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Richelle M Putnam

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Online Writer's Course
Thursday, May 10, 2001  7:34:00 PM

by Richelle M Putnam

Literary Criticism
Character Development.
How does a writer develop characters that live page to page, experiencing every action, every emotion?

He’s a fat, sassy rooster the way he struts.
Scorn distorted her face as it always did.
His walk was more like a stumble, as if his long, lanky legs were stilts he had mounted -- for the very first time.
Tears blurred the movie screen and added more salt to her buttery popcorn. It’s a freaking Disney movie, she thought.
Her midnight hair trailed down her back and glistened like a million stars.
When he spoke he bowed his head and shuffled his feet.
Her lips were drawn into a permanent pout.
She never looks you in the eye.
He’s a lone bullet in a chamber just waiting to be shot.
All the above statements emphasize character. What is character? Character is who someone has been, who he or she is now, and who he or she will become. Character is every feature and trait that forms an individual’s nature. Character covers a multitude of sins as well as moral and ethical qualities. Character is what one is or isn’t made of. Without character, only an empty shell remains. You can pen the greatest story every told, but without vibrant characters, your manuscript will be as hollow as a sewage pipe.
What would the sinking of the Titanic have been without characters? Or the volcano eruption at Pompeii? Even the parting of the Red Sea wouldn’t seem quite so miraculous without characters crossing over to the other side.
This course teaches step by step how to pour character descriptions, personalities, emotions, gestures, and dialogue in that empty shell, and form an unforgettable character.

*This is a six-week course
*Lessons posted on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with Friday’s sessions including critiques
*Live chats are available with instructor and classmates regarding class work and publishing opportunities
*e-mail feedback

Session One: Introduction. Overview of course. Creating the shell of your protagonist and antagonist. Go shopping for character descriptions and record what physical traits you desire for your characters. Research names in phone books, newspapers, and magazines, or purchase a baby name book. Name your characters, describe physical characteristics, and occupations. Prepare a simple plot outline.

Session Two: Creating character personalities. Here we begin to fill that empty shell. Who are your characters? What are they like? What are their hobbies? Likes and Dislikes? Is one an introvert and the other extrovert? Quiet and shy? Loud and abrupt? Liberal? Conservative? Does one move his hands when he speaks? Does one avoid eye contact? During this session, your characters begin to breathe.

Session Three: Creating character emotions. In this session you learn that stories and books are emotional journeys. Circumstances drive the characters, but character emotions drive the reader. Character emotion pours into your character shell. Your protagonist will handle anger quite differently from your antagonist, and must in order to produce conflict. Now, your characters learn how to move.

Session Four: Creating character dialogue, finding your character’s voice. Dialogue in fiction has to be realistic without being too real. Useless, wordy dialogue, common in everyday life, is a no-no. Still, you need to listen to those around you, take notes, and get idea of how your characters will speak. Women speak differently from men, men from boys, and boys from girls. An attorney won’t talk like a farmer or vise versa. We’ll see how dialogue fills your shell even more as characters act and react with words. Your characters learn how to live.

Session Five: Putting your characters into action. Students will write a 500-word confrontation between the protagonist and antagonist putting to use Sessions One through Four. Character expressions, gestures, thoughts, and words that you have already made unique to each character should drive your sentences. Now your characters learn to respond.

Session Six: Here we will pull it all together and write a 1,500 words short story or scene from your book that portrays both characters. Your characters have now become unique individuals with their own personality, dialogue, gestures, and physical appearance. Now you must reveal them to your fellow students and readers.
Hightower Writer Retreat

 More News about Richelle M Putnam
Songwriters Network Accepts My Side of Bad - 5/17/2010 7:13:00 PM

WomensRadio Accepts Another Song - 3/13/2010 3:40:00 PM

Song of the Year Awards My Side of Bad - 3/6/2010 5:34:00 PM

Richelle Performs at Meridian, MS's 150th Birthday Celebration - 2/1/2010 10:21:00 AM

