5 stars? A whole constellation for this course. Sarah and Jo are extremely talented teachers masquerading as loons. They will make you a better writer.
The Writers’ HQ Online Characterisation Masterclass
Create characters who are original, real and memorable, right down to that bit of dried cheese sauce on their trousers and their fear of flip-flops.
Imagine if Lizzie Bennett had no sense of humour, or if Offred just gave up, or if Matilda wasn’t fussed about books. Imagine if Frankenstein had even the tiniest ounce of empathy. Without great and believable characters, stories don’t fly, plots wilt, worlds end and, worse, manuscripts get thrown in the bin.
Our one week long characterisation masterclass will show you how to turn your characters into people, how to stop yourself falling back on tropes and stereotypes, and how to avoid hashing out two-dimensional cardboard cutout figures instead of sculpting living, breathing people.
Prepare your loins to CREATE LIFE!
Learn how to craft unique, intriguing characters who have their very own agenda, opinions, phobias and dreams.
Write backstories and memories and find out how to thwart your poor protagonist’s desires at every turn to up the stakes and layer your story with conflict.
Join our lovely little online community to support you through the braining process and beyond, plus peer and WHQ feedback.
UNIT 1: WHAT DO THEY WANT AND WHY CAN’T THEY HAVE IT?
Tap into your character’s deepest desires to ramp up the conflict
UNIT 2: THE MANY ARCS OF CHARLIE BAXTER
Just one problem to solve? Too easy! Chuck everything you’ve got at them.
UNIT 3: WHAT YOU DO IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT YOU ARE
Why action is more important than description
UNIT 4: HISTORY AND ALSO HERSTORY
Get down and dirty with your character’s backstory for a fuller front-story
UNIT 5: INCREMENTS OF BASTARDRY
Give ’em hell
5 stars? A whole constellation for this course. Sarah and Jo are extremely talented teachers masquerading as loons. They will make you a better writer.
Good stuff ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Excellent course. I have to say I never got the hang of the forums. But I’m probably getting old and not very online-attuned. I prefer classrooms with real people. But that’s my problem, not the course’s. Overall, a very good course, beautifully thought through. Recommended, even if like me you aren’t too hot on the virtual side of things.
Amazing journey of discovery ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I was a bit hesitant about doing an online course but I liked Writers’ HQ’s approach and the programme for plotstomers looked like the business. Over the last 6 weeks I have made such huge progress with novel. Really getting to grips with where story was going, characters’ motivation, that thing everyone mentions called “conflict”. The teaching material was excellent: just right amount and level. Support was good though I didn’t really get too involved with forum discussions as my head was buried in doing the plotting homework. Feel massively more confident now about actually writing the bloody novel. Will be going on to the next stage with Writers’ HQ.
The scales have truly fallen ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I had an idea. I wrote it out for 60k words. Someone said it was more like a short story. I was stuck. Then I discovered Writers HQ… I’ve found my people. This course has literally transformed my work. I now have something that actually reads like the outline for a novel. The teaching methods, materials and support (both from Sarah and Jo, and my fellow plot-a-trons) has been superb. Sensible, practical, intense, with a good splosh of anarchy. I now feel more confident about the actual writing and am also happy that the original idea holds up. Thank you so much and I’m looking forward to the next course (9 month…). It’ll be AWESOME!
Clear and concise ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I’ve played around with writing short stories for a while, but this course really helped me understand them. It covers all the little techniques and tools needed to craft a really solid story. Even if you’d done other short story courses, I would recommend this one. The course is easy to understand with lots of fantastic examples to help cement your learning. The exercises are thought-provoking and enjoyable. Each section is broken into smaller sections to fit into a busy lifestyle. And the people are lovely too!
I LOVED THIS COURSE & IT BEATS THE PANTS OFF OTHER, SUPPOSEDLY ‘HIGH END’ EDITING COURSES ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I got more out of this course than all of the other ones I’ve done put together, and I’ve done lots and have been to some prestigious places that live off their puffery and fame but what they offer in terms of proper skills and help, simply doesn’t touch this. Plotstormers II, has been enormously enlightening and empowering and deeply generous, thanks so much Jo and & Sarah, you ROCK. I have already sung its praises among writer friends; two of whom are signing up pronto and I have only hesitated from trumpeting about it on SM, for fear that all WRITERSHQ courses would, subsequently, be swamped and then there would be no room for liddle ‘ole me! I will get over myself – promise.
