I am a firm believer in value of personal development and I try to incorporate it into my daily life. I do simple things like driving a different way home to see new sites, or trying a new dish at a favorite restaurant or even a new restaurant. I have recently started taking classes through Coursera to broaden my understanding about subject I find interesting.
Last week, as I was reading through my twitter feed I found an interesting tweet by @Joanne Huspek, she had mentioned she was going for another round of 21 Moments Writing Challenge. I checked the link she had so thoughtfully included in her tweet. The 21 Moments Writing Challenge with Christina Katz, the challenge starts the first of every month. It does cost, but it’s $21 dollars for the first round, which would be a $1 a moment. Joanne Huspek gave it rave reviews. I wasn’t aware of the program until the first of the month, so I’ll have to wait for next month to participate. I made sure to favorite Christina’s website on my phone and when I did that I noticed I had a few other creativity sites saved as well.
I then ventured over to Creative Writing Now, they had a free three-day email course title Endless Story Ideas. I thought, since some of their paid classes seemed pretty interesting, I would try the free one first. I signed up and nearly instantly got the first email. It was on developing characters. I thought it was very appropriate, since I like writing character driven books and stories. I read through the email and it was pretty interesting and got my brain ticking. Shortly after receiving the first email I got a coupon for 40% of the Bringing Characters to Life.
I promptly hopped back onto the website and signed up for a paltry $16 and some change for the eight week email course. The first lesson was on Character Development. Thursday night after work I sat down and did something I thought I would never do; I filled out a character sheet. I always considered it silly, I know who my characters are! I also thought it would in a way cheapen my experience of getting to know them through writing, but I’ll admit it, I was wrong. I did the basic one on Malcolm Stone, there weren’t too many surprises, but as I was working on his, I started thinking about some of the other characters he interacts with and how completing a character sheet on them would allow those character to come to life better and stop being so one-dimensional. My plan for this evening is to complete the more advanced character sheet on Malcolm and then over the course of this week fill out character sheets for Emma, Edmund, and Jean-Pierre, all close friends of Malcolm’s. I may even venture to his brother and sister, we will see how much time I have.
Next week’s lesson is on creating multidimensional characters. I am looking forward to spending the next 7 weeks getting up close and personal with my characters and seeing what these exercises could change in the book.
I have decided it was time to take that personal development I am always preaching and put it to practice within my writing. If I plan on taking my writing seriously and being a professional I think it’s time for some writer development to go along with all that personal development I am doing.
What types of writer development do you participate in?