The Character Course is a unique writing course devised by novelist Jo-Anne Richards, scriptwriter Richard Beynon and psychologist Pierre Brouard.

The Character Course blends psychology and writing to create a four module plunge into the process of creating memorable and larger-than-life characters. It looks at the skills and insights needed to make these characters leap off the page.

This  course is available online and will be facilitated by Richard and Pierre.

Course Details

Building characters, be they real or fictional

  • How to create psychologically believable characters.
  • How to build a profile of internal and external characteristics that help us
    develop fully rounded characters.
  • How to generate backstories for your characters that help explain who
    they are, and why they do what they do.
  • Techniques that assist this process.
  • How each character’s traits indicate how they will respond to different
    situations and circumstances.
  • The differences and similarities between characters in fiction and
    nonfiction.
  • How real life characters can help this process, whether we’re writing fiction
    or nonfiction.
  • Exploring some aspects of your own backstory as an insight into the
    complexity and uniqueness of every character (note: the course will
    involve some personal sharing at your own comfort level).
  • Join us on our four module Character Development Course and learn to create complex, unforgettable characters.

Costs and booking details

Payment is possible via EFT in South African Rands – R 1 800 or via PayPal in US$ at the exchange rate on the day of invoicing.

Use this currency convertor to convert to other currencies.

To register for this course please contact us via email  – we’ll send you the booking form which includes payment details.

Jo-Anne Richards is a writer and lecturer in the Wits journalism department. Her novels include The Innocence of Roast Chicken, Touching the Lighthouse and Sad at the Edges. A new novel – My Brother’s Book – was released in April 2008. She has, over the past few years, run a number of writing courses and retreats: in journalism, narrative journalism and literary skills.

Richard Beynon is a television and film writer. A former journalist, he has conceived, shaped and written scores of documentaries. He managed the writing team at Isidingo for three years, as well as contributing over three hundred scripts to the series. He is currently a writer and generator of stories on the etv daily drama, Rhythm City. He has lectured on writing for film and television at Wits and together with Jo-Anne runs writing courses and retreats.

Pierre Brouard is clinical psychologist who has done everything from private practice, HIV counselling and training, managing counsellors in workplace settings and developing counselling resources, to being an agony uncle and blogging about life, love and relationships. He writes a blog in which he answers questions about the psychological make-up of characters and their motivations. Currently he is the deputy director of an AIDS NGO.

What the participants had to say

Jo-Anne, Richard and Pierre have an intimate, non threatening way of sharing their knowledge and I felt privileged to be in the group.  My writing has been on a back burner for so long and the course has inspired me to make the time to start living my passion again. Ronnie Whitaker

I loved the first exercise – the life graph. I think it was so simple yet so effective and really made the point of how we are shaped by our history very profoundly. I also loved the interviewing the partners to sketch a character part. I loved the exercise of developing the back story of a famous character. Judy Klipin

I enjoyed it tremendously. The theory and the examples  were excellent. And the fact that Pierre  adds the psychological background I found particularly enlightening. Merle Ruff

It felt like a fully conceived and well-researched course. The level of knowledge was high. They hold knowledge from study and experience which in invaluable. Great to learn from real-live writers who are actually doing it. Tessa Jubber

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