Character-Driven Story Development for Your Novel or Screenplay | Ellie Shoja | Skillshare

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Character-Driven Story Development for Your Novel or Screenplay

teacher avatar Ellie Shoja, Writer, Producer, Motivational Speaker

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      There's A Goal


    • 3.

      The Protagonist Has A Backstory


    • 4.

      The Protagonist Has A Flaw


    • 5.

      The Flaw Creates Conflict


    • 6.

      The Ally Provides Support


    • 7.

      Conflict Fuels The Antagonist


    • 8.

      The Flaw Becomes A Special Skill


    • 9.

      The Special Skill Creates Transformed Action


    • 10.

      Final Words


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About This Class

In this class we use character-driven insights to flesh out your story's three main characters:

  1. The Protagonist / Hero
  2. The Antagonist 
  3. The Ally

We use character-driven insights to achieve the following:

  • Identify the major components of your STORY. 
  • Define your Hero and understand his motives, goals, and limitations. 
  • Identify your Hero’s FLAW. 
  • Use this Flaw to create CONFLICT. 
  • Find your Hero’s ALLIES. 
  • Use the Hero’s Flaw as a SPECIAL SKILL.
  • Use the Special Skill to create TRANSFORMED ACTION.

By the end of this class, you will have a general understanding of the major beats in your story. This will give you a blueprint of your story so you can get started on writing your story without having to stare at a blank page.

You will know who your main character is, who his/her allies are, what problem your characters are trying to solve, what the main antagonistic forces are standing in their way, and what major conflicts they have to overcome. 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Ellie Shoja

Writer, Producer, Motivational Speaker


Ellie Shoja is an award-winning Writer, Producer, Motivational Speaker, and Podcast Host.

She is the founder of Embold Media and Peace Unleashed, and author of The 13th Planet, Your Heart Knows The Way oracle deck, Channeled Writing Journal. 

You can find Ellie on Instagram (@BraveEllie) where she shares daily insights and inspiration about writing and creativity.


