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Capturing Character: Hear Their Voices 2017 | June 8 – June 11, 2017

Bring your cast of characters to life through this dynamic workshop!

Readers (and editors!) are clamoring for character-driven stories. Character informs all aspects of a story in both picture books and novels. Believable characters connect readers to the world by relating their secrets, ambitions, and obsessions. The characters we create respond to conflict according to their own motivations, and their growth drives the story forward. Do you know how to build characters that your readers will care to follow into your story?

Work with celebrated author Padma Venkatraman (A Time to Dance and Island’s End), An Na (A Step From Heaven and Wait for Me) and author Kristy Dempsey (A Dance Like Starlight and Superhero Instruction Manual) to find ways to bring your characters to life on the page. Learn how voice and emotion are influenced by character. Writing exercises will help you choose and build your characters from the inside out and give your story a unique voice that is a true representation of your characters’ personalities and charm.

You will also explore ways that point of view and character are intertwined. Learn how perspective drives characters’ views of their problems and their views of world problems.

In additional to engaging sessions and writing exercises, each participant will receive a 10-page manuscript review and work one-on-one with our faculty to develop individual projects.

Please note: in order for the faculty to read your manuscript before the workshop, you will have to turn in your manuscript by May 20.

Preliminary Schedule
Day 1
Arrival/Optional Tour of Highlights for Children and Boyds Mills Press
Appetizers, Introductions, Dinner
After dinner: Q&A with Editor Talia Benamy of Philomel Books (Penguin Random House, Penguin Young Readers)

Day 2
Optional yoga before breakfast
Creating Characters That Children Love, Kristy Dempsey
Secondary characters/Generative Writing, An Na
Twenty minute one-on-ones/Free writing time
Character Shopping Spree with Kim Briggs
Pre-Dinner: Padma Venkatraman, writing journey talk and book signing
Appetizers & Dinner
After dinner: Kristy Dempsey, writing journey talk and book signing

Day 3
Optional yoga before breakfast
Research Your Way to Deeper Characters, Kristy Dempsey
Generative writing: Hearing voices, capturing emotions, Padma Venkatraman
1:30– 4:15 Writing Small group workshopping, Kim Briggs facilitates (Two groups, 10-15 minutes per writer. 500 words per writer. Revisions, scenes, first pages)
Q&A with Na, Padma and Kristy, facilitated by Kim
Appetizers & Dinner
After dinner: An Na, writing journey talk and book signing

Day 4
Optional yoga before breakfast
Understanding your protagonist through stakes, An Na
To speak or not to speak? Dialogue and Silence, Padma
Goal setting/final thoughts; facilitated by Kim
Lunch and departures

Blog Posts About Character
Faculty Interview: Capturing Character with An Na, Kristy Dempsey, Padma Venkatraman
Kim Briggs: The No-Limit Character Shopping Spree
Padma Venkatraman: Walking Through the “Woulds” With Your Character
Character Development Through Music: A Writing Exercise from the Barn
Nicole Valentine–Take Your Character to Work Day
Laurie Calkhoven–Meditation to Uncover Character

Faculty & Special Guests