Indie 104 Accepts My Side of Bad and Take the Long Way Home for Love - 2/1/2010 10:16:00 AM

Songwars awards My Side of Bad - 1/9/2010 8:24:00 AM

His Love Overwhelms Me Semi-Finalist - 1/9/2010 8:19:00 AM

Was It Worth it? 1st Place Winner in Tallahatchie Riverfest Playwriting - 1/9/2010 8:15:00 AM

Crossing Bridges wins 3rd Place in Tallahatchie Riverfest Writing Contest - 1/9/2010 8:09:00 AM

Life After Death Receives Honorable Mention - 1/9/2010 8:07:00 AM

Take the Long Way Home for Love Receives Honorable Mention - 1/9/2010 8:02:00 AM

Pongid Radio chooses My Side of Bad - 1/9/2010 7:55:00 AM

Women of Substance Radio features Take The Long Way Home - 1/9/2010 7:51:00 AM

#1 Internet Radio Station iradio chooses The Ghost Train - 1/9/2010 7:47:00 AM

Iradio chooses The Best of Me for rotation - 1/9/2010 7:42:00 AM

Book Signing - Main Street Books - 1/9/2010 7:19:00 AM

Book Signing - Lorelei Books - 1/9/2010 7:16:00 AM

Richelle performs Women of Potta Chitto soundtrack - 1/9/2010 7:14:00 AM

Women of Potta Chitto Performance - 1/9/2010 7:10:00 AM

Book Signing and Writing Workshop - 1/9/2010 7:06:00 AM

Storytelling Festival, Meridian, MS - 1/9/2010 7:03:00 AM

Performing at Roxy Theatre, Newton, MS - 1/9/2010 6:58:00 AM

Richelle Putnam on Acoustic Fuel Radio - 7/23/2009 9:06:00 AM

WomensRadio Accepts Three Songs - 7/23/2009 9:03:00 AM

Radio Crystal Blue Chooses Three Songs for Rotation - 6/24/2009 4:20:00 AM

Women of Substance Radio Selects Richelle's Song - 6/21/2009 4:28:00 PM

Song of the Year Competition awards Suggested Artist Placement - 6/19/2009 9:17:00 AM

American Songwriter Magazine Awards Ridin' a Railroad Car - 6/4/2009 5:34:00 PM

Midnight Special Blues Radio Chooses Change My Mind - 5/29/2009 7:32:00 AM

#1 Internet Radio Station selects Richelle's Song for Rotation - 5/26/2009 6:04:00 AM

His Love Overwhelms Me wins Honorable Mention - 5/17/2009 4:43:00 AM

Unburied Treasures: On the Road - 5/17/2009 4:40:00 AM

BandRadio accepts two songs for play - 4/19/2009 5:56:00 PM

The song Change My Mind Featured on Dr. Lou's Radio Show - 4/7/2009 9:58:00 AM

His Love Overwhelms Me top Ten finalist - 4/5/2009 8:51:00 AM

Confessesions of a Single Mother Wins lst Place - 4/5/2009 8:43:00 AM

John's Gift Finalist for A Cup of Comfort Book Christmas Prayer - 3/3/2009 10:38:00 AM

Banana Peel Radio Selects Richelle to be Featured Artist - 2/28/2009 8:38:00 AM

iRadio la, Indie 104 Selects Lost in You - 2/22/2009 4:59:00 PM

A Baby On My Knee, A Soldier In My Heart Award - 2/11/2009 10:29:00 AM

Midnight Special Blues Radio Station Chooses High Strung Woman for play - 1/29/2009 6:46:00 AM

Dr. Lou Blues Hour Chooses High Strung Woman as Feature Song - 1/29/2009 6:41:00 AM

