Character Development – The Deep Dive
Build captivating and memorable characters with believable motivations and compelling story arcs.
Oct 21 2021 - Dec 02 2021
Write your characters to life
Intense learning on our bespoke platform
Course Fee £120
+ £125 for a 500-word report
Learn how to create characters that will stick in your reader’s mind long after they’ve closed the book.
Think about your favourite novel. What comes to mind? A great plot? Lyrical prose? A clever hook? These elements are all important – but it is the characters that carry our favourite stories and linger in our minds long after the final page. Jane Eyre. Philip Marlowe. Miss Havisham. Bilbo Baggins. Queenie. Great fiction is populated with great characters.
Across four teaching weeks, Anna Davis – founder and director of Curtis Brown Creative, former literary agent, university lecturer and author of five published novels – will help you create central characters who will be as real for you as people you know in your actual day to day life – and who will refuse to leave you alone until you’ve told their story.
You’ll get to know your protagonist inside and out as you explore their personality, psychology and backstory in your Character Life-Book, deciding on everything from their eye colour to their deepest desires and fears. You’ll also learn how to give them real motivation for their actions, so that readers will want to follow them through the pages of their story. By seeing the world through the eyes of your protagonist, you’ll discover how to influence your reader’s opinion of them through your chosen narrative perspective. As well as fully fleshing out your central character, we’ll show you how to create your cast of supporting characters.
By the end of the course, you’ll know your central character heart and soul, conscious and unconscious, mind and body, and you’ll feel confident in the character arc you’ve created for your narrative.
This course is designed for people writing fiction – either novels or shorter stories. Whether you’re embarking on a new project and want to start from the ground up, or you’re in the middle of writing but feel you’re struggling to properly know your protagonist and convey them effectively on the page – this course will help you elevate your prose by placing a key character at the heart of your story.
The course is an ideal starting point or a great way to develop new tools and creative writing skills for those of you interested in our genre-specific six-week online courses such as: Starting to Write Your Novel, Writing Short Stories, Writing Historical Fiction, Writing a Psychological Thriller, Writing a Romance Novel or Writing Crime Fiction. All of our online courses are designed for flexible study – you can take part at times to suit you and from wherever in the world you are.
‘Anna Davis is brilliant. She gives solid, empathetic advice… She got me out of the abyss…’
Bonnie Garmus, Former CBC student and author of Lessons in Chemistry, a major international debut for 2022
Anna Davis, CBC Founder & Director
Anna is the founder and Director of the Curtis Brown Creative writing school. She is the author of five acclaimed novels which have been published in twenty languages. She has been a journalist and Guardian columnist, as well as a Curtis Brown literary agent. She taught creative writing at the University of Manchester and in many other settings before founding Curtis Brown Creative in 2011.
WHAT DOES THIS COURSE GIVE YOU?
Weekly Teaching Modules
From character genesis to a satisfying narrative arc
Work through four weekly modules comprising teaching videos and substantial notes by Anna Davis. Topics range from character motivation to narrative perspective.
Dedicated Teaching Videos
CBC's Founder Anna Davis guides you through the course
Watch specially filmed, informative teaching videos, presented by Anna Davis, offering a practical and friendly approach to help you write your characters to life. Each weekly module includes at least three videos.
Resources & Notes
Comprehensive teaching notes and reference materials which are yours to keep
You’ll get extensive teaching notes - and additional resources, including writing prompts and extra writing tasks, plus examples to illustrate teaching topics.
The hub of our online courses, find your writing community
Upload your completed writing tasks, give and receive feedback, and discuss the week’s topics with your fellow students and the CBC team.
Tailor-made tasks help you put the lessons into practice
Two writing tasks per week will help you explore and understand the teaching topics as you develop your character and their story arc. Forum posts to the group from Anna Davis will reinforce these lessons.
Build an in-depth profile for your protagonist
Anna has put together a profile with extensive questions to help you interrogate your characters. Questions cover topics from physical appearance to psychology and backstory. The Character Life-Book will help you create a fully realised character and offer new directions to take your story in.
Get feedback from your peers and an expert CBC editor
Sharpen your editorial eye through offering comment on other students' work and get their feedback on yours. An expert CBC editor will give brief written comments on several of the students' practical assignments each week, with all students receiving feedback on a task at some stage of the course.
A range of tasks will help you put the teaching to practice, get to know your characters through producing the Character Life-Book, and write them to life in scenes.
Each week you’ll be able to share your writing tasks with fellow students for encouragement and support, and at least once during the course you’ll receive written feedback from one of our experienced course editors.
At the end of the course, you’ll have an additional week to further develop a piece of writing you’ve produced during the course for sharing with your course-mates – to a maximum of 3,000 words.
NB: if you’re looking for more in-depth feedback (including tutor-led writing workshops and ongoing one-to-one support) as part of a writing course, do take a look at our longer, selective applications writing courses (three-months or six-months).
In addition to the feedback you’ll be given on a writing task by our expert author-editor during the course, you also have the option to purchase the following additional services.
- CBC report: For an additional fee of £125, you can obtain a detailed 500-word report on your work (of up to 3,000 words, with an optional synopsis or note of up to 200 words explaining more about the writing project) from one of our CBC tutor/editors (a published author with relevant teaching/editorial experience).
- CBC report + tutorial: For an additional fee of £200, you can obtain a 500-word report from one of our CBC tutor/editors and have a 30-minute video or telephone tutorial with them to discuss your work.
Each week students will gain access to a new module based on a practical writing topic. Our bespoke learning platform features separate forum spaces for all four teaching topics, arranged in a clear structure that’s easy to use. Our online learning space allows students to quickly find and take part in discussions and to easily locate task materials they’d like to refer back to.
Build your protagonist from the ground up. You’ll work on your Character Life-Book and consider how to ‘birth’ them into the world.
Character from the Inside
Peep into the heart of your character, discover their motivation; the fears and desires that will propel them on their journey through your story.
Character from the Outside
Characters reveal themselves through what they say and do. Learn how to get your character across on the page to bring them to life for the reader.
Past and Present
Consider backstory and how key events change people. You’ll also spend time with your supporting cast of characters: antagonists, love interests, sidekicks, family and friends.