students learn about the ways in which characters grow and change throughout a story.

This workshop is part of a multi-installment series on creative writing, but it can also stand alone. The writing exercises do assume that the students already have some idea of the story they wish to write. The idea doesn't have to be well developed, since the writing exercises are designed to help them develop it further. That said, if students need help coming up with something, I recommend the preceding unit Freewriting and Idea Generation.

Teaching time depends on the amount of time allotted to writing exercises but will probably range between 90 minutes to 2 hours. Some knowledge of Harry Potter is helpful, as several examples are pulled from that world.

Or check out individual units below. (The first one is free!)

1) Introduction to Storytelling (Free download)
2) Freewriting and Idea Generation
3) Building Strong Characters
4) Plot
5) Setting and Description
6) Revision
7) Book Cover Design
Total Pages
26 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 hours
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.
Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.
Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot).
Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text.


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