Blue Mountain Arts Options Poem for Greeting Card Line - 1/5/2009 6:05:00 AM

Skope Radio chooses See The Boy as Featured Song - 1/2/2009 7:16:00 AM

His Love Overwhelms Me Runner-Up, Song of the Year - 12/26/2008 6:56:00 AM

Book Signing at Lottie Boggan's house Great Success - 12/5/2008 3:04:00 PM

#1 internet IRADIO LA Accepts three more song for play - 12/2/2008 8:25:00 AM

Ben Franklin Awards - 11/29/2008 6:24:00 PM

IRADIO LA accepts nine more songs - 11/29/2008 6:19:00 PM

Tired of Outlaws and Chasing Desperados - 10/23/2008 7:03:00 PM

See the Boy places in Song of the Year June 2008 Competition - 9/2/2008 4:54:00 AM

Gordon/Putnam Team Finalists in International Songwriting Contest - 4/28/2008 7:50:00 PM

Write Initiative Instructor - 4/10/2007 5:20:00 PM

Poetry Out Loud Facilitator - 4/10/2007 5:18:00 PM

Common Ties Accepts The Vase of Clover - 4/10/2007 5:15:00 PM

Song Wins Honorable Mention in Song of the Year Contest - 4/10/2007 5:11:00 PM

Truth and Mercy Accepted by Amazon Shorts - 4/10/2007 5:08:00 PM

Coming Home on Amazon Shorts - 4/10/2007 5:06:00 PM

Runner-up In 2006 Song of the Year Competition - 2/12/2007 12:48:00 PM


Southern Hum accepts story for publication - 7/19/2006 5:56:00 AM

Approved as Artist on the Artist Roster for the State of Mississippi - 7/11/2006 5:04:00 PM

Feature Writer/MeridianPlusOnline - 6/12/2006 7:11:00 PM

Two Literary Artists on Stage (LAOS) Coming - 5/14/2006 8:01:00 AM

Interview with Cyrus Webb - 5/14/2006 7:57:00 AM

Literary Artists on Stage III - 4/19/2006 2:21:00 PM


Honorable Mention in Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Contest - 2/3/2006 5:30:00 PM

Front page news on Literary Artists on Stage II - 1/21/2006 6:53:00 AM

Blue Mountain Arts Options Poem - 1/15/2006 8:36:00 AM

Literary Artists on Stage a Huge Success - 11/9/2005 5:20:00 AM

Honorable Mention-2005 Writer's Digest Annual Writing Competition - 10/17/2005 7:28:00 PM

Literary Artists on Stage - 10/2/2005 6:55:00 AM

Confessions of a Single Mother winner in Writer's Digest Annual Contest - 9/27/2005 6:05:00 AM

Confessions of a Single Mother chosen for Long List Finalist - 2/4/2005 10:10:00 AM

Brilliant Thoughts-Writing Workshop for Girl Writers - 2/3/2005 2:40:00 PM

How to Mentor Your Child Writer - 2/3/2005 2:33:00 PM

Fall 2004 Course at Meridian Community College - 11/30/2004 5:24:00 AM

First Chapter of Your Are My Sunshine takes 1st Place in Writing Competition - 5/31/2004 2:51:00 PM

Poem accepted into A Tribute to Mothers Anthology - 3/17/2004 4:08:00 PM

Life After Death named as Finalist in WriteSafe's Quarterly Competition - 2/4/2004 5:55:00 PM

Watching the World Go Round Announced as Semi-Finalist - 10/20/2003 9:47:00 AM

Private Creative Writing Lessons (Live and Online) - 8/26/2003 10:14:00 AM

Fall Creative Writing Course begins soon - 8/21/2003 5:03:00 AM

The Curse named semi-finalist in Writesafe's quarterly competition - 7/17/2003 9:15:00 AM

Writing for Children Workshop - 7/16/2003 6:58:00 AM

Net Author to publish another article - 6/17/2003 8:06:00 PM

Appleseeds to publish non-fiction article in January 2004 issue - 6/17/2003 8:04:00 PM

Writing Poetic Language published in April Issue of Novel Advice - 4/16/2003 11:52:00 PM

Net Authors Published "Conflicts: The Ins and Outs in their Stacks Section - 4/8/2003 5:48:00 PM

Meridian Community College Literary Review publishes flash fiction - 3/26/2003 6:07:00 AM