I am converted ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Before the course, I was a solid pantser, but now I have truly seen the light. The way Sarah & Jo take you step-by-step through each stage, they make it impossible not to understand the theory of story structure and help you to put it into practice. So, after 6 short weeks (ARE THEY REALLY OVER?!), I can scarcely believe it, but I have a well-structured plan, with all the sub-plots in place, and I know what I want to happen and when. I just need to write the darned thing, now. If only they had a course for that… oh, wait a minute…
Now I am a Plotstormer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I love this course. So much great actionable advice on how to plot a novel, starting from 50,000 feet up and getting closer and closer until you’re at ground level….I was struggling with a novel I’ve been wanting to write for years now – have charged into NaNoWriMo every November for the last four years, hoping to get ‘er done, and with the exception of one year (in which I got 50,000 words of…backstory!), I’ve stumbled out of the gate and never hit the final target for the month. This year I’m more hopeful – because I have a much better idea of where I’m going with the story. This was something I hadn’t taken the time to think about in advance. Now I have, and I realize that was the missing piece – now I know what I want to do, I know things may change along the way, but I also know I have my Magical 16-Point Plot Planner lurking in the background of my files, waiting to rescue me – or to be adapted to fit the story as things morph and change. And it’s been great hanging out with other writers who are working out their plots as well – seeing the process and how it’s working for other people – getting to contribute to their work and getting their wonderful suggestions and help for my own. All hail Plotstormers! I’ll be using what I’ve learned over and over and over….
I started with a beginning and an end then changed the end, twice, got the middle and finally understood what plotting is all about and what a story arc truly is. Now I see holes and have an idea of how to fill them. Great attitude to teaching from WHQ crew.
Took me from vague idea to specific novel plan in six weeks. I don’t have any writing time, but guess what – it’s still possible. Supportive and clear – highly recommend.
Loved it – though ideas I came up with were a bit mad ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Excellent content and some great feedback – even if it all got very silly from me on the writing/ideas front..
I had done some writing courses before, heard numerous writers say that the real work begins with rewriting and editing but I had no idea how to approach my novel in order to deconstruct and rebuild it (and I know some writers who have done an MA in writing fiction and haven’t got more of a clue!). This course was invaluable, full of practical ways to look at your story differently and very get-down-to-it exercises. Besides I also met some lovely friends along the way (other course students) and the input we gave each other was another fantastic aspect of the course. Highly recommended!
A solid foundation ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
At the beginning of this course I had an idea for a novel that I could have comfortably written down on a single sheet of paper. Six weeks later I have a detailed narrative structure, with subplots and well-drawn characters. I have the confidence to take this outline forward and begin the actual novel writing process.
Fantastic Course ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thoroughly excellent course. A guided tour of the first draft you thought you knew, with myriad exercises to ensure you end up knowing it better. Help to recognise its strengths, and strategies to deal with its weaknesses. Advice, support, and plain good sense. A variety of approaches, to suit different kinds of writers. By the end of the course, I was raring to go, and what’s more, I knew what I had to do to make my draft into the best book it could be.
Detailed and easy and fun to follow ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I’ve only just started, but I can tell this course and the group is going to help, especially as I’ve done more short story courses than I can remember.
Plotstormers – guidance, structure, encouragement ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I wasn’t convinced any kind of online writing course could benefit me, having heard other writers’ tales of disappointment, but I would have no hesitation in recommending this one – and indeed anything else Writers’ HQ put out. Excellent in every way, refreshing and full of wisdom.
Highly Recommended ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I came to this course with the complete first draft of a novel I had already written, but which (after a year of failing to rewrite it on my own) I knew needed more than just a bit of editing to make it work. Plotstormers has been a great way of completely deconstructing what I had to begin with, and then building it up again from scratch into first four, then seven, then sixteen units. The early weeks give you a brilliant introduction to various theories of plotting, soundbites from successful authors, and links to useful blogs and resources; this part is huge fun, and the video of Kurt Vonnegut explaining the shapes of stories is absolutely priceless. When it came to the actual writing bit, Sarah and Jo provided excellent support, encouragement and incisive feedback throughout (though be warned: the swearing is contagious. You’ll know you have a problem when your 2 yr old starts effing at random people in shops). In the latter weeks of the course the forums (fora?) became indispensible for sounding out ideas and identifying problems as well as helpful cameraderie. I lagged behind towards the end, but nevertheless this course has given me the boost I needed to get my novel back off the ground, or at least back onto the runway. I highly recommend it, and look forward to taking more Writers HQ courses in the near future.
The short and the long of it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
There is a huge amount of material in this course, compactly delivered in six weekly batches of units. As well as plenty of straightforward instruction on the craft of storytelling (plot, character, point of view, and whatnot) there are diverse readings to ponder and discuss; soundbites and advice from writers and editors; prompts and challenging exercises; and a chance to post your own writing for feedback from the forum. I highly recommend it as an introduction to the world of short stories, and as food for thought on writing in general which may take me far longer than six weeks to digest.
