On 6th July 2020, I started the Making People free writing course, which is offered by Writers’ HQ.
This was my first Writers’ HQ course, and I was keen to see what the course had to offer.
Making People is a creating character’s course. But instead of being called ‘Making Characters’ it’s called ‘Making People’ because this course aims to help writers create realistic characters aka people.
To take the course, you have to sign up for it via the Writers’ HQ website. However, each course is only available on certain dates. So, at the moment, Making People isn’t available under the free courses section, but it might come round again — so keep an eye on the free course schedule.
On the day the course starts, your first lesson is sent to your email — the first day is normally a Monday. And the following six days, you are sent an email containing the day’s lesson — Making People has seven lessons in total.
So, what was in each lesson? Well, the following lessons were:
- Lesson One — This lesson introduced us to the course and its purpose. The course then discussed why it’s important to know what a character wants (physical and emotional) and why they can’t have it. To further explain this, we were given examples of well-known characters and their wants and why they couldn’t have them.
- Lesson Two — This lesson expands on what we learned in Lesson One. It discussed the Save the Cat’s ‘The Six Problems That Need Fixing’ list. This list looks into your character’s physical problem, emotional problem, social problem, belief problem, habitual problem and lifestyle problem. It is believed that knowing these six problems will help make your character more realistic because people don’t just have one problem in their lives.
- Lesson Three — Lesson three showed us how to make a character come to life by describing what they do rather than a long list of what they look like. To help us further understand this, we were given multiple examples in published books to see how it works.
- Lesson Four — The topic of this lesson was character backstory. It explained how you need to know your characters as well as you know yourself. But we don’t have time to work out the character’s entire backstory day-by-day. So instead we must figure out the backstory highlights that have together made your character who they are today.
- Lesson Five — This lesson moves towards working out the story plot, which is developed from what the character wants and why they can’t have it (the big picture conflict). From here, you work on all the things that move you from the beginning to the end of your story (the little pictures).
- Lesson Six — The topic of this lesson is how to avoid creating a character stereotype or trope. And what to do if you do have a character that is a stereotype or trope.
- Lesson Seven — And the final lesson had three exercises to help you put you’ve learnt into a story.
At the end of each lesson, you have an exercise to complete. And once you have completed the exercise, you can share what you’ve done in the Writers’ HQ’s Secret Retreat forums.
I didn’t share any of my exercise answers in the forum because I kept changing my mind about the character I wanted to work on (I hate being so indecisive). But I did enjoy reading what everyone else had done.
I learned so much from this course, and I am now using the exercises to help make my short story, novelette and novel characters more realistic. I would recommend this course to all writers.
How have you tried the Making People course? Let me know in the comment box below. I’d love to hear about your experiences.
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