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1. Introduction: Hello and welcome to character-driven storytelling, story development for your novel or for your screenplay. We can use what you learn in this class. Whether you're writing prose and a novel form, whether you are just creating stories for a children's book or for your, for the kids in your family. Or you are trying to write a screenplay, whether it's a TV pilot or it's a movie. A lot of cool things we're going to learn in this class. This class is perfect for you. If you're at the beginning stages of developing a story, you are trying to figure out who your protagonist is, your main character. You're trying to figure out what your protagonist's goals are, what problems that this person is trying to solve, where they want to end up at the end of the story. We're also going to talk about the protagonist allies. Who are these people who are helping your protagonist along the path of completing these goals. Finally, we'll also talk about the antagonists. So the antagonistic forces, who are the bad guys, who are standing in your heroes path? Who are the forces or rather what are the forces that are trying to keep your protagonist from reaching his goals? So if you're at the beginning stages of a story, whether you are a beginning writer, a beginner, complete novice writer, or you're a seasoned writer, you are going to be able to use the worksheets that I provide in this class to flesh out your story by looking at these three main characters. So your protagonist, who is your main character? This is the hero of your story. The eye. We'll talk about the term hero in just a moment. The Allies and this can be one or more people. And it can also be kind of like forces that are helping your protagonist as well. Then thirdly, the antagonist, the bad guys, the pupil getting in the way of your hero getting to his goals. But these can also be antagonistic forces, and we'll talk about that when we get to that module. I called your protagonist the hero. I want to address this real quick. Your protagonist is the main character of your story, is the character to whom the story is happening. Who's going through this journey? Who's going to be most changed? The journey of the story. This does not mean that your character has to be heroic. It doesn't mean your characters, superman or a firefighter or somebody who's like super good event. It can be a kind of an anti-hero. It can be someone who's doing bad things and hurting people. But if that's the case, we have to understand why. Because we cannot route for a character that we don't understand. We, as an audience, we will make allowances for a character who's behaving poorly. If we understand those choices, if we understand the pain that is underneath it may be or trauma that is fueling this action. And the goals that this character is trying to reach by taking these actions. Maybe this person is trying to truly save the one person on the planet that he loves. And maybe that one person on the planet that he loves is also con artist or as a murder or whatever. But they have this love and this bond between them. We have to be able to see that your character does not have to be heroic. Your main character does not have to be heroic. But he has to be sympathetic. We have to understand them. We have to feel sympathy for him, even if we don't condone his actions. That's why your protagonist, your main character, is your hero, even though he does not have to be a heroic character. All right, so with that disclaimer out of the way, what are you going to learn in this class? As I mentioned, there's a lot of worksheets, so every module is going to take us a little bit deeper into your story and we're going to use character to dive into these stories. So the worksheets, There's a worksheet for every single module that we're going to cover. And these worksheets are designed to help you understand who your main character is, your protagonist. What are your protagonist's goals? What's this person trying to Achieved throughout the storyline. We're going to understand who is helping your character get to these goals. So those are the allies. And again, who are these allies? The more we can understand the characters in the story, there are individual motivations. The more fleshed out the story can become. We're going to understand your characters, your main character's flaw. Your character has some kind of a wound, has some kind of a flower going to kind of dive into that. And we will use that flaw to create conflict. And we will use that flaw to fuel the antagonists actions against our hero and his allies or her Allies. Finally, we're going to use that flaw, that character flaw to see if we can pull out a special skill that your character has turned that into a different way for your character to respond and react to the world around him or her. And potentially take an uncharacteristic action that is rooted in the scale rather than the flaw that can potentially save the day. So by the end of this workshop, by the end of this class, if we do all of those worksheets that I'm going to share with you in this class. You are going to have a blueprint of your story from beginning to add with some of the major turning points fleshed out. Now, this is going to give you a good starting point to sit down and write your story without having to look at a blank page because you're going to have now a roadmap that we are developing with the help of these worksheets, I'm really excited to dive into your story and see what it's all about. And obviously, share your stories with me, share the aha moments with me as you go through this class. Your project at the end is going to be basically having that blueprints so that when you're sitting down with someone, you can tell them the story. You can tell who these characters are, what's going to happen, how he's going to prevail. You know, how your hero is going to finally prevail at the end and against all odds. And what are all of those odds that right? So we're going to flush all of that out. It's very exciting. And when you do share it down below in the comments, create a little project for yourself and put in your responses, at the very least, your major aha moments about your characters. Alright, I am so excited for you and I will see you in module one. 2. There's A Goal: Ride. Welcome everyone to Module one. In this module we are going to talk about your story. Something has to happen inside your story, otherwise, why are we watching it? The thing about your story is that this thing that needs to happen, needs to happen. And your main character is the person who can make this happen. So there is a problem that needs to be solved, and the only person who can solve it is your main character. This is why your main character is your main character. This is why the protagonist is the protagonist. Because whatever needs to happen, whatever problem needs to be solved for whatever goal needs to be achieved, can only be achieved by your protagonist. This is y, this is your central character. Something needs to happen. Some problem needs to be solved, some goal needs to be achieved. And your protagonist is the one who needs to do this. It's your protagonist job essentially to go through the journey of the story and solve that problem, reach that goal, and participate in this event that needs to take place. Now in your story, there's also forces, conflicts that are going to keep your character from reaching that goal. They're going to try to keep your character, your story from actually resolving itself entirely. Later in this class we're going to talk about those forces and right now we're just catching up on it a little bit. But your story essentially is you have a main character who has to do something, take action in order to solve a problem or try to reach some kind of a goal. He does this against all sorts of conflicting forces that are trying to keep him or her from actually doing that. That's basically the gist of your story. I want you to start writing right away. So these modules, they're gonna be somewhat short. I'm going to do as little talking as possible. I will give you a couple of examples so you kinda get a sense of what we're doing here. But I want you to dive into the worksheets because that's where the magic happens. You only have a few minutes to write. That's okay. All of these worksheets, you can do them in like 1015 minutes. So you can even set a timer if you want. But there are very short and sweet and to the point. So let me give you a couple of examples real quick. Let's say the movie airplane. You've seen airplane, it's a classic. It's been around forever. If you haven't seen it, definitely watch it. It's a lot of fun. But in the movie Airplane, an event has taken place, which is there's food poisoning on this plane. Everyone is sick, including the pilots. There's no one to fly this plane down safely. Everyone might die, right? So that is the premise of this movie. But there is on board Stryker, who is the main character of this movie it had Stryker is somebody who could fly this plane down. In the next chapter, we're going to dive a little bit into his backstory, but for whatever reason, he's not able to. So he's not able to. A lot of the conflict comes from his PTSD. He has PTSD from being in the Air Force years before. And in fact, he has not even been able to get on a plane. And the only reason he's on this plane is because his girlfriend Elaine, who was a stewardess, as finally leaving him and she has said to him that I'm not coming back. So he buys a one-way ticket, gets on this plane, and now there's a problem and he's the only person, he's the only person on the entire plane who could solve this problem of landing this plane down. Another example, The Lion King, light. We all loved the Lion King. What an amazing story. The main problem happens when this is all after the initial sequences when Simba is tricked into essentially getting his father killed, his dad tries to save him and he's tricked by his uncle to be where he didn't need to be. An almost get pummeled to death, but his dad comes and saves him. And then his dad gets pummeled to death and symbol fields all this guilt and he goes into a self-imposed exile. And then years later when he's a grown lion, Nala comes. He saves his friends from this lion S and then realizes that he knows her. Nose, her from Pride Rock where he used to live. And she tells him the problem. The problem is that, oh my gosh, your uncle took over this Pride Rock and he's ruling and he's a horrible ruler. And there's nothing of the old beauty that, that fossa had created. You need to come and take back this kingdom AND rule like you're supposed to. That's the only person who can do that as obviously symbol because he is the rightful heir and he's the lion who can go and challenge his uncle's rule. But is he going to do it? Is he not gonna do it? So those are the conflicting forces, but there's a problem. Pride Rock has essentially been destroyed under this new rulership leadership. And he is the only person who can do it. And he's, there are forces that are trying to keep him from doing that. In this module, what we are going to do together is you're going to download the, the worksheet for the first module, which is, there is a goal, it's called, there's a goal. You're going to download that and we're going to find out what the goal of your story is. What is your story? So in this, you're going to kind of in broad strokes, know who your main character is. We're going to talk about the problem that your main character is tasked with solving. What does your protagonist need in order to solve this problem? What obstacles stand in the way of your protagonist doing what he needs to do? Or she, What's at stake? What will happen? What will the protagonist lose if he's not able to solve this problem? So in the case of Ted Stryker with airplane, obviously everyone on board dies. With Simba, what's at stake? He's not gonna be able to get his kingdom back and his uncle continues to rule and he is essentially defeated. Once again, what's at stake? So you don't need to go too much in detail. I really recommend setting a timer for ten or 15 minutes at the most, 15 at the most. You don't want to give yourself indefinite amount of time because then you'll sit there and you'll try to think. The idea here is you want to pour this stuff out onto the page instead of 15 minute timer, that's it. And then just write as fast as you can and flesh this out as quickly as you can. That's going to be the key. Later on, after this class, you can dive back in and you can just kind of massage all of those details. But for now, 15 minute timer and right, I will see you in the next module. 