Your Cast of Characters

How to Populate Your Story with Just the Right Characters

Characters are the heart of every story. Without them, stories would be flat, boring, uninspiring. We read fiction to immerse ourselves in the lives of characters—their journeys and struggles, their hopes and failures. And when we go on these journeys, we long to be moved, even changed, by the characters we care about. If we’re lucky, we’ll gain some important insights about ourselves, our world, and those we share life with.

As fiction writers, our task, first and foremost, is to tell a great story. The challenge is to populate that story with a cast of characters that is exactly what’s needed to tell that story in the best way possible, whether we’re writing a play, a movie, a short story, or a novel.

But there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules or a road map laying out exactly how many characters a story should have or what type of characters or the roles each one should play. Too many characters, and a story can get bogged down and muddle the plot. Too few, and the story feels superficial or incomplete.

So how does a writer decide on her cast of characters? Are there some guidelines, at least, to help in that decision?

Yes, there are. And, in this course, you will learn all you need to know to create your cast of characters!

Here's some of what you'll learn in this extensive course:

  • What the basic types of characters are and what roles they play in a story
  • How your plot and premise inform the characters you develop
  • How to determine if a character is essential to your plot or just "filler"
  • What kind of supportive characters does your specific story need and how you can determine that
  • How to create characters that act as symbols
  • What archetypes are and how you can utilize them to create fantastic characters
  • How incidental characters can make or break your story
  • Why understanding character motivation is paramount

These video modules feature numerous excerpts from novels, movie clips, and deep instruction. In addition, you are given assignments to help you develop a great cast of characters, which you can download and do over and over as needed.


In addition to the intensive instruction in these video modules, you'll also have access to numerous video interviews with best-selling authors, who share their process in developing their cast of characters as well as give tips to authors on how to come up with great characters! These video interviews are not available anywhere else.

Don't guess how many characters your story needs. Don't just throw in random character types to fill out your novel or play or screenplay. This course will give you the guidance you need to make smart decisions about your cast of characters.

Your Instructor

C. S. Lakin
C. S. Lakin

C. S. Lakin is the award-winning author of thirty books and blogger at Live Write Thrive, a top-ten site for writers. She works as a book copyeditor and writing coach, specializing in manuscript critiques. Her writing craft book series The Writer's Toolbox teaches aspiring and experienced novelists how to write terrific stories. More than 5,000 writers have taken her online video courses over the last 10 years. She loves nothing more than to help writers craft stellar novels and experience success and joy in their writing journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts May 1, 2020 and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish. Note: you can enroll anytime before May 1, but you cannot access any of the modules until launch date. You'll be notified when the doors are open!
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.
Who should take this course?
Anyone interested in writing fiction! Regardless of your writing level or experience, learning how to craft great characters and populate a story is important to master, whether you are a beginning fiction writer or an experienced, seasoned novelist.

Get started now!