Charting Your Character’s Arc Webinar and Workshop

Charting Your Character's Arc Webinar and Workshop

Webinar: July 17, 2021 | 9AM – 3:30PM Pacific
Workshop (Optional): July 18, 2021 | 9AM – 4PM Pacific
Where: Online via Zoom web conferencing
Price: $75 – $275
Scholarships Available

Riveting, evocative storytelling hinges on the choices your characters make. These pivotal choices are not necessarily the high action moments in your plot, but they are the moments that define who your character is and becomes. By charting a handful of critical moments of choice in your story, by examining the pressures and risks at each moment, by taking into account how your character’s identities inform their actions, and by understanding deeply how your character pushes against their history and environment at each step, you can create a powerful mini-outline.

This character arc outline can empower you to ask more strategic questions about your plot, pacing, sequence of scenes, your dramatic tension, what clues you provide the reader and when, and about your character’s agency, identity, and journey.

In this webinar, author Stant Litore will walk you through how to chart your character arc in a way that allows you to use that arc as a potent tool for revision. By the end you will be in a better position to identify where you’ve left gaps, where you’ve taken too long, and where there are additional opportunities for both nuance and suspense in your character’s journey as they struggle to become (or remain) who they need to be.

Optional: Workshop Your Character Arc (+$200)

In the workshop portion, writers will get the opportunity to share and refine their character arc with peers and with one of our esteemed workshop leaders: Charlie Jane Anders, K. Tempest Bradford, Milton Davis, Piper J. Drake, K. Ibura, Nibedita Sen, or Olivia Wylie/O.E. Tearmann.

As guided in the seminar, you will bring with you a chart of the critical moments of choice in your story. During the workshop, you will be divided into small groups; in each of these groups, we will collaboratively investigate and refine this character arc.

We’ll take a look at what elements could be heightened or added to key scenes, what critical scenes might be missing or understated, how these moments of choice can be better prepared for, and what opportunities exist to bring your character alive on the page with greater complexity and excitement, in ways that tighten your plot and develop and deliver on your story’s thematic concerns. You will also learn from the workshopping of your peers’ character arcs.

You will leave the workshop with a more defined and vigorous vision for your character’s conflict and actions and with fresh and specific ideas for structuring your story to maximize the emotional and dramatic impact for your character and the reader.

The workshop is limited to 23 participants. You must attend the webinar to take part in the workshop.

Who Should Take This Class?

Writers of all genres — Literary, YA, Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Children’s Books, Romance — and narrative mediums — Prose, Playwriting, Screenwriting, Graphic Novels. The webinar portion will be useful even if you’re not at the revision stage as you can use the tools you learn later and on any project. The workshop will be more useful for writers who have the full plot/story of their work (short or long) figured out, even if it’s not completely written.

Both webinar and workshop will be especially useful to alumni of our Creating Diverse Characters or full Writing the Other classes and workshops, though this is not a prerequisite.

Course Format and Schedule

The webinar will run from 9AM to 3:30PM Pacific Time (click here to convert to your time zone) with breaks throughout the day, including a longer break around the halfway point so participants can eat a meal.

We will record the webinar for archival purposes and all participants will get a copy. We are not selling Video Only registrations for this class. Please only register if you are able to attend as we have limited space.

The workshop will run from 9AM to 4:00PM Pacific Time, also with breaks. Writers will be divided into small groups with one workshop leader each. In these groups, you will collaboratively investigate and refine each person’s character arc. Please plan to attend the full day’s workshop and not only your critique.

The workshop will not be recorded.

Required Texts

Please buy the following texts before class begins.


Both webinar and workshop take place in Zoom. We will provide closed captions auto-generated by Rev or by Zoom. The class mailing list will be through Google Groups. All of these services are accessible to students using screen readers.

If you have questions about potential needs, or if there are any other ways we can make a class accessible for you, please contact us before registering and we’ll answer within 24 hours.