3. The Protagonist Has A Backstory: Welcome back. Welcome back. First of all, if you did not do the worksheet for the first module, there is a goal. I need you to stop this video right now and go back. Go back and do that worksheets, set yourself a 15 minute timer and write that out. Write it out because we need that in order to continue on. So every module in this class builds on itself. You can't come here if you haven't done the work for the last one. And you can't go to module three if you haven't done the homework for this one. But I've made it really easy for you. I've made the worksheets so simple so that you don't really need a lot of time to do them. It's only 15 minutes if you have ten minutes, set a timer for ten minutes, but really you don't need more than 15 minutes. That's the maximum amount of time. And the videos are really short. I want these to be so that if you're doing one a day, literally in 30 minutes, you have watched the video, you have done the worksheet and you're done, you're done, you have succeeded. And within a week, you have your story fleshed out. And you can just start writing the details of it. Within a week. You're going to have a blueprint, I promise you that, but do the homework, do the worksheets. They're very important. They're very, very powerful. That disclaimer out of the way. Now we know what your main character has to do. We haven't spent too much time on who your main character is and what makes your main character the perfect person to solve this problem. That's what we're going to do in this module because there's a reason your main character is the absolute perfect person to solve this problem, to reach the school. And that reason is embedded and your character's backstory. Now there's these workshops that get you to write out every little detail of a character's backstory, like what happened when he was two years old and when he was three years old. And in the end when she did this and see that, I'm not a believer that you need any of that. I believe as a writer, that you need to know kind of the big points that pertain to the problem on hand, to the story that we're telling right now, there are some major broad stroke things that happened in your character's past that are relevant to the story that you're telling right now. And those are the details that you really should know about. Whether they come out in your story or not. That's irrelevant. But you should ask the writer, you should know about those details that, that are informing your character's actions in this moment of the story. Now let me give you a couple of examples that we've already given, the examples of airplane and the Lion King to kinda see what makes those characters the perfect person. And the example of airplane. Why is that Stryker, the perfect character, the perfect protagonist to go through the storyline? Well, because he was an Air Force pilot, he was a pilot. He absolutely knows how to fly these planes. But also what makes imperfect is that he's very reluctant to fly. He has some kind of PTSD from it. In fact, he has so much PTSD that he has spent all of his time after he came out of being in the Air Force, trying to avoid flying and trying to avoid any kind of responsibility altogether. So he is he's kind of traumatized by whatever happened. What happened we learned in the movie is that he made a decision that got his entire platoon killed. And he has this incredible guilt that he, that he has never been able to face. He has guilt, he has PTSD, he got his entire platoon killed. He feels responsible for that. So as a result, he has not been on a plane since then. He is avoiding responsibility at all costs. He's not able to keep a job. And all of that has led to him losing the one-percent that he really loves and cares about Elaine. His girlfriend of many years, who has basically stuck by him through all of these ups and downs and mostly downs. And now she has had enough. He's on this plane because he's trying to win her back. I mean, that's backstory is really quite wonderful. He's sets it sets him up to be the perfect person. Because honestly, if he was the kind of person who flies commercial airliners every other day and he doesn't have any trauma and he can't just get in there and fly the thing down. There would be no story, there would be no story. The pilots would be out. And then this new pilot would go in and he would fly the plane down. And that would be at what makes airplane really interesting and what builds. While there's other things that make you think mainly the millions of jokes in it. But the story of airplane is so solid because he is a person who has to overcome internal obstacles in order to succeed. Now let's look at the Lion King. Lion King. Simba, at the young age is tricked into believing that he's responsible for his father's death. He too has this incredible amount of guilt that he is living with. And he's basically told by his uncle, this person close to him, whom he trusts. He's told by this person it would be best if you went away. It would be best if you went away. This poor little pup is guilt read it and he goes away because, because he can't face his, his own crime of getting his father killed. He has so much guilt about it. So he goes away. He goes on the self, a self-imposed exile. And why is he the perfect character? Because now he has to work through that guilt. He has to now also worked through the guilt of abandoning his family and so forth in order to come back. It's not so easy for someone who has gone into exile for all these years to come back and try to do something different. So also he's the perfect character because he is the son of mu fossa. He is the rightful heir. He is the only person who can come and really challenge that rain. And people would be really excited to follow him and support him. This worksheet, you're going to download it, it's called the protagonist has a backstory. We're going to find out who your protagonist is. More detail. So you're gonna find out what's your protagonist gender. How old is your protagonist? What is the backstory? And again, you guys, I don't need you to figure out all of the details, all the different little story beats and that protagonist's life, just the broad brushstroke, the main points that pertain to this particular story. Think of it when you're watching a TV series. And they want to do a recap of what happened in previous episodes. They only show you the relevant scenes that pertain to the, to what the story that you're about to see in this episode. They just want to tell you, oh, an episode to this person said this in episode five, we found out that this person was backstabbing the other one. And now in episode ten, something about these two characters, these two events is going to come to a head. That's, those are the types of details that we want. Simba was tricked into believing that he was responsible for his dad's death. Touch striker made a decision that got his entire platoon killed. So we just need to know why. It is difficult for this character to do the thing he needs to do. What's your protagonist backstory? Where were they born? You can get into that if you want to. I put some stories, some questions here to kind of trigger your thoughts. But how did they get to where they are now? And again, you want to be very specific to the storyline. Just few details that are irrelevant. We want to also get a sense of your protagonist temperament. What kind of a person is this character? What is his or her personality like? What are they like? What would how would a close friend describe them? And how would someone who just met them, describe them? And how does their enemy describe them? Somebody who really doesn't like them, it doesn't have to be an enemy. But how does somebody who dislikes this first described this person? We are trying to now also get into, is this person like, what would it be like to kinda hang out with this person if you're a friend, if you're an acquaintance or if you're somebody who really don't like that, pull some of those character traits out and up again. 15 minute time limit for yourself. Quickly without thinking just right. You don't need to get it right right now. You just need to get it onto the page right now. When you do that, I promise you things will flow out that you maybe didn't think of. You unlock the part of your brain that is thinking more creatively rather than more critically. Because when you have too much time, you go into the critical thinking mode. We don't want that, we want the creative thinking mode all the way. This is your first draft. This is the first time you're flushing the story out. So give yourself that space, 15 minute timer. Download that worksheet and write right now. And I will see you in the next module. 