Here are answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions about The Character Generated Narrative:

How does the session unfold? Is it like a conference call?

Yes, in many ways similar. But for our small groups (6-8), free-to-download and free-to-use Skype is flexible and efficient.

We use voice only, the sound is crisp and very present. It really feels as though we’re all in the same room.

And we can share documents while we speak.  (We don’t use the video option.  Just audio.  Video eats too much bandwitdth, and besides . . . we’re all about words!)

What takes place in the sessions?

We work with specific half hour timed exercises, where we discover then expand characters from three different perspectives: Third (he or she), Second (you) and finally First (I).

The exercises are read to the group and critiqued communally using rigorous, respectful listening exercises designed to reveal to the writer what she or he has actually written, not what we might have misheard or imagined.

From these exercises, you construct at least five multi-dimensional, purpose-driven major characters. The characters needs and desires, and the opposition they face, drive the story.

The goals are:

A three page, 750 word story outline detailing the ‘who what where when’, the particular world of your work.

A synergistic plot template that will support the ‘how and why’, the emotional and spiritual dynamics of your work

Several well worked scenes or chapters setting the style, story arc, pace and rhythm, and world of the drama or prose.

A ‘one page leave-behind”, a refined story outline, an appetizer to whet agent/producer/funding body/publisher’s whistles.

You’ll gain deep knowledge of the theme and central conflict, the rising action, the climax, denouement and resolution of your piece.

How are fees determined, and how paid?

The fee reflects the sharply reduced tuition of equivalent introductory and advanced creative writing courses I’ve taught at McGill and Concordia universities, from which the design for the on-line workshops emerged.

A payment schedule tailored to your circumstances can be arranged.

You can pay by Credit Card, Debit, Pay Pal, etc. all though Shopify at the MasterPlayWorks bookstore.

I have no play, screenplay or work of prose fiction in progress. Does that matter?

Because the on-line Character Driven Narrative Workshop is a craft course, I teach the basic elements required to make a new work from the ground up.  You may have an idea in mind, either slightly or significantly developed.  You may not.  It doesn’t matter.

You may want to put work in progress aside temporarily, only for the duration of the course.

In this way, you’re free to lean the essentials of the craft without limiting possibilities to a pre-conceived or highly developed work. Your mind will be clear, your imagination unencumbered. You’ll be in  a much better position to  learn craft essentials without impediment or prejudice.

If you have a work in progress, it’s useful to refer the old work with new tools as the course proceeds. Re-work it entirely when finished.

The secret of writing? Re-writing.

What kind of follow-up can I expect?

When you have the craft at your command, after the course is complete, it is wonderful let what you have learned loose on a new work or go back to a work in progress with a bright new set of tools.

You’ll be delighted by the insights which blossom when your abilities as a newly minted crafts-person are applied to work in progress, or even what you may have considered a completed work.

Many people find work emerging from the course goes on to completion.

Several people, including newcomers, have had work go on to the professional stage; fiction writers have had work favorably evaluated by publishers. I’m always delighted to advise regarding production and publication strategies. MPW grads have gone on to professional stage productions, feature film releases, first or second book deals.

Regarding follow-up, when you’re ready I’ll read a complete draft and provide a detailed critique tailored to your work, for a standard reader’s fee.

Are private, one-one-one on-line sessions available?

Yes. A series of one-hour courses with just you and me can be arranged, depending on mutually agreeable schedules, and my availability.  Fees reflect the exclusive benefits of the one-on-one experience.

Week-long and twelve hour week-end workshops designed for groups of any size are also available.