Creative Writing Syllabus - Lesson 2: Character (Continued)

This is Lesson 2 of CWN's creative writing syllabus for teaching fiction. Click here to go back to Lesson 1.

The reading assignments for this writing syllabus all come from the book A Relative Stranger by Charles Baxter

Creative writing syllabus - Lesson 2: Character development (continued).

Reading: "Westland" by Charles Baxter

In-class activity: Students work in pairs. Each pair chooses one of the following characters from "Westland" -- the narrator, Jaynee, or Earl -- and writes a character profile of this character, using the CWN creative writing worksheets for character profiles. Students should invent any details that are not told in the story. Make sure they know that there are no right or wrong answers -- they can use their imaginations for this exercise.

Group discussion: Talk about what we know about the different characters in "Westland," and how the information is conveyed or suggested in the story.

  • What do we know about the narrator? About his family life and marriage? About his feelings about Earl? His feelings about the gun? About Westland, about America? Why does he shoot the wall of the nuclear reactor?
  • What do we know about Earl? His feelings toward his daughter? His values? His ideas about being an American?
  • What do we know about Jaynee's appearance? Her personality? Her relationship with her father?

In-class activity: 10-minute writing about one of the topics on this story starters page. Encourage students to use the character profile from their homework in the 10-minute writing assignment if they wish.

Homework: Students develop their in-class writing assignment at home.

Continue browsing the syllabus:

Go on to Lesson 3 (showing versus telling)

See a complete list of creative writing lesson plans


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