4. The Protagonist Has A Flaw: Welcome back to character-driven story development. We are starting to cook now we are starting to get to the really good sweet spot. So again, if you have not done the last two worksheets, pause this video right now and go do them. Don't skip the homework. This is why you're here. You're here because you want to write and I've made it easy for you to write. So all you need is 30 minutes a day. That includes watching the video and also doing the worksheet, the worksheet, 1015 minutes at tops. And then you have your story fleshed out in just a week. So don't skip it, you guys, this is this is for you. This is for you. Don't try to look ahead. What's next, you're going to get to it. It's going to be quick, it's going to be easy. I promise you that the worksheets are going to lead you through it. Then when you're done doing this class for just one week and figured out your story. You have these worksheets forever. You can always come back to them and you can always use them to flesh out your story without watching the videos 15 minutes a day. That's it. So don't skip it. If you skipped it, go back to it now and then let's just continue on. We now know what the goal of the story is, what needs to be accomplished for the story. We know who your characteristic, we know who you are, we know who your main character or protagonist is, and we know why your protagonist is the perfect person to solve this problem, to get us to the final goal, the final destination of the story. We know why. We also know that the character has some things within him that are keeping him from accomplishing this goal. That something is your character's flaw. It's a flaw, it's a wound. Your main character needs to have it. Your main character cannot be perfect because nobody wants to watch a story that is about somebody who's flawless. None of us as humans is flawless. We are flawed beings. We, we are creatures that make mistakes. And so we want to it see that when we're, when we're listening to stories, when we're watching stories, when we're reading books, we want to see a character who struggles the same way that we struggle and we want to route for them. You want them to persevere, we want them to reach that goal. Despite this flaw, the flaw has to be there. Your character might be arrogant. The flaw can be something like that. It can be defensiveness. It can be the unwillingness to listen to guidance. It can be listening to all the guidance and doing what everybody wants you to do. It can be anger, something emotional, fear, debilitating fear, depression. It can also be diagnosed or undiagnosed mental condition that your character, that your main characters struggles with. Your protagonist might have OCD, he or she might have multiple personality disorder. There have been some really great storylines about those. Might be that they have severe social anxiety or PTSD or bipolar disorder or anything like that. Or it can be just like a personality thing. In the last worksheet, the question that said, what has happened in this person's life that makes it difficult for them to solve the problem or reached the goal. The flaw could be, doesn't have to be, but somehow could be rooted in that event. Maybe something happened that made your character kind of like tense up, made your character react in a certain way and shut down in a certain way. Maybe that's what happened. Or maybe the flaw is rooted within the personality of your character. Whatever it is, we want to flush that out because the flaw is such a rich well, for your story beats. Once you know what your characters struggles with, what your hero struggles with, then we can have so much fun with your hero. We can make life so difficult for him or her and therefore make your stories so much more interesting. Okay, so we've got to flush that out in this module. Have so much fun with us. You guys. So in our examples, an airplane, the pet striker, his flaw is that he has PTSD from this experience of going to war and getting his entire platoon killed because of a decision he made. He has PTSD and he is he's not able to work through that. He's not able to push through that. He has never been able to kinda like look at and forgive himself for that. Then this event keeps haunting him. In the Lion King. On the other hand, it might seem kind of similar because he also has a lot of guilt. Simba has a lot of guilt for potentially getting his dad killed, right, and then going into exile. But I kind of see his flaw more as he is too weak. Simba is more willing to listen to other people then to himself. He doesn't have what mu fossa had, which is this conviction in his own voice and in his own ability to lead. Symbol does not have that. He's not a leader. He is weak and he's willing to take the easy way out, which is I'm just going to go and disappear for awhile or forever. And I'm just gonna like, Lottie daddy dog go through life. Like I have no worries and my entire life, right. So he's not willing to face reality if it's uncomfortable and he's not willing to look inward to find his own strength. He's willing to listen to other people. So those are kind of like the main flaws, the things that they will have to overcome in order to solve this problem. But those flaws get in the way of them doing like Simba being a weak character, who needs to step up and be a leader. That's really interesting. So how can this character then overcome that weakness within himself and become the leader? We're going to get into those things. I'm getting a little bit ahead, but this is where we're leading to, right? But we're gonna get into those things in later modules. But first we have to kind of understand what the character's flaw is. What you're gonna do in this exercise. You're going to define that flow. What is my protagonists flaw? How does this flash show up in the protagonist relationships? How does it show up in the storyline? Why is this flaw something that is keeping your character from reaching the goal of the story, of solving the problem of the story. I have a couple of questions here in the exercise that are going to prompt you into creating more story. Because here's what happens. Your character feels something. Then based on that emotion, your character reacts, takes action. That emotion fuels the action. Then that action makes other characters feel a certain way about your character. It also makes your character feel a certain way about himself, but it also feels action by other people, by other characters, ancillary characters. This relationship between the emotion and the action is something that is always present in your storyline. In the worksheet, you're going to have opportunity to say, Okay, so how does keeping this flaw in mind? Something happens in the character's life. So the example of Simba, keep in mind his flaw of weakness, his inability to kind of look at himself for his guidance and needing the guidance from outside of him. The event happens, which as he's tricked into essentially getting his dad killed, this event takes place. So keeping in mind his flaw, how does similar respond emotionally to this event? Emotionally, he responds with o chagrin with guild with shame. Because of that, how does, how do other characters respond to him while scar, it takes advantage of that. He says, Oh, yeah, you should feel guilty and in fact you should go into exile. How does he respond to that? He feels even worse. Emma fields even worse. And then he makes the worst decision, which has he goes into exile. He abandons his family at a time when they, when they really need someone, he abandons them. That essentially creates the problem that then needs to be solved. So something happens in your storyline. Keeping the flaw of your character in mind. How does your character respond or react emotionally? What are the emotions that are triggered within your character? Keeping in mind that this flaw is active within your character. Then how does that make other people react to or respond to your main character? We're now starting to use these character, kind of these characteristics, the personality traits that your characters have, and create actual story around it. Set your timer for ten minutes, 15 minutes max, somewhere between ten to 15 minutes, whatever you have. And do the worksheet, you're going to download this worksheet as modules three. Your protagonist has a flaw. That's the worksheet that you are working on right now. Go do it now. And I will see you in module four. 5. The Flaw Creates Conflict: Welcome back. Okay, Hey, are you starting to see your story kind of taking shape? You know what your stories conflict is. What I mean, I should say what those stories goal is. What the problem is that your stories trying to solve, you know who your main character is, your protagonist, the hero of your story. You know why? Your protagonist is the person who's going through the storyline, you know that, and you also know what flaw is constantly in the way of your hero, your protagonist, reaching this goal. So all really great story beats can be developed out of all of these knowing all of this stuff. And in fact, in the last worksheet, we even started to kind of flush out some of these story beats. We gave your character and event that happens early on in the storyline. And then keeping your character's flaw in mind. We had him react emotionally or her react emotionally and then take action. And then how does that actually make the other characters feel? And maybe even what do they do in response, in reaction to that action, emotion. So that emotion, action, emotion action is going to keep coming back. We're not gonna be able to really take full advantage of that if we don't know who our characters are and what their emotional makeup is and what triggers them. Those triggers that make us in real life kind of unpredictable and go crazy. You know, those are the things we really love in our characters because it makes our stories more interesting when we understand what is the thing, what is the thing that's triggering this character? What is the thing that's making this character react rather than respond in an emotional way and then those actions, so lots of good stuff already. Now we're going to go even deeper because here's the thing. Your character's flaw creates. Conflict. If you know that your characters and secure, then you want to put them in situations that makes them feel insecure. Situations where he has to kind of like show up with confidence. Otherwise, why are we watching this? Why are we listening to the story? We want your character to overcome those things. With that, we also need to see how your character is not capable of doing certain things. So that when the character finally does overcome and when that flaw finally is turned into something productive for him, that then we're like, Oh my gosh, she asked victory and maybe I2 as the viewer, as an audience member, maybe i2 can overcome my flaws, my wounds, and he'll take those courageous actions. We look at stories. I believe, because of our human condition, are individual human condition. We look at stories because we want to know that we can succeed in our lives. The characters, the main character of a story teaches us, shows us that it is possible so we can kind of feel inspired with that. Flock creates conflict. You already know what your character's flaw is. What makes your character really uncomfortable. You know what triggers your character, you know what, what sort of actions your character might take when they feel this way. Now, it's time to push, to push your character, your main character or protagonist. It's time to push your protagonist to their breaking point. Because let's face it, we don't actually want to improve in life unless we have hit rock bottom. So we want that protagonist to hit rock bottom. We want there to be no other way out. We want them to have their back have them backed up into a corner. Like I have them backed up to the ledge of other cliff. And the only way out is for them to jump off that fricking clefts. So we want to get them to that point because most people, most of us will not take those actions, will not actually even face the flaw. We're not going to heal the wound. We're not going to dig deep into ourselves enough to be able to pull out the strength through all of that fog of whatever the flop and our character two is human, so he's not gonna do it. He or she is not gonna do it. They're not going to just A step-up and heal and overcome their not. So we have to give them reason to do that. We have two