CHARACTER forges the deepest bond between reader and story. And characters come to life most vividly when they engage in a meaningful struggle for something they hold dear. Crafting such compelling characters requires exploration of the link between their worldly ambitions and their deeper yearning, the way they adapt to stress and conflict, the inner wounds they bear, the secrets they harbor, and the contradictions they reveal. It also requires staging the conflict meaningfully, maximizing the stakes and forcing the characters to fully engage with the pursuit of their desires.
In this bootcamp, you'll learn key techniques for making the daring, counter-intuitive choices that create memorable characters—including visualization of key scenes that illuminate behavior, and framing the conflict so that it resonates with each character’s fundamental longing.
In addition, you will learn how to avoid common protagonist problems that create “stiffs, ciphers and sleepwalkers” who lack the will to carry the story, and how to justify not judge your opponents so that the conflict achieves its most dramatic form (“the unity of opposites”).
Last, you’ll acquire techniques for crafting the conflict in stories that lack a single or overriding opponent, such as love stories, journey sagas, or narratives where the hero faces a problem, an enigma or a disaster.
The goal of the three-course bootcamp is to construct scene-driven character biographies for the protagonist and opponent (or another main character if the story lacks an opponent) in the service of a completed novel, short story, or film script.
Feel free to check out some examples of David's teaching below.
About David Corbett: Ballantine purchased David's first novel, The Devil's Redhead, in 2001. Widely praised, it was nominated for both the Anthony and Barry Awards for Best First Novel of 2002. His follow-up, Done for a Dime, was also broadly acclaimed ("the best in contemporary crime fiction"--The Washington Post), was named a New York Times Notable Book, and was nominated for the Macavity Award for Best Novel of 2003.