The Meridian Star Recognizes Local Writer - 2/14/2003 5:47:00 PM

Conflict: The Ins and Outs Accepted Again for Publication - 2/14/2003 5:41:00 PM

Two College for Kids Students being published in two different anthologies - 1/23/2003 3:10:00 PM

NAWW's Feminine Writers Anthology - 1/23/2003 2:51:00 PM

Road to Success in Cyber Journal's January 2003 Issue - 1/22/2003 5:50:00 AM

A Spring Release for Cup of Comfort for Mother and Daughters - 12/11/2002 6:26:00 AM

interview with Diana Kimpton, Owner of Word Pool and multi-published author - 12/9/2002 3:30:00 PM

Honorable Mention in By-Line Magazine's Writing Competition - 12/9/2002 3:09:00 PM

Hopscotch accepts another short story for publication - 11/25/2002 6:30:00 AM

NAWW to publish new book on the craft of writing - 11/11/2002 11:46:00 AM

They" wins first place in WriteSafe's Quarterly Competition - 11/2/2002 5:19:00 PM

They named Finalist in WriteSafe's Quarterly Contest - 10/29/2002 7:43:00 PM

Developing Character Emotions - 10/21/2002 5:11:00 AM

Jack and Jill accepts short story - 10/18/2002 7:14:00 AM

Finalist in Writer's Digest 2002 Writing Competition - 10/18/2002 7:10:00 AM

Memoir a contender for Grand Prize of $500.00 - 10/18/2002 7:08:00 AM

Hopscotch Accepts Short Story - 10/2/2002 6:07:00 AM

Kathryn Lay Interview is up - 9/12/2002 6:48:00 PM

Dialogue: A Fine Art and Conflict: The Ins and Outs now online - 8/31/2002 2:33:00 PM

Writers as Collectors - 8/31/2002 2:31:00 PM

My Friend Anita now published - 8/4/2002 7:41:00 PM

Article now published on Institute's website - 8/4/2002 7:17:00 PM

Memoir selected as finalist - 7/23/2002 4:30:00 PM

The Copperfield Review accepts My Friend Anita for publication - 7/9/2002 5:23:00 PM

Essay on 9/11 disaster to be published in Cayuse Press's Book of Remembrance - 6/7/2002 6:34:00 AM

First Chapter receives Honorable Mention in 2002 CNW/FFWA Writing Competition - 6/7/2002 6:31:00 AM

Song of Melissy named Finalist in Competition - 6/3/2002 5:06:00 AM

Interview with David Davis - 6/1/2002 8:47:00 AM

Boy's Quest accepts article - 6/1/2002 8:00:00 AM

Magnolia Missy Unveiled - 5/13/2002 11:22:00 AM

NAWW publishes essay - 4/29/2002 6:05:00 PM

The Ficus Prophecy recognized on Fictiononline - 4/29/2002 6:03:00 PM

Write 4 Kids recognizes website - 4/29/2002 6:00:00 PM

Real Scary Stories (Watch your back) - 4/29/2002 5:58:00 PM

Book Reviewers Site - 4/29/2002 5:55:00 PM

Need a Writer? - 4/29/2002 5:53:00 PM

Para Normal Photos Featured Writer - 4/29/2002 5:50:00 PM

Movie Bytes recognized short story - 4/29/2002 5:46:00 PM

Writers Korner - 4/29/2002 5:44:00 PM

Institute accepts second article this week - 4/24/2002 12:05:00 PM

Institute of Children Literature accepts another article - 4/22/2002 2:25:00 PM

Perfect Peace is online - 4/17/2002 2:38:00 PM

Romancing the Skyze accepted Short Story for Publication - 4/1/2002 7:23:00 AM

Short Story chosen as finalist - 3/22/2002 8:00:00 AM

Fiction Fix publishes article - 2/4/2002 9:46:00 AM

E2K accepted Flash Fiction Story - 1/31/2002 12:18:00 PM

Interview with Gail Johnson - 1/22/2002 7:13:00 AM

Wee Ones Accepts Non-Fiction Article - 1/19/2002 9:10:00 AM

Novel Advice Accepts Another Article - 1/19/2002 9:08:00 AM

Wacky World of Writing Newsletter - 1/5/2002 5:53:00 PM

Richelle Putnam speaks to Meridian Community College's Creative Writing Students - 1/2/2002 1:16:00 PM