corner them. This worksheet is going to be fun. It's gonna be really fun because you're going to brainstorm all of the ways things can go wrong for your character. So all of the ways keeping your character's flaw in mind, what is the worst possible thing that can happen to your character? So in the case of airplane, again, wherever we are using airplane and Lion King as examples here to vary their friend movies, but interestingly, similar character is going through them. So in the case of airplane, what's the worst possible thing that can happen? The plane is going to nose dive. It's going to nose dives. Its, everyone on board is gonna die. The pilots are sick, they're out, the autopilot doesn't work. It's not going to land the plane. There's nobody literally not a single other person on this planet who can land this plane safely. And even striker may not be able to land this plane, but he is the final, final hope. My goodness. What's he going to do? What is he going to do? Is he gonna be able to get out of his own way to land this plane? Or is he going to just be consumed by his crippling anxiety to the point of not being able to do anything and everybody dies. Worst thing that can happen. What's the worst thing that can happen in the Lion King? It's scar takes over and destroys this, is that his new fossa symbols dad had built. And he's abusing his mother, is abusing his mother of God. He's just abusing all the, all the subjects or the people or the animals. But like all of these people that symbol loved and loved growing up, but he's abusing everyone and he's just horrible. And he is the only hope, he's the only hope for a character who is kind of weak, who doesn't know how to lead and doesn't want to lead. He's even a follower when he is with his buddies. He's not even a leader with them. Bugs with them instead of being, being a leader. So this character is not a leader, he is not strong, he's nothing. I have the ability to activate that, that power even loses two Nala little wrestling match, right? So he's weak. But this character is the one who has to kinda like find his own source of power within himself and overcome his own weakness in order to, in order to win, in order to win back his, his father's kingdom. The worst thing that can happen to him is that he is an exile that the people he loves are being abused. That he's kinda like being pushed to this place of, well, now you're weak, but now you are edging toward cowardice. How are you going to look at yourself if you don't step up? What's going to happen if you don't break through those insecurities within yourself. That that question is always looming. That question is always living. It's looming for strikers living for symbols. So now it's your turn. You're going to download the worksheet called the flaw, creates conflict. And set your timer for 15 minutes, ten to 15 minutes, that's all you need. Don't put down your pad. Don't say aside, don't think. Just right, just answered the questions. Remembering your protagonist's flaw, what is the worst thing that can happen? What's the worst thing that can happen? That's going to essentially push effort agonist to the edge. Corner damp, push them to that edge so they have to jump off. How does this make, how does this event that happened? How does it make your protagonists feel? What does your protagonist want to do? Not? What do they do? What did they want to do? What does he want to do? And you want to know what's the consequence of doing what your protagonist actually wants to do. So keep the flaw in mind. Then we're gonna get into what does your protagonist has to do? What does he have to do in order to solve? At this point, your protagonist does not have the tools yet in order to do what needs to be done, what is being asked of him to do. But what he wants to do, Simba doesn't want to go back. He just wants to hide. Striker doesn't want to fly that plane. He actually goes to the back of the plane and he sits down and says, following in his own misery, He's like, I don't want to do this, I don't want to do this. What they want to do is very different than what needs to happen, what they need to do. We want to really, in this exercise, you want to show the GOP between what's natural for your character, for your protagonist. What is the thing that they actually just want to do in this moment? And what they need to do if they were going to solve this problem. Now what they need to do, they're not ready to do yet. But this is what is being asked of them. What is being asked of them to do that they are uncomfortable with at this point. Set your timer, download the worksheets, set your timer and go do it. I will see you in the next module. There you go. 6. The Ally Provides Support: Welcome back. We are officially halfway through this lesson, this class. Halfway through you guys. I'm so proud of you for doing this work. I bet you're excited about your story at this point. If you've been doing the worksheets, you must be really enthralled and really excited about your story because I bet you, you are seeing it take shape. You're getting to see your protagonist. You're getting to see what his or her flaws are, what the conflict is, what the goal is. You're starting to really flesh all of this out. And how much fun is that this is such a, such a good time we're getting into the really fun, cool stuff. The next thing we want to do is we actually want to give your protagonist a little bit of support. Because if we just keep getting the world, hitting us, telling us, hitting us, we don't have anywhere to go. We keep getting cornered by the world. And we don't have the means to look inward and see where to even look to resolve this flaw, to turn our fly into skill which is coming, I promise you that is coming in the future and the future modules. But if we don't get kinda like support and guidance, there's a chance your protagonist is just gonna get buried underneath all of this conflict and not actually do that work. Not transcend, not pushed through, not learn the lesson, not heal the wound, not turn that flaw into special skill. We want to give your protagonist a little bit of support. We need to find who your protagonist allies are. Allies, who are these people? These are the people who show up. I kind of key moments. Or maybe they've been present through the entire thing. But some of them show up at key moments and they provide some insight that helps your protagonist's see the situation in a different way. Some of these allies are forces that have been present and providing support in some way along the way. But there's going to be one character, one person who is going to tip the thinking of your protagonist in such a way that he starts to see the entire situation through new, new eyes. I'll give you a couple of examples here. The airplane story that Stryker PTSD, all this stuff, his flaws we know the needs to do. We also know that he doesn't want to do it and he feels inadequate. His allies, who are his allies? Elaine as an ally because she loves him, even though she's disappointed in him, even though she's leaving him. She is a supporter of his because she loves him. The character played by Robert Stack, who is the captain, they wake up, they bring in to help him land the plane. He's an ally even though he doesn't like him. But he realizes that, that strikers the only person who might be able to land this plane. So I'm going to provide support for him. But the character who really flips that switch inside that strikers head is The Doctor Who speaks to him. The Leslie Nielsen character. When Ted Stryker says, I can't do this and goes and sits in the back of the plane wallowing in his own misery. The doctor remark, he comes to him and he says, Hey, listen, I, I, I met with Captain zip, who was the captain in strikers platoon. We know by now who basically died because of strikers decision. His entire platoon including the captain diets. So he says I talked to zip before he died. And he said basically that Ted striker had made the absolute right call. So that's a piece of the puzzle that Ted striker did not have before. And that's a thing that makes him kind of like see this situation, see his situation differently. So he's been guilt ridden this entire time, all these years because he thought that he made the wrong call. He thought he made a mistake. He thought he should have if he had just acted differently, all these people. That he cared about would be still alive. But here is this doctor who saw Captain zip before his death and says, yeah, Zip said you made the right call. Big pivotal moment for him. The Lion King. What happens is symbol. Doesn't know if he can. He's like, he doesn't know if he can kinda go back, doesn't have what it takes. And refi key takes him to the reflecting pool where Simba is able to see his father, a spirit. And his father's spirit tells him to remember who he is. He shows him that move fossa spirit lives within him. He shows him his own reflection, first of all, that you are a lion, even though you feel weak and even though you feel like you're not a leader, look at yourself. Look at what you are. You are this majestic creature. Then he's able to kind of see and hear his father's voice telling him, remember who you are, remember who you are. That's like in that moment is when Simba starts to see his situation a little bit differently, he starts to see himself a little bit differently and maybe, maybe discover that he's not as weak as he thinks himself to be or as he shows up. Who are your characters, LI's, how are they supporting your main character or protagonist? We gotta give him or her a little bit of support here. It's hard enough to go through this journey with that flaw, with those emotions. We got to give your character a little bit of support here. Who are these people? By the way, other allies for Simba are obviously Nala, it's tomato and Puma, right? So these are other characters who are there to support him on this journey. But it is really peaky who creates that moment for him to change his perspective. You're going to download this worksheet. It's called the Ally provides support. I said the ally as in singular, but there can be more than one if you just have one character providing support, that's okay. But if you have multiple characters, That's wonderful to see if you can differentiate between the characters. How are they providing support? What is the support that they provide? And also see if you can find that one character. It might just be a wise guy. A garden gnome who just says one sentence, Sierra character, what, what is, what is that 11 character who provides kind of an aha moment for your protagonist that changes, shifts. So what is that moment of shift that happens inside your protagonist's mind? And it doesn't have to be necessarily a positive thing. Maybe a character who thought grew up in some kind of captivity being raised by this character learns that she was stolen from her real parents by this character who raised her. And what does that knowledge kinda like due to her, like her motivation. What does the knowledge gained in that pivotal moment due to the, to your main character's motivations and the way they think of themselves and think of the situation and how they show up. Now one quick note about your allies, your characters allies. If you can find one character who is the most