Full and Partial Scholarship Opportunities

Scholarships are available for both the webinar and the workshop.

If you do not have the financial means to pay for all or part of the registration cost for the class, we encourage you to apply.  We have a broad definition of financial need that ranges from writers who do not have the money at all to writers who have the funds but can’t afford to use them for a writing class. We especially encourage writers who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to apply. Wherever you exist on the financial needs spectrum, don’t self reject! (Still not sure whether you should apply? Read this post.)

Additionally, in acknowledgment of the difficulty Palestinian writers may have in accessing resources and the obstacles their voices face in being heard, we have decided to set aside 4 scholarship spots to writers of Palestinian heritage.

IMPORTANT: We set aside scholarship spots ahead of opening registration. Even if the webinar or workshop sell out before the deadline, scholarship spots are still reserved. If you plan to apply for a scholarship you do not need to register below.

If you can afford to pay for part but not all of the registration fee, please apply for a partial scholarship. Under this financial aid plan you can let us know the amount you can afford. If you cannot afford to pay at all, please apply for a full scholarship. 

To apply, please fill out this form. You’ll be asked to provide:

  • A brief (300 or fewer words) statement of financial need.
  • A brief (500 or fewer words) description of a work or works you hope the webinar will help you with.
  • If you customarily identify as POC, BIPOC, or BAME, you may indicate that if you wish.

Deadline: 11:59PM Pacific July 1, 2021. We will notify all applicants of their standing by July 7. If you have any questions, please use our contact form to ask!

Workshop Instructor Bios

Charlie Jane Anders

Charlie Jane Anders is the author of Victories Greater Than Death, the first book in a new young-adult trilogy, which came out in April 2021. Up next: Never Say You Can’t Survive, a book about how to use creative writing to get through hard times; and a short story collection called Even Greater Mistakes. Her other books include The City in the Middle of the Night and All the Birds in the Sky.

Her fiction and journalism have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Slate, McSweeney’s, Mother Jones, the Boston Review,, Tin House, Teen Vogue, Conjunctions, Wired Magazine, and other places. Her TED Talk, “Go Ahead, Dream About the Future” got 700,000 views in its first week. With Annalee Newitz, she co-hosts the podcast Our Opinions Are Correct.

K Tempest Bradford

K. Tempest Bradford is a speculative fiction author, creative writing instructor, media critic, and podcaster. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple anthologies and magazines including In the Shadow of the Towers, Strange Horizons, and many more. She’s the co-host of ORIGINality, a podcast about the roots of creative genius. Her media criticism can be found on NPR, io9, and in books about Time Lords.

She has been teaching writing classes since 2014 for Writing the Other, Clarion West, LitReactor, and others. In 2020 Tempest, alongside Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward, won the LOCUS Special Award for Inclusivity and Representation Education for their work with Writing the Other. She has also been nominated for FIYAH Magazine’s IGNYTE Community and Ember Awards.

Milton Davis

Milton Davis is an award winning Black Speculative fiction writer and owner of MVmedia, LLC, a small publishing company specializing in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Sword and Soul. MVmedia’s mission is to provide speculative fiction books that represent people of color in a positive manner. Milton is the author of nineteen novels, including The Woman of the Woods, Amber and the Hidden City, and Gunman’s Peace. Milton’s work had also been featured in Black Power: The Superhero Anthology, Rococoa, Skelos 2: The Journal of Weird Fiction, Dark Fantasy Volume 2, Steampunk Writers Around the World, Heroika: Dragoneaters, and Bass Reeves Frontier Marshal Volume Two.

He is the editor and co-editor of seven anthologies; The City, Dark Universe with Gene Peterson; Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology and Griot: Sisters of the Spear, with Charles R. Saunders; The Ki Khanga Anthology, the Steamfunk! Anthology, and the Dieselfunk anthology with Balogun Ojetade.

Davis won the 2014 Urban Action Showcase Award for Best Script and has been nominated for the 2018 British Science Fiction Association Award for Short Fiction.