Everything you need it to be. And more. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
If you think you’ve done editing courses before, so you don’t need to do another one, then you’re completely and utterly wrong. This course takes your book by the short and curlies and makes it scream for it’s mamma. Because this course isn’t your average ‘let’s look at some of your prose & pretty it up’ kinda course, it’s a RIP IT TO PIECES & GIVE IT A FULL BODY SEARCH kinda course. Sound brutal? It is. Your brains will ooze out of your ears. But you won’t regret it. Not one bit. Trust me. By the time you’re done, you will know exactly what you need to do to your book to get it to tell the story you want it to tell. What more can you ask?
Being on draft 9 for the book I wanted to edit AGAIN, I wasn’t sure how this course was going to make me see things differently. But wow, it really did. Breaking a novel down into its mathematical building blocks (and let’s face it, i do have geek tendencies, so if there is a formula, I’m happy) was a unique way to go about editing. Pulling apart first rather than building. Once all those little itty bitty blocks became their own entities, it was so much easier to see where the gape were in my novel and what needed fixing. I will definitely be using this method for all of my other novels and going back over them with this same approach. Sharing with other writers at the same stage, both offering and receiving support gives companionship in a lonely career/hobby etc. So glad that I have now met more writers and hope we can continue to engage. A great way to learn. Also – the humour of Jo (and Sarah) really make the learning curves a little less painful and I can’t count the number of times I’ve have quite literally laughed out loud. Am contemplating coming back for more as wondering what the initial plotting course is all about. Husband….?
7 Ideas in 7 Days ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A mysterious benefactor gives you a task a day and – shazam! – by the end of the week you’re a-fizzing with ideas. Tis witchcraft. Do it.
Plotstorming is rough….but I loved it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
It took me a while to get through the course materials. Mostly because of the huge monster in my head telling me I couldn’t, wouldn’t and shouldn’t get through it. It is a testament to Sarah and Jo’s skills, encouragement and general awesomeness that despite all this I kept finding my way back and eventually emerged the other side with a not just a plot, but a passion for my story that I feared was lost. The course is worth every penny, every bead of sweat and every tear. I feel like a better writer in a better position. Can’t thank you guys enough!
Thought-provoking and challenging. Well worth it! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This is a fantastic course. It helped me step back from my manuscript, asked me difficult questions about plot, consistency and character that I’d been happily ignoring, and helped me to deal with each issue in easy to manage chunks rather than one overwhelming beast. The forums are so useful. Being able to talk to other people in a similar situation to myself, and giving as well as receiving feedback was just as important for me to learn as the course material was. I’m already booked on my next course!
SUPER SPLENDID IDEA GENERATING JOY! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I’d been feeling like I’d lost the ability to generate ideas but this course gave me my confidence back. You’ll get the chance to play around with some really fun exercises and just see what happens! I got at least seven really decent ideas to develop further. It’s great value for money and will really give you a great big creative kick. Five gold stars from me!
WHAT A TOTALLY BRILLIANT COURSE!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
It’s my editing blueprint for good, for now, forever! I could write a song about this course .. but instead I’ll sing your praises and say how you’ve taken the huge job of drafting a novel and made it simple .. well, simpler, because you have the knack of getting right to the heart of what a novel is, what it’s for, how it works as an entity, who inhabits it. About midway through the course I had a personal business crash that required my total attention to fix, and it’s a shame because I was enjoying the forum and taking part in it. BUT I was safe in the knowledge that if I could get back to reality and my life quick enough, I could continue and I have – and completed! I have a deadline to fulfil with my writing group and if I can manage it, I will return to the Forum too before the course ends in a few days. I will undoubtedly be returning for the course on Submission to an Agent but I’m nowhere near ready. Can I just say how helpful it was knowing the course materials would continue to be up on the site as I’ve desperately needed this time. My only crit would be, and I mean it in a positive way, is that I felt the whole course could have been double the length anyway – as in 3 months, and then another 6 weeks for the materials to be up on the site. Many exercises of ’60 mins’ or ’45 mins’ took days or a whole week! By the way, more expensive courses I’ve taken (e.g. for thousands!) were NOTHING compared to this!! Bless you, and though I wish you EVERY SUCCESS with your own writing, I hope you DON’T STOP DOING THIS!!! A THOUSAND THANKS.
Top notch course and the exercises are really challenging. It is hard work but it helps build a habit of writing too. I am really enjoying it a lot and surprised by how much I managed to do within those few weeks. Sarah has been an absolute brick really supportive and verifying or checking things in such a gentle and encouraging way. Go for it, you’ll love it.
