Who Are You?
by Jessica Brown, Screenwriter and Board Member of Phoenix Screenwriters Association


Who Are You?

Well, I’m a writer. Who are you?

Susan May Warren, in her book, asks and answers that question to show you how to write a brilliant character bio that also does much of the heavy lifting on building an amazing story for your character.

This is one of my all time favorite books when it comes to developing characters and figuring out my plot. It is a keep close reference guide that I refer to over and over again when I am in the early days of creating a new story.

Susan’s book: The Story Equation – How to Put & Write A Brilliant Story From One Powerful Question introduces that question right away.

Who Are You?

Three simple words. And from those three little words you will get a ton of ideas for your character and your story. Amazing how powerful one little question can be for a writer. So what do you get by asking that question?

You get:

  • Your Character’s Identity
  • Your Character’s Dark Moment Story

From that Dark Moment Story you’re going to pull all your essential ingredients to create your compelling character and riveting plot:

  • The Character’s Greatest Fear
  • His Lie
  • His Flaw
  • His Competing Values
  • His Want
  • His Wound
  • The Big WHY that drives the entire story

Whew! Talk about getting your money’s worth from one little question! And from this you also connect with and care about your characters in such a way that your audience is glued to your story all the way through. Isn’t that what we all dream about with our writing?

What I love most about this book is the HOW process. Susan shows you how to mine from your answers to craft a well balanced, well-structured plot filled with interesting characters that you actually care about. You know how you are going to get from FADE IN to FADE OUT by figuring out who your character really is and the key moments that will reveal who your character is and how they are changing over the course of your story.

I also love that her approach to crafting characters is not some 100-point checklist:

Height: 6’3”, Age: 25 years old, Occupation: Accountant that has never been on a date….

Susan introduces one of the most creative and genius ways to build a character bio. The whole process is so simple and easy that is feels like suddenly story crafting has been unlocked.

Susan has an online mini course (http://novel.academy/courses/TheSEQ/).

Don’t let her references to the material about novelists scare you away. The craft of storytelling applies to all writers whether you are writing a novel, screenplay, stage play or new platform material.

Susan is the RITA award-winning, best-selling author of over fifty novels. With over a million books sold, Susan has won the Christy award twice, and been a finalist eight times. She is also a multi-time winner of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the ACFW Carol Award. She specializes in characterization and has won acclaim for her gripping stories and suspenseful plots. Susan teaches on writing at conferences around the nation and is the founder of www.MyBookTherapy.com, www.LearnHowToWriteANovel.com, and Novel.Academy, all resources for helping aspiring writers.

With the lazy days of summer now upon us, if you are looking for a great read on how to master characters and plots, hang out at a favorite reading spot with a cool drink and read this one. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself grabbing a tablet and pen or your laptop and suddenly writing ideas. Susan’s book does it to me every time.

And if you run into any writing problems, come hang out with us at The Writers Lounge the first Monday of every month. Drop in and drop out as you like, no set agenda with plenty of creative writers willing to help you out. Check us out on PSA website, Facebook, EventBrite, and MeetUp.

Happy Summer Writing!

You can reach out to me at jessbrown44@gmail.com with any comments. I’ll be writing all summer long.

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