RegisterSign In

From Beans to Brew: Creating Characters


Explore character development from birth to death. This course explores how to create believable and lifelike characters.

Students will utilize hands-on techniques to explore their own lives and the lives of those around them for inspiration and details. Armed with these ideas, students will then create new characters or add stronger details to existing ones.


NOTE: This is a self-directed course. Students will receive feedback on the final week's assignment. Exercises completed before that week will be used to tailor the course to the student's needs but will not receive individual feedback.

  • Student completion of weekly exercises.
  • Student completion of final writing project: either a short story or chapter placing their newly created or revamped characters in a story setting.


  • Students will learn techniques to identify character traits within themselves and others.
  • Students will develop the lives of these characters and their surroundings.
  • Students will learn to recognize which character details to include in writing and which to keep in the background.
  • Students will produce a short piece of writing placing one of their new characters in a setting.
  • Students will also learn techniques to make more in-depth and richer characters part of their writing in the future.

course quick facts
course code DED209
cost $79.00
estimated time to
complete course
16 Hours
course materials
5 Weeks

Amy Cipolla Barnes has been a moderator, teacher, and facilitator for over ten years. Her writing interests are diverse and include Southern literature and magical realism. She has published numerous non-fiction columns on topics ranging from stamp fraud to home offices, travel to pets. In addition, she has won contests for short stories, longer fiction, and poetry. She has been published in various literary journals and is currently working on her first novel and a collection of short stories. She also has taught a number of online courses that have covered topics, such as: creating literary characters and beating writers block.


"I have gained more confidence in my writing through the positive comments and suggestions from my instructor." - Ashley Goldsmith

"My attitude changed completely! Before taking this course, I felt like I wasn't as good of a writer as some because many of my characters are based on real people. I've since learned that that's okay, even Steinbeck did it!" - Mara Bauer

"My confidence has been boosted slightly after taking this course. " - Kristi Austin