unlikely person, who would help your character out, your hero out. That relationship in and of itself could be really interesting. And think of a show like Breaking Bad. Walter White is a broke chemistry teacher and he wants to cook math in order to make it a little bit of extra money. And who is the most unlikely ally he might find is Jesse is a student delinquent. They don't even have a good relationship with each other. But that dynamic can be also really, really interesting. So we don't have that super worst possible match kind of a thing, an airplane or in the Lion King. But that dynamic is so interesting. If you can find an ally who is a very unlikely match, who's the least likely person who might help your hero out and the situation. Then it can kind of like catapult, you know, that different perspective for your character as well, because your protagonist looks at the word world in a very specific way. And this ally who is very different from your protagonist is going to look at the world in a completely different way. So that can also be a way to kind of start shifting your, your protagonists perspective about himself and about the world. But by challenging the way he's been doing things in the world though. And also we then get all of these other questions of our day going to actually get along and are they going to kill each other? Are they going to have this big blowouts? You know, how are they going to manage the relationship with each other as they try to work towards this goal of solving the problem of the entire story. Your protagonist and the ally don't have to be very friendly with each other either. Robert Stack character and airplane is not very friendly toward striker. He actually doesn't think he can do it, right. But, but he is willing to help him because the goal, they unite on the level of trying to solve the problem of the story together. As you're, as you're looking at the Allies, definitely ask yourself that question. Who is the least likely person who might help? Why would that person helped them, right? So it's, it's another way to add another layer of interest, intrigue, drama, attention to your storyline. Really fun stuff, cool thing here to do. Kind of a big topic. But still 15 minutes, that's all you need. Download that worksheet. The Ally provides support, set your timer for 15 minutes, and then get writing. And I will see you in the next module. 7. Conflict Fuels The Antagonist: Welcome back. By now, you know what the problem of your story is. What needs to happen for this problem to be solved. Your main character is what your main character is like. What your main character's flaw is. You know, some of the major conflicts that stand in the way of your main character and probably some really fun stuff if he did that exercise and brainstorms. And you also gave your main character one or more allies to help him or her get through this story and move to the resolution. Like get him to do the things that need to be done in order to solve the problem of your story. Alright, so now let's talk about antagonistic forces. Site from the character's own flaw. There are other forces outside of your character who are trying to outside of your main character. I keep saying character. I mean your main character, outside of your main character, they keep trying to stop that person, stop your protagonist from getting to the conclusion, from solving the problem. Okay, So these are what I call the antagonistic forces. Now the antagonistic forces can be an antagonist. It can be an individual or a organization or a group of individuals that, that for whom the solving of the problem with actually be a problem. They don't want this problem that our hero has to be solved because that would be a problem for that, right? So they, they are trying to get in the way of the problem of the story from getting solved. This can be an individual, it would be an antagonist. Now, the antagonist force can also be a force of nature, an airplane. The antagonist stick force is that the plane is crashing. The antagonistic force is the food poisoning that has, that has incapacitated the pilots and a lot of the passengers. It's time. The antagonistic force is time as well because it's very time-sensitive. These people need to be taken to the hospital or else they're going to die if the crash doesn't kill them. There's all of these forces that are outside of the character himself. But it's not a person. It's not a bad guy who poisoned everybody on the plane. That's not the case. And airplane. The antagonistic forests can be the flaw of the character. So it's that PTSD that had striker has his panic panic attacks, has an ability to actually sit and fly the plane down. That's also an antagonistic force. And Lion King, the antagonist sick forests as an individual, it's scar, It's the ankle. It's the person who's schemed to get mu fossa and also his son out of the way so he can be the ruler, so he can rule this land. That, that is a case when we have a very clear antagonist that we are working against. Really important thing to kind of internalize. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I read a story. And the antagonist is just absolutely two-dimensional. It's like why is this person doing what they're doing? Just to get in the way of the protagonists like that, I think makes for a very shallow, two-dimensional, uninteresting story. A character who's just pure evil is not an interesting character. Now, if you can find out why the antagonist is doing what he's doing. Now, the antagonist becomes relatable. We don't need to it agree with what the antagonist is doing, but we need to kind of understand why he's doing what he's doing. And if we can do that, if we can have at the very least sympathy for the antagonist, then I think it makes the story so much more interesting. The story of dune. There's nobody more unlikable than the heart kinins. These are, these are just really horrible people who just kill at will and one to take over planets and destroy. They destroy our favorite characters. They kill the good guys, but these are really evil guys. But I love the writing of Dune. I love how much we kinda get into the mindset of them. These are people who are bred and raised in this kind of environment of fear. And ultimately, what they want is not very different than what anybody else wants. But they value manipulation. They value power. They want to be on the throne. They want to a kind of get wealth and so forth. But their moral compass is so skewed over generations of being raised in a way that I think one of the characters, by the time he's 17 years old, he has already killed hundreds slave gladiators and battle. And the way the battles work is that the slave gladiators are literally drugs. So they become kinda easy target. And it's all about this bravado of showing off and doing this, this kill. I mean, what does that do to a person? The time there's 17, their entire value structure has been based on, can you kill these other beings have no value. There is this dehumanization that happens systematically within their culture. So just understanding these things about them makes them a lot more interesting. You you don't condone it. You don't think they are good guys by any weeds. But he kinda understand why somebody would become that vicious and brutal. They literally have the humanity bred out of them. And that's, that makes such a more interesting villain than somebody who is just evil for the sake of being evil. Understand their motivations. This exercise conflict fuels antagonist. The antagonist. I've split the questions up between the antagonist as a person, the antagonist as the flaw within the character as an antagonistic force, and then the environment as an antagonistic force. So you'll answer questions about each one of those things. And if you can combine two or more of these three elements, it'll make your story even more interesting. If the character, like in Simba in Lion King, he's faced with the antagonistic force. I'm sorry, the antagonist like forests of his own internal flaw plus the antagonist of scar. That makes a very interesting combination. In airplane. There's the antagonist stick force of the environment, things outside of his control, plus the antagonistic force of his own flaw makes it a lot more interesting. Now if you can combine two or more of these things, you'll, you'll, you'll have a lot more fuel or really raw material for creating interesting conflict for your, for your main character to overcome. Download the worksheet. It's called Conflict fuels and tap antagonist. The antagonist section. We want to know who your antagonist is. What's your antagonist goal? Here's the other thing. Your antagonists has a goal. Your antagonist is the hero of his own story. We're telling a different story. If we were telling the story in which your antagonist is the hero, we would be in their story and then your current protagonist would be their antagonist. So you got to understand what the story is that your antagonist is it for the heart commands. And Dune, this story that they are in is they want control over a racket so they can control, control the spice. The story again that the emperor is and is that the treaties are getting too much power. So the Emperor and Dune, I don't know if you've read this book. It's fascinating. But the emperor and Dune once to kind of it's in his benefit if they're treaties kind of fall because they're gaining too much popularity with the other great houses. So the two goals of the two different antagonists come together. By the emperor giving dune to the heart can add to the treaties as the symbol and then giving the heart convince his support to go kill the treaties. This new planet. I mean, really interesting, right? So each one of those antagonists has a different goal, different reason. But there, if the story of dune was about the, about their goals, their combined goal would be the fall of the treaties. They would be allies of each other. You could tell that story with the emperor as the hero or with the Hopkins as the hero. And then the treaties would be their combined enemy. They would be the antagonist for them. But the story is about Paula treaties who survives those attacks, blah-blah-blah. And brings Iraq his back. Tries to bring basically joined the frame and together to avenge his dad and take Iraqis back. But then he becomes the hero. They become the antagonists. But by understanding their motivations, the story becomes so much more detailed, so much more interesting. And we just want to know more about what they're gonna do because they become real people, they become real forces. What is your antagonist school really understand, get into your antagonist. Said, if this movie was about them as heroes, what would be their goal? Why is it important to them to stop the protagonist of your story? What is at stake for them? The same way that there is something at stake for your protagonist. If he or she fails, there's something at stake for them. If they fail, if your protagonist succeeds, what's your antagonist willing to do to stop your protagonist? Now again, depending on who they are, who they're gonna be doing different things. In dune, the heart canons are willing to do anything. They're willing to suppress the planet that they are ruling, they're willing to kill, they're willing to