Coursebridge accepts characterization course as part of their curriculum - 12/29/2001 9:43:00 AM

Perfect Peace Receives Special Honorable Mention - 12/27/2001 8:04:00 AM

This Old Man Wins First Place - 12/17/2001 10:10:00 PM

Gourmet Writing in The Writing Parent Print Newsletter - 12/16/2001 9:38:00 AM

Finalist in WriteSpot Spring 2001 Competition - 12/13/2001 8:59:00 PM

A Selected Author for Scribum Online - 12/13/2001 8:57:00 PM

Characterization Workshop a Huge Success - 11/15/2001 7:11:00 PM

Novel Advice Accepts Article for Publication - 11/15/2001 7:07:00 PM

North and South Wins Second Place in WriteSafe's Quarterly Competition - 11/15/2001 7:05:00 PM

Poem makes finals in Blue Mountain Art Contest - 11/9/2001 7:35:00 PM

The Ficus Prophesy is up - 11/5/2001 11:54:00 AM

Television spot for Charactization Workshop - 10/18/2001 10:34:00 AM

North and South Enters Finalist Slot in Write Safe's Quarterly Competition - 10/18/2001 10:32:00 AM

North and South Enters Semi-Finalist Slot in Write Safe's Quarterly Competition - 10/11/2001 7:47:00 AM

Writer's Forum Recognizes World Wide Writers' Short Story Contest Winners - 9/26/2001 2:02:00 PM

What's The Difference" article now online - 9/26/2001 8:30:00 AM

Dialogue Without Skipping a Beat Published - 9/23/2001 9:20:00 AM

Writing Parent accepts another article - 9/21/2001 10:15:00 AM

Children's Story wins another award - 9/15/2001 11:08:00 AM

AN UNEXPECTED SURPRISE - 8/17/2001 12:23:00 PM



Autographed copy of Fallout - 7/20/2001 10:13:00 AM

Truth and Mercy Makes it to Writesafe's Finals - 7/17/2001 1:22:00 PM

Truth and Mercy makes it to Write-Safe's semi-finals - 7/9/2001 8:38:00 PM

Institute of Children Literature accepts another article - 6/5/2001 8:05:00 AM

Guest Writer on Writer's Review - 6/3/2001 4:15:00 PM

Looking for published authors to interview - 6/3/2001 11:46:00 AM

What Barnes and Noble Readers are saying about Fallout - 6/2/2001 2:56:00 PM

What Amazon readers are saying about Fallout - 6/2/2001 2:37:00 PM

National Association of Women's Writer - 6/2/2001 10:27:00 AM

Institute of Children's Literature accept article for publication - 6/2/2001 10:25:00 AM

Williams Literary Agency Representation - 6/2/2001 10:22:00 AM

Characterization Course - 6/2/2001 10:20:00 AM

Orchard Press Mysteries Accepts Short Story - 6/2/2001 10:17:00 AM

Story to be published in Suite 101's Real People, Real Stories - 6/2/2001 9:41:00 AM

Books by
Richelle M Putnam

The Inspiring Life of Eudora Welty

Legendary Locals of Meridian

Lauderdale County, Mississippi: A Brief History

A Tribute to Mom

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Romancing the Soul

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Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..

Living By Faith

A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Daughters

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Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..

Featured Book
TRAVEL: Making Day Dreams Come True
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First-hand tales of exciting places to see in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe and the United Kingdom told with personal observations and anecdotes...  
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Adirondack Hikes in Hamilton County
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The Adirondacks of New York is the largest wilderness area east of the Rockies. This book features hikes and things to do in the Central Adirondacks of Hamilton County..  
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