Piper J. Drake

Piper J. Drake is a bestselling author of romantic suspense, paranormal romance, science fiction, and fantasy, a frequent flyer, and day job road warrior. Wherever she goes, she enjoys tasting the world and embarking on foodie adventures. Dogs—and horses—have been known to spontaneously join her for a stroll and she enjoys pausing for a nice chat with cats of all sizes, from domestic to tiger size and beyond.

Piper aspires to give her readers stories with a taste of the hard challenges in life, a breath of laughter, a broad range of strengths and weaknesses, the sweet taste of kisses, and the heat of excitement across multiple genres.

Kiini Ibura Salaam

K. Ibura is a writer and visual artist from New Orleans, Louisiana—which is the original home of the Chitimacha Tribe. A member of the first generation of post- segregation African Americans, Kiini grew up with creative parents who charted an independent cultural and intellectual path. Influenced by a childhood that was rich with art, music, and books, Kiini naturally gravitated toward reading and writing.

Kiini’s work encompasses speculative fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Her writing is rooted in speculative events, magical worlds, and women’s perspectives. Her speculative fiction has been included in such publications as: Dark Matter, Mojo: Conjure Stories, FEMSPEC, Ideomancer, Infinite Matrix and PodCastle. Her collection Ancient, Ancient was co-winner of the 2012 James Tiptree, Jr. Award. Her second collection, When the World Wounds, explores the human condition in the shadows of trauma.

She works as an editor and content director. She and her daughter live in Brooklyn, NY—the original home of the Lenape Tribe.

Nibedita Sen

Nibedita Sen is a Hugo, Nebula, and Astounding Award-nominated queer Bengali writer from Calcutta, and a graduate of Clarion West 2015 whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Anathema: Spec from the Margins, Podcastle, Nightmare and Fireside. She accumulated a number of English degrees in India before deciding she wanted another in creative writing, and that she was going to move halfway across the world for it.

These days, she can be found working as an editor in NYC while consuming large amounts of coffee and videogames. She helps edit Glittership, an LGBTQ SFF podcast, enjoys the company of puns and potatoes, and is nearly always hungry.

Olivia Wylie

Olivia Wylie (she/her)–one half of the writing team behind author O.E. Tearmann– is a professional horticulturist and business owner who specializes in the restoration of neglected gardens. When the weather keeps her indoors, she enjoys researching and writing about the plant world, the future, and the complexities of being human. Her solo work is in illustrated non-fiction works of ethnobotany, intended to make the intersection of human history and plant evolution accessible to a wider audience. She lives in Colorado with a very patient husband and a rather impatient cat.

Wylie writes as O.E. Tearmann alongside E.S. Argentum. Tearmann is the author of the Aces High, Jokers Wild series. Their books include strong themes of diversity and found family, providing a surprisingly hopeful take on a dystopian future. Bringing their own experiences as a marginalized author together with flawed but genuine characters, Tearmann’s work has been described as “Firefly for the dystopian genre.” Publisher’s Weekly called it “a lovely paean to the healing power of respectful personal connections among comrades, friends, and lovers.” 

Refund Policy

If you find that you need to drop the class, you may do so by requesting a refund via Eventbrite.

If you drop out of the webinar by July 9, you will receive a full refund minus a service fee.

If you drop on July 10 or after you will not have your registration fee refunded. However, you will get a recording of the webinar.

You must attend the webinar to take part in the workshop.

If you drop out of the webinar & workshop by July 1, you will receive a full refund minus a service fee.

If you drop out by July 9 you’ll receive a 50% refund.

If you drop the webinar & workshop on July 10 or after you will not have your registration fee refunded. You will get a recording of the webinar.

Register Below

If you have a Gift Card, discount, or code to access tickets, please click the “Enter promo code” link in the Registration box below before you begin the process. If the box below gives you trouble, click here to register on our Eventbrite page.