Do you even edit? Well, do ya? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
5 stars, natch! So, so, so much great advice, tips, tools and methods for editing – it will take me 6 months to work through everything, but it will make this book much stronger than anything I’ve written before! If you’re stuck in the slush pile and feel your book needs one more edit OR you’re just finishing your first draft OR anywhere in between, then do this course. It’s the Jedi Temple you have always sought, but your midichlorian levels never allowed you access, well here you get full access to a whole heap of mind tricks that will fool even Jabba! So thanks ladies, once more, I bow to your Jedi greatness. One day this Padawan will hopefully become an editing master…
I wasn’t sure what to expect from seven days but was surprised by the amount of creativity sparked by the (seemingly) simple ideas. Brilliant course, whether you’re short of ideas or not, because it gets you thinking and looking at things differently. Five well-deserved gold stars from me too ???? Thank you!
You won’t regret it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I signed up for this course to help keep on track with a major rewrite of my novel, hoping thereby to avoid a big editing headache at a later stage. Plotstormers II provides a clearly laid out plan of action and takes you through the deconstruction-reconstruction process a step at a time, with plenty of moral support provided by Jo and forum participants along the way. A certain amount of pain may be inevitable, but it’s definitely a case of no pain no gain, and also brings to mind the advice of Mark Twain with regard to riding a bicycle: you won’t regret it, if you live.
When there’s something weird (in your story idea) and it don’t look good…Who ya’ gonna call? PLOTSTORMERS! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Superb materials, featuring advice, ideas, exercises and tips from both Sarah and Jo, as well as a plethora of published authors, all contribute to making Plotstormers the course to take if you just don’t know how the hell your hero is going to find their mentor, or which character should die next, or who should kiss who and when (bleeeurgh!) – whatever kind of novel you’re wanting to write, whatever style you’ve had previously, the course will help to amplify, hone and refine your ideas into a coherent and detailed road map, directing you through the asteroid belt of your story! These guys rock, I had a blast and would recommend with reservation.
Best f**king course on writing short fiction, ever ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I love this course. So much information, so many great exercises, such great feedback in the forums. Doesn’t matter how you learn – there’s a little something for everyone here, from videos to suggested readings to hands-on work – and some great prompts for the exercises. Helped me think about writing in invaluable new ways (distill your story down to a 140-character tweet? I can do this, I can do this…!). Kind, encouraging, clear, direct. I wrote some new stories during the course, and with the stories I already had before I started, I have lots of editing ahead of me….but at least now I KNOW WHAT TO DO! Thanks for a stellar course, Jo. Time now to stop f**king about and start editing (writing is rewriting :o).
Everything I wanted and more ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I’d been tentatively picking at the second draft of my novel for a while when I signed up for this course, aware that it needed a lot of work, and afraid to properly commit to it. This course kindly but firmly took me in hand and made me look at all the things I didn’t want to look at (ie everything). It gave me a synopsis (wasn’t expecting that!). It helped remind me what I was trying to say in the first place and why that was important to me. It gave me a plan for my next draft. And, most importantly as far as I am concerned, it gave me the push I needed to get back to writing the novel. The forums are also really useful for bouncing ideas around, and it was so good to chat to other people who were at the same stage with their books! Thank you, thank you, Jo and Sarah – I will be back for more soon.
More ideas than you can shake an inspiration stick at ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Fab exercises for toning up your idea muscles. A fun, inspiring week.
Bursting with stories ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I’ve written short stories for a while, but this course gave me loads of ideas about where to find stories and how to develop them. It’s also given me lots of food for thought about my writing process and how to approach (and edit) stories. I really feel the course demystifies everything about short stories, from idea to submission, and I’m looking forward to polishing the stories I’ve written over the past few weeks and trying to find them a home in the world. Thanks, Jo and Sarah
…well, the best thing ever editing-wise. My novel’s been stuck in the doldrums for ages and I was losing heart, knowing it wasn’t right, but not knowing how to identify what was wrong, far less having a clue as to how to go about fixing it. But now I do, and that’s really exciting and invigorating. The course is clearly laid out in small, bite-sized chunks. It’s all really well signposted, so you know what you need to do every week, why you need to do it, and how to do it. It’s laid out in a logical order. It takes things one step at a time. It’s completely bargainous. Jo and Sarah are friendly and down-to-earth and they explain things in the way you would talk to your friends down the pub and not as if you’re in a university lecture. I really can’t fault the course, nor can I recommend it enough.
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£10. One month of single course access.
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