FULL CAST: How to Enrich and Expand Every Character in Your Novel from the Leading Man to the Background Extras

FULL CAST: How to Enrich and Expand Every Character in Your Novel from the Leading Man to the Background Extras

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  • You are currently composing a novel
  • You've finished your novel and wish to further develop your characters
  • You wish to enrich and develop your character-building skills for future projects
  • You've received rejections citing difficulty relating or connecting to characters
  • You're ready to add that extra level of depth that may mean the difference between selling your project and resigning it to the drawer


Every novel, from the heart-wrenching literary drama to the pulse-pounding thriller, is driven by character. We fall in love with heroines, cheer for heroes, and loathe our villains. Characters draw us in, and through them we experience our favorite stories. Without a compelling cast, even the most engrossing tale can fall flat. What makes some protagonists iconic, while others fall flat? How can we create rich motivations without burdensome back-story, or nuanced supporting characters without stealing focus from our protagonists? How can we populate our novels with an unforgettable ensemble our readers will love?

In this presentation, John M. Cusick answers these questions and more, using his experience as an agent, author, and editor to explore the art and business of writing. This invaluable presentation with an industry insider will help you open new doors in your craft and career.

Runtime: 71 minutes


  • How to create an unforgettable ensemble of empathetic, unforgettable characters
  • How to develop compelling motivations to drive your story
  • How to craft rich histories to inform your characters' journeys
  • How to intensify relationships, creating intimate, intense connections within your tale
  • How to lend nuance and depth by creating ‚Äúmini-arcs"
  • How to employ impressionistic details to bring background characters to life


John M. Cusick knows the business from both sides, as a literary agent for young adult and middle-grade fiction at Greenhouse Literary, and as a young adult author. His debut novel Girl Parts was published by Candlewick Press in 2010, and his much-anticipated follow-up, Cherry Money Baby, will pub September, 2013. His clients include debut novelists and veteran authors. John has lectured for the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, the Texas Writer's League, and for Utah's Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers. His pieces on writing for teens have appeared in Writer's Market, The New Inquiry, and on multiple online resources for writers. John is also a founder and managing editor of 2012 Saboteur Award-winning literary magazine, Armchair/Shotgun. He lives in Brooklyn and is at work on his third novel.

NOTE: Writer's Digest does not offer refunds for OnDemand Webinars. All sales are final. OnDemand Webinars do NOT include a critique.

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