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The Craft: Swain’s Creating Characters, Ch 4 – Fleshing Out

October 20, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

character relationships

6:00 – 7:30:  The Craft:  Swain’s Creating Characters, Chapter 4:  Fleshing Out

Grab a cup of Agia Sophia’s world class coffee, maybe a food from their menu, sit back, and relax. Catch up with old friends. Make some new ones.

Tonight we’ll be cracking open Chapter 4 of Dwight V. Swain’s Creating Characters:  How to Build Story People, answering the key question all writers want to know (or need to know):

How do you make a character real?

“Labeling — assigning a story person a dominant impression — is a primary step in character creation.  But a dominant impression alone doesn’t go far enough.  Leave it at that and Character will end up a stick figure at best — a caricature, not a person.  If he’s to be of any real use to you, you need to flesh him out, develop the picture of him in more detail, internally and externally, inside and out.”

Join us this evening as we learn how to give our characters tags, traits, and relationships.  People are like tapestries, with many interwoven threads.  Some threads stand out more than others.  Tonight we will explore how to make that which is required stand out the right amount and in the right way.

Click here for a full-sized example of a way to list character relationships.  Click here for an interesting graphical approach.  And finally, click here for the Game of Thrones approach.

character emotions

Rabid Trails:  I may also be reading short excerpts from two others books, but there’s no need for you to purchase them, as we’re only covering about 2% of either of them each week.  However, in case you’re wondering, they are:

  • The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists:  Insider Secrets from Top Writers by Andrew McAleer
  • Writing Down the Bones:  Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

Homework:  Print a single page (one side only) of your own main character’s introduction.  We will use this during our discussion.

7:30 – 9:00:  Tre Critique

Tre Critique is  three-member team approach to more dynamic and informative critiques of our work.  By both giving and receiving two critiques each week, the quality of your writing will improve at a rapid pace and reach high quality in the shortest possible time.  Variations resulting from uneven groups include two and four members in a critique group.

Please bring two printed copies of your latest work in the following format:

  • Length:  Up to 6 pages or 1,500 words, whichever comes first.
  • Font:  12-pt Times New Roman.  Courier, bookman, garamond, calibri, etc. are acceptable.
  • Spacing:  double-spaced
  • Margins:  1″ all around
  • Indenting:  indented paragraphs (no additional lines before, after, or between paragraphs)
  • Numbering:  Yes (doesn’t matter where)
  • Scene breaks:  Please show with three number symbols (#  #  #), asterisks (*  *  *), or tildes (~  ~  ~) centered on a line between paragraphs
  • Other:  Please include a short synopsis (no more than half a page) of the story up to the beginning of your selection to help orient your critiquers.

Please refrain from discussions during reading and critique periods.  If you’re not participating in the critique, feel free to hang out and write, but keep things “library” quiet until after all critiques are complete.  Thank you.  🙂

See you there!


October 20, 2017
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Agia Sophia
2902 West Colorado Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80904 United States