Anna LOVES meeting new people, especially writers and she would be thrilled to present one of her workshops to your writing group or organization. Below is a list of workshops Anna has developed over the years and each can be adjusted to fit into any time frame (1-4 hours). Many are PowerPoint presentations, and each workshop she gives always includes extensive handouts for all attendees.
For more information, please email Anna.
Developing Character and Character Arc
Presented in tandem with author Melinda Curtis
(2 hours – all day)
Long-time critique partners & friends Melinda Curtis and Anna J Stewart join forces in this workshop designed to help you flesh out fresh, dynamic, and realistic characters for whatever genre you’re writing.
With tons of stories being written every day, how can you create characters that leap off the page and demand attention? Getting readers (of any type–agents and editors included) to invest their time and money in your story begins and ends with your hero and heroine. Name any genre, any novel, it’s all about the characters. What’s Jane Eyre without Rochester or Game of Thrones without Tyrion? Pride and Prejudice without Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth? Stephanie Plum without Morelli or Ranger? Or, heaven forbid, Eve without Roarke. Can’t imagine those stories without them, right? Exactly.
So what comes first…the story or the characters? Good question–here’s one answer that works for us–a good story can’t happen without the characters. How about we build some from the ground (or name) up?
Former Golden Heart finalist and USA Today Bestselling author Anna J Stewart will begin at the beginning…choose a name and let’s go! A reference book hoarder, she’ll walk you through her process of finding out what makes her characters who they are. By utilizing books on Astrology, archetypes, name origins, and more (do you have The Emotion Thesaurus?!), by the end of this segment we’ll have a couple ready for their story…and HEA. For Anna, creating characters is a bit like an archaeological dig–the deeper you go, the more you uncover and that information helps you form plot, setting, and more importantly, goal and motivation. Which is where Melinda Curtis comes in…
Once you have a character that interests you, they need to begin with a certain outlook on life, one which has been created by something in their past. They haven’t grown or changed before the h/h comes along because they’ve developed ways to protect their wounds, keeping them from their happily ever after. Psychologists have identified 18 common wounds and their defenses. Adding a wound to your character makes them believable. Using a proven defense keeps them reacting consistently. As your characters begin to break down each others’ defenses and fall in love, they grow and change, and Viola! Character Arc!
Everything I Know About Writing I Learned from Watching TV
(90 min – 3 hours)
It was while watching the very first SHERLOCK when Anna experienced an “a-ha” moment that changed how she views television and how she writes. That epiphany helped to develop this workshop which draws from TV shows, past and present, as well as popular (and not so popular) movies.
Consider this: TV can encompass everything we strive to perfect as writers. Plot, character, pacing, conflict, relationships . . . the list is endless. Some shows hit all the right marks while others fizzle on premiere night. What is it that makes some stories so compelling they stay on the air for years while others just don’t make the cut? By examining popular (and not-so-popular) shows and movies of the past and present, we will dive into an examination of what keeps an audience glued to their chairs . . . because those same elements will keep your readers glued to the page. Not a fan of network or cable? There are other avenues to explore – ones that can enhance your writing and your stories and they are just a click away on your TV remote.
A self-admitted TV and movie addict, Anna has learned how to make the most of her viewing habits. Growing up in the age of Wonder Woman, Star Wars, and early girl-power shows like the Bionic Woman and Charlie’s Angels, this is where her love of storytelling began (along with some help from Stephen King). Whether you’re a fellow addict or don’t own a television, after this workshop you’ll view “the box” as more than a “boob tube” and see new ways to enhance your own writing with the shows you choose to watch.
Prepare to have fun, play some games, and put your television knowledge to the test. Don’t worry if you’re not up on all the latest shows. Surprises await even those not well-versed in pop culture.
Anna also offers variations on this workshop where she focuses on different genres/elements of TV and movies including Super Heroes, Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Cops & Criminals, and Romance.
Never in her wildest dreams did Anna, who once suffered from a terminal case of the never ending story, think she’d ever develop an affinity for writing novellas. Her first attempt, THE CHRISTMAS WISH, turned into her first traditional sale (Harlequin Heartwarming, Nov, 2014) and a national bestselling title. Since then, she’s ventured into the world of self-publishing with the Lantano Valley novellas which she’s using to fill the months-long gaps between her single title TREMAYNE FAMILY ROMANCES (Berkley Intermix) and contributions to numerous boxed sets and additional anthologies.
Writing short isn’t always easy, but there are definite benefits to this format. Writing novellas can even make you a better writer. Bonus! Novellas are the perfect way to build up your readership and keep those readers interested and invested in the world (whatever genre you write) you’ve created while they await your next longer release.