cheat, they're willing to do all sorts of stuff. The emperor is not willing to do those things because he doesn't want to get his hands dirty. But he was willing to help the heart cannons kind of overthrow the treaties, provide their killing forces to fight alongside the heart and hands. But he was willing to do it secretly and secret. As long as it didn't get out, he was willing to do that. So what, what is each, what are they willing to do? What is width in their individual kind of moral, within their individual morality and what they think is okay for them to do that very important question. Now if the antagonist stick force is the flaw, how does your protagonist's flaw work against him or her? What does your protagonist do to make matters worse? There's always something video to make matters worse. If you can make things really bad, then, then it becomes even more interesting when the protagonist finally solve, solves the problem. Then the environment. As an antagonistic force. How does nature or the environment work against the protagonist? We talked about the airplane scenario, the food poisoning of that stuff. What happens? That seems outside of your protagonist's control that makes matters worse. So go answer these questions. Set your timer for 15 minutes, that's all you need and keep writing until your timer goes off. Then I will see you in the next module. We only have a few laughed, so let's make these, Let's make these count. I'm looking forward to hearing your stories do by the way. All right, I'll see you in the next module. Bye. 8. The Flaw Becomes A Special Skill: Welcome back. We only have two more educational modules left, so let's make these work. So far we have done so much and I'm so excited to hear your story, to share them with me, create a project, share your story, sharing your aha moments here, the parts that you're really proud of and share the parts where you have questions about. Let everybody know, let me know and everyone else who is participating in this class, let us know how these worksheets have helped you flesh out your story. I'm so excited to read more about what you're doing. Having said all of that, we are really fun territory now. We have your character of your storyline. You know what problem needs to be solved in your story. Your protagonist, why your protagonist is the right person? What is also keeping your protagonist from solving this problem? All of those internal, external forces that are keeping your protagonist from solving the problem. Also, all of that fun, fine conflict that is, in the way, all of the things that the antagonistic forces are doing to get in the way of this problem being solved. All that fun stuff creates really cool story beats for you. Now, let's talk about the flaw. Let's talk about the flop a little more deeply. The flaw that your character has is the thing that your character has been struggling with. But what if the flaw is actually tied to your characters superpower? What if the thing that your character feels the most amount of shame around the thing that makes your characters suffer the most is also the very thing. That is your character salvation. And isn't that how it works in real life? Absolutely. We teach what we need to learn. We, the thing that makes us suffer the most is the thing that holds the key to our own personal power. That's how it works individually for us as we go through life. And it's also how it works for your character as your character, as your main character or protagonist goes through his or her life. And more specifically, tries to solve this problem. For the story that you are telling. The flaw becomes a special skill, it becomes a superpower of sorts. What does that mean? That means, for example, in Breaking Bad, the flaw of Walter White is his selfishness. Selfishness throughout the show becomes a superpower. His ability to survive, his ability to just find new ways to survive. Now I have to say, as we're watching shows, as we're watching movies, it's really powerful when your character faces the flaw. And the skill, the special skill that comes out of that flaw is something positive. And that helps your character to heal that wound and transcend through that flaw and become a better person. That's really a wonderful story to tell. We want to route for characters who grow in some way and become better people by the end of the story. It doesn't have to be that way. By the way is your character's arc. You start somewhere with the flaw. And you would be, your character would be taking certain, certain actions because of this flaw. And then by the end of the story, your character has gone through all of this turmoil and the conflicts and this, and that, and then with the help of the Allies, has become a different person who sees himself or herself in a different way, in a different light and understands their flaw and a wound in a different way, and therefore can respond to the world around them in a different way, in a new way, the flaw transforms into a special skill. I was just saying about the positive and the negative. So if your character becomes worse, like someone like Walter White. In Breaking Bad, he same thing happened to him. He started with a flaw of selfishness. And then that flaw in every episode was played out as the special skill of his ability to save himself, his survival instincts, his ability to kind of find new cunning ways to get on top. So he's kind of like failing up word even though he's becoming a worse and worse human being along the way, his morality becomes more and more muddied. He lets Jesse's girlfriend die because she was inconvenient to him. I mean, that's a huge, huge kind of character TurningPoint. It's where his selfishness becomes this superpower for survival and for his own gain to the point of letting someone die, letting somebody who pretty, pretty, pretty crappy thing. It becomes worse and worse. But we continue to watch Breaking Bad. We can't stop watching Breaking Bad. Why? Because we understand this character. Remember I said, if you're gonna have your hero be an anti-hero, if you're gonna have him be somebody who does bad the things with bad consequences. If you're gonna have that, that's fine, you can do that. But we have to understand why your character is doing that, right? So he, Walter White, he genuinely, genuinely believes he's doing the right thing and he is doing the right thing for him. He's not doing the right thing for anybody else, but he's doing the right thing for him. And we have to understand this character and know his motivations and know what is important to him at so that we can have sympathy for him even though we hate what he's doing. We have to feel like, Oh my gosh, I understand why he's doing this. Even though we hate it, even though we're like, I can't believe he did that. I can't believe you let that poor girl die because she was inconvenient. That's a horrible thing. But we understand why he does it. Very important. A lot more satisfying, a lot more satisfying for the viewer. When your character actually becomes your main character, your protagonist's actually becomes a better person. Along the way. Let's take the example of the Lion King. Simba is a weak character. He's a weak link. He's listening to other people. You can't make up his own decisions. He's a follower. And how does that weakness turn into his special skill? Because once he realizes that he is a lion and he has to do this thing, he has to go back and, and confront his uncle and go back and face the family and the people that he has abandoned. His weakness turns into his ability to have compassion, to have empathy. Even when he pounds his on scar and he's angry, he can't get himself to actually kill his uncle, he believes and the goodness that is somewhere underneath as uncle, uncles facade, he believes in the goodness of people and we realize that he symbol has this ability to freak, not like forgive and forget, but to see the goodness and people to have empathy for other beings. And what an incredible kind of characteristic is that for a leader who's also strong and is willing to stand up his, he stands up to his uncle. He wants his rooting for scar, to reform himself, to come out of his evil ways, and to kind of show himself as somebody worthy of saving. What does scar do? He just basically goats him or angers him even more. So the point that symbol throws him into the hyenas and the hyenas finish him off. Because, why? Because scar is going to do what scar does. He's going to throw the hyenas, his allies, under the bus, trying to save his own neck. Characters acting within character for themselves, and Simba acting within character for himself. His weakness turns into the ability to lead with compassion and lead with the kind of the desire to help people overcome their own, their own militia. Now, it's your turn. You can download the worksheet that is called the flaw becomes a special skill. You are going to find the strength in the flaw that your character has. The exercise, you're going to answer some questions. How can your protagonist's flaw turn into a special skill? Some examples of that are things like character who's really impulsive or really fiery. That impulsiveness can turn into the ability to think quickly and sticky situations. A character who's really paranoid might have really good attention to detail. And then that attention to detail might help them solve, solvers situation or get out of tight corners really well. And we've talked about selfishness can translate into that survival instinct. We saw that in Breaking Bad. So how does your character's flaw turn into a special skill? Give an example of a time when your protagonist uses this special skill to solve a problem. Now we're getting into a little more writing with it. How does your protagonist feel after this event? Now, the other thing we want to do in this exercise is identify your character's arcs. I have that for the three characters that we're covering in this class, for your protagonist, where does your protagonist start? Who is your protagonist's at the beginning? As the story is progressing? You know, what? There's your protagonist. Learn along the way that is changing your protagonist from the inside, making him become a different person. And at the end, who is your protagonist at the end, what kind of a person is your protagonist at the very end? And you're gonna do that same exercise for your antagonist and for your ally. Now here's the thing. You don't need all of your characters to change. Your hero, your protagonist has to change across the journey. Otherwise, it's not a good story. Otherwise, if you're a hero does not change, It's not an interesting story. These rules sometimes are broken and sometimes it works, but I'm telling you, don't break this rule. Don't break this rule. Have your character learn something and change for the positive or the negative. In Breaking Bad, Walter White changes a lot, but for the negative, and that's okay. Have them change for the negative. Positive gives us a more satisfaction. But do what you need to do. But have that character change, have them become a different person by the end the story. If you can do that for your protagonist, fantastic. If you can do that for your protagonist, for your antagonist, for your ally, you will have a story that is really, really compelling. That's in airplane, an airplane. The ally, Elaine, she actually changes, you know, she, she learns to realize this. You remembers how much she actually loves striker by the end of the story. But in the Lion King, scar does not change, stays the same person. Now, if that works, that's fine. But if you can have each character become different by the end of it for better or for worse. It makes this so as a result of the story, it makes this story so much more compelling. Download that worksheet, set your timer for 15 minutes, do the writing exercise, and I will see you in the next module. 