To Do for Week 2: Character

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Covering this week: Katelyn Wilhelm

The Posting Schedule:

  • On TUESDAYS, we will post a REPORT on what we did LAST week. (For example, last week’s topic was: INTRODUCTION, and here is the REPORT on that theme.)
  • The REPORTS will contain bullet-pointed “takeaways” from my lectures. This is what I can give OUTSIDE folks in terms of teaching you how to write a novel. Not the lectures or discussions themselves, but rather the reports on those things.
  • The next day, on WEDNESDAYS, I’ll post that week’s TO DO and introduce that week’s THEME. (For example, this post is the TO DO on the theme of CHARACTER.)
  • The following TUESDAY, you’ll get the REPORT on that THEME. (For example, you’ll get the takeaways on CHARACTER next Tuesday, 9/3).
  • There will be some lag time for those OUTSIDE, but I need to give the INSIDE students a few days to write up the Reports. Soon, we’ll be in a rhythm! Never fear!
  • For those OUTSIDE the fishbowl, PLEASE feel free to respond to these blog posts! Talk to each other and to my INSIDE students even if I can’t talk to all of you individually. If you’re blogging about your experience, include a link. I encourage you to connect with others in this way.

INSIDE

T 8/27

  • Week 1 Blog Post Due: Cathy Day

  • Quiz 1: Tom Perrotta, Election

Th 8/29

  • Presentation on Character

  • Discussion: DICE handout, LOCK handout (have read these before class).

  • As you begin to think about character/s, take a moment to watch this video about The Bechdel Test and apply it to the story you’re developing.
  • Weekly Words #1: 2,000 words due by Sunday 9/1 at 5 PM. Focus: Write about your main character by following the “Desire/Yearning” prompts from DICE and the “Lead” prompts from LOCK. You can also use the worksheets found here. The words you turn in don’t have to be scenes. Just write about who your character is.

OUTSIDE:

You can do the writing prompts this week, too.

“DICE” is something I adapted from writer Michelle Hoover’s teaching materials from her Grub Street seminar on Plotting a Novel. She’s shared them, so you can use them, too! She calls it “Yearning,” and I call it “Desire.”

LOCK is something I adapted from James Scott Bell’s book Plot & Structure. He talks about his “LOCK system” here.

Lots of great character and plotting worksheets can be found here.

As you begin to think about character/s, take a moment to watch this video about The Bechdel Test and apply it to the story you’re developing.

Weekly Words #1: 2,000 words due by Sunday 9/1 at 5 PM. Focus: Write about your main character by following the “Desire/Yearning” prompts from DICE and the “Lead” prompts from LOCK. You can also use the worksheets found here. The words you turn in don’t have to be scenes. Just write about who your character is.

  • The FOCUS prompts are always optional. If you want to write toward something else, by all means, do that.
  • Throughout the semester, I’m going to use Robert Hass’s prose poem “A Story about the Body” to illustrate the concepts we’re learning in class. I’m going pretend that Hass wants to turn this prose poem into a novel. To follow along, read the poem.
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4 Comments on “To Do for Week 2: Character”

  1. jen says:

    Thank you for sharing so much with us. I appreciate it!

    FYI the “She’s shared them, so you can use them, too!” link goes nowhere.

  2. Cathy Day says:

    Thank you to Gail Werner for suggesting I start a FB group for those of you following the blog who want to connect with each other more easily. I suggest you use it to post details about your writing sessions and helpful links, offer moral support, and find possible beta readers. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/iamnovelingoutside/

  3. […] So, here goes…off to work on Emily’s backstory with Cathy’s prompts she gave the class! […]


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