Character Need and Desire, with Jacqueline Sheehan

Is your book a collection of scenes or is it a well-structured story? Great scenes can be so satisfying to write, but a book is more than a collection of moments strung together, no matter how perfect those moments may be. What is the secret sauce that makes great stories work? In this half-day workshop, writers will focus on the creation of their hero. We know that our protagonist must have a strong desire and that desire must be thwarted by an equally powerful challenge. We’ve been told this countless times. But your character’s obvious external desire is not necessarily the most important thing driving the narrative. In order for our hero to transform, there must also be an internal story that reflects an underlying psychic wound or flaw.  We can call these external and internal desire lines, or story A and B. In this ½ day workshop, we will look at clear examples of these internal and external plots in published works and learn tools for defining and developing our own characters’ inner needs and outer wants.

This workshop will be held online. 

Saturday, October 9, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ($75)

Jacqueline Sheehan, PhD is the New York Times bestselling author of The Comet’s Tale, Lost & Found, Now & Then, Picture This, The Center of the World, and The Tiger in the House. She writes NPR commentaries, travel articles, and essays including the New York Times column, “Modern Love.” She edited the anthology, Women Writing in Prison. Jacqueline teaches workshops at Grub Street in Boston and around the world. Find out more at