9. The Special Skill Creates Transformed Action: Welcome back. Okay, We have one more lesson, one more worksheet, and then we're going to have a wrap-up video, which is going to be quite short. But this is your last lesson, you guys, I hope that your story is fleshing out, that all of these character-driven beats that we are adding, these kind of character details that you are coming up with. I hope they are inspiring you to actually start writing the story. By the end of this, we're going to have that blueprint. We have one more module of instruction, and that's this. Now your character has been on his journey. The problem, we know he's trying to solve this problem. And yet there's a lot of conflict. There's a lot of antagonistic forces trying to keep your character down, including your character's flaw and your character along the way of kind of facing these antagonistic forces with the help of the allies is transforming. It's changing. So that's your character arc that we talked about in the last module. Again, you guys, I don't need to save this anymore, but if you have not done the worksheets, stop this right now, go to the worksheets, come back. Come back when you have finished the worksheets. Alright, so this first time going through it, do the worksheets so you understand what we're actually talking about as we're doing this fork together right? Now. The flaw has transformed into special skill. If you're writing an episodic thing. So you're writing a TV series or series of short stories about, about the same characters that kind of like a Sherlock Holmes type of a thing. Then you want this tension between the flaw in the skill, the special skill kind of played out in every episode. In every episode, the flog gets in the way the special skill comes surfaces. And so there's this dance that your character does. And by the end of the series or by the end of the season, there's a big leap that has been created as a result of that constant back-and-forth, back-and-forth that the character experiences. If you're writing a book, that back-and-forth is going to happen in the middle section of your book. And then by the end of it, the special skill is going to save the day. And how is it going to save the day? There's gonna be a climactic event. There's gonna be something that your character will have to do that is born out of the special skill which was rooted than the flaw. And your character doesn't. And it's going to save the day. It's going to, it's going to deem the transformation complete. And that action is the transformed action. It's something that your character would never have done if it was at the beginning of the story, at the beginning of the story, your character, your main character, your protagonist, would never have done this thing. But because your protagonist has been pushed to his limits, to his edge. And because he has, he or she has been learning, because that flaw has now been transformed into this special skill that we can now recognize. Now, your protagonist is able to take this action that this transformed action that they would never have done in the past. Airplane, for example, striker goes back into the cockpit and flies down that plane. He would never have done it at the beginning of that movie. Otherwise, we wouldn't have had a movie. The Lion King, Simba actually returns to Pride Rock. He confronts his uncle. He would never have done that if it was at the beginning of the movie. Otherwise, he would have done it already. He had to go through his own internal stuff with the help of his allies in order to feel ready to feel like he could, he could have done taken that action. So that's the transformed action. Download the worksheet that's called the special skill creates transformed. Action and you're going to answer the questions. So toward the end of this event is going to happen toward the end of your story. Remember this is like the, kinda like the climax of your story. It's toward the end of your story, has your antagonist. What does your antagonists do to stop the protagonist from solving this problem? So, what has your antagonist done until now to stop your protagonist? And this is again, the antagonistic forces can be all of these things. The antagonist himself, the internal flaw, and also the external environment. How does your protagonist feel about this? By the way, that first question, you can, you can answer. We can actually kinda dive into a little bit of a writing, fleshing out that climactic scene. You don't have to stick to it when you're actually writing this story. But it's kind of nice to know where you're, what you're working toward, what you're moving toward. So towards the end of your story, right, about an action where the stakes are really high. So what has the antagonist done to stop your protagonist? This is like when there's this do or die moment, what has led up to that do or die moment? How does your protagonist feel about this? Remember, we talked about the emotion and the action kind of relationships. So we need to know how does the protagonist feel about the situation that he or she is in? Having learned the lessons of the story. What is the least likely thing that your protagonist might do that he or she would not have done at the beginning of the story. What action? Striker would never have flown that plane down. That is the least likely action he would've taken. Simba would never have confronted his uncle. That's the least likely action he would've taken. So what is the least likely action that your protagonist might take? Something that he or she would not have done at the beginning of the story. How does the antagonist, now, after this action, how does the antagonist react to this new transformed action? Okay, so what does the antagonists do? How does the protagonist feel about this reaction from the antagonist? What further transformed action might he take? We are really fleshing out this end sequence event. Then does this solve his or her problem? If not, what more is needed? If so, what does successful? What does success finally look like? We are, we are really trying to flesh out this end sequence so that you know where you are going within your story. Really a lot of fun. This is the last thing you'll do. By the end of this, you'll have a little blueprint. I'm gonna let you go do this short little video here. Download the worksheet, set your timer for 15 minutes, and I will see you in the wrap-up. 10. Final Words: Hello and welcome back. You are done. You did it. Oh my goodness. I hope you did all of the worksheets. I hope you enjoyed doing all of the worksheets. You can always come back to these worksheets, print a set of them out for yourself and keep them with you anytime you have a new story inside of you or a new little flicker of a story of a character inside of you. And you want to see if there's a story here. This is what you want to do. You want to go through these eight worksheets in order and flesh out the main storylines. The problem that needs to be solved. Find out who your main character is. Widest character is the perfect character to go through this storyline. Why he is the hero of the story? Remember, it doesn't have to be heroic even though he is the hero of this story. Then find out what the flaw is used, that flaw that your main character has to flesh out some of the conflict. Find out who the antagonistic forces are. What's getting in the way of solving this problem. Find out who the Allies are, who are helping your main character get to this, to this goal. They don't have to like your main character. They just have to be on the same boat as your character. They need to have the same goal as your character. Actually, it's better if the ally and your main character have some conflict between them that makes it even more interesting for the storytelling. And then finally, transforming how does that kind of flawed at your main character has how does that transform into a special skill, the superpower of your main character? And how does that translate into some action, some transformed action that your main character takes to at the end, at the climax of your story, to save the day, to save himself or herself, to save his story, to finally get to that finish line and solve the problem of the story in a positive way, in a negative way. However, however you want to develop, that doesn't matter, but your character has to change. That story arc, has to be there. Again to reiterate. If your main character changes, if these three main characters change, your protagonist, your antagonist, and your ally. If all three of them change as a result of this story, the story becomes even more. It becomes even more satisfying. An example of a story where all three of these main characters change is the Marvel Shanxi. We have our main character who changes. He was very avoidant at the beginning. He didn't want to step into his power, but then by the end he actually steps into it, is Ally, his best friend. She changes, like she stops being a follower and she starts being in her own way, becoming a warrior. Then the antagonist, the dad character changes across the entire story. And when we learn to have sympathy for him. And in fact, at the end of it, I'm not going to give it away in case you haven't seen it. But at the end of it, we're sad with what happens to him even though we want him to fall the entire time. Really good example of how all three of these characters change, that all of their arcs kind of very distinct. And the story as a result is very satisfying. We want to watch it and we like all of them, and we kinda like for all of them as a result of that. If you can make that happen, if you can write a story that changes all three of these main characters in your story. You're gonna have a really compelling piece on your hands. So I'm really excited for that. If you wanted to connect with me on an individual level, you can follow me on Instagram at Brave Elie, that's the best place. In fact, I share writing tips, some funny videos, quotes, writing related stuff on Brave Ellie. You can also go on Amazon and put books by Ellie show job. And you'll find some of my, my writings that you can take home with you. I've a novel called the 13th planet. I have an oracle deck called your heart knows the way. And I have a journal called channeled writing journal. You can pick all three of those up on Amazon. I hope that you do pick up something because I wrote him and they're fun. And there's something for everyone. All right. I love you. Thank you for being here on this journey with me. I hope this was really helpful for you. I hope that the worksheets were really helpful for you and that you will continue to use them for your future projects and reach out to me anytime I look forward to hearing from you, Have a good one.