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FREE | How to build great characters

February 16, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST

How to build great characters
Who reads 300 pages about lifeless characters? NOBODY. Great characters are essential to fiction and memoir. Learn how to create them.

About this event

How the workshop will help you

Think about Tom Sawyer, Scout Finch, Ove Lindahl*, and Scarlett O’Hara. We’re sad when we get to the last chapters of their stories because we’ll miss them—they feel like real people. We read our favorite books over and over, and find new things to appreciate with every reading. As writers, how do we achieve that magic? How do we create people? How do we infuse them with complex personalities and emotions? And what about side characters, antagonists, and minor “walk-ons?”

This seminar is NOT just for fiction writers. If you’re writing a memoir, some version of YOU is the main character. Maybe the younger you, or you before you understood some aspect of life, but you are a character. If you don’t make you feel real, the reader won’t care what happened to you.

SPOILER ALERT: Plot and character are intertwined. We’ll talk about what this means to you as a writer.

We’ll do lots of writing, and you’ll be surprised at your own abilities. No experience is required—just bring enthusiasm and pen/paper/computer. We write at our own levels.

What You’ll Do in the Workshop

• Look at examples of writing that makes characters come alive

• Work your writing muscles with short writing prompts

• Practice adding complexity to characters

• Practice writing dialog and action that reveals character

• See the interplay between plot and character

• Complicate plots to bring out the best/worst in characters

Who should attend

• Anyone with a story to tell, whether fact or fiction

• New writers who want to save years of frustration

• Experienced writers looking for new ways of looking at their work

* A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman. (One of my favorite books. Listen to it if pronouncing the Swedish place names might drive you nuts.)

About Myra

Myra Levine is on a mission: to make sure that nobody dies with their story still inside them. She shows people how to turn their memories into interesting stories—even novels—with techniques not taught in school. And her classes are FUN. To Myra, writing isn’t about grammar or spelling or knowing where to put the commas; it’s about capturing a moment in a way that brings it to life. As a writing coach, she challenges her clients to dig deeper into their lives to find the germ of an idea that will become a great story, or a dozen great stories, or a terrific novel. Her favorite students fall into two categories: people who are sure they can’t write, and people who are sure they can!

Before turning to fiction, Myra spent decades writing television and radio scripts, instructional videos, and corporate marketing programs. She won many local and regional advertising awards before leaving corporate life to become a wife and mother of two adopted kids. Stay-at-home-motherhood rekindled her ambition to write fiction.

As Myra puts it, “If you turn the truth into fiction, you’re less likely to get sued.”

Myra’s new novel, The Dead Mothers’ Club, was just released in May 2020. This book and her first, Revenge of the Soccer Moms, are available on in print and e-book.


Virtual Event


Myra Levine

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Please note:

The Valley of Writers team scours the web looking for the most inspiring, elevating, and accessible events that we can share as a service to our readers.
The big idea is that in a virtual arena, more people can participate. Geographical boundaries matter less.
The events we list are virtual and can be attended by writers from wherever they are in the world.
Unless otherwise stated, we are not affiliated with and do not benefit financially from the events we post. Listing is not an endorsement of the content, opinions, or products promoted by the event organizers we feature here.
Please verify all dates, times and other event details as these are subject to change and are beyond our control.

What qualifies an event as ‘lit’? Any event that we think would teach writers of fiction, memoir, and poetry useful skills, inspire them to produce great work, remind them of the power of this work we do and build stronger, mutually beneficial ties between writers and other creatives.

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