Thursday, August 6, 2015

Author...Teacher? by Tara Randel



One of the things I’ve enjoyed doing since becoming an author is teaching writing classes. If you’d told me at the beginning of my career that I’d be able to take such a huge concept like writing a book and break it down into segments so others could learn the craft, I would have thought it impossible. Time (lots of time!) proved me wrong.

FREE TEACHER CLIP ART IMAGES 

Last week, I filled in as an instructor for a friend who had to go out of town last minute. My topic? Characters. Perfect, because I love developing characters. Teaching the concept, a bit harder. But we had an awesome class. The students got the hang of the idea and soon we were discussing movies or other books with memorable characters and how they became so iconic.

Who can forget Scarlett O’Hara? Ebenezer Scrooge? Jane Eyre? The movie Braveheart or While You Were Sleeping? Die Hard? I’m sure you can come up with characters that stick with you long after you close the pages of a book or walk out of a movie theater. 

The best part about teaching the class was the enthusiasm from the students. They may not be published, or even want to get that far, but they immersed themselves in the class. Had very well thought out remarks. Three hours flew by! Some even hung around afterward, still talking about characterization.

Writing can often times be solitary, but on the occasions where I get to be around people who love reading and writing, it fills my creative well. And as thrilled and awed as I am over the fact that I get to write books others will read, I love giving back. Sharing a bit of knowledge that has brought me to this place in life where I get to do what I love is a wonderful gift. I hope I get to keep sharing with others for years to come.

Who are some of the most memorable characters from books or movies you love?

22 comments:

  1. That sounds like a fun class. I could easily see spending a few hours talking about characters.
    A few memorable characters that I can think of are:
    1) Melanie from Gone With the Wind. So magnanimous was she. Such a sweet soul and so mild-tempered. I always say I wish I could be like her.
    2) Kathleen Kelly from You've Got Mail. So cute, smart, sweet and funny. I really loved Joe Fox's character too. I just adored that movie mainly because of the great characters.
    3) The man (I forget his name) in a movie called Love Comes Softly. He had lost his wife and needed a mother for his daughter. He met a young widow (Kathleen Heigl?) and asked her to come live with them and help him with his daughter (I believe he married her first if I remember correctly). He was just so, darn, nice! I always remember him fondly.
    Oh man, I love thinking about characters. I could do this all day but sadly I have an appointment and must sign off. Maybe I'll come back later when my brain is working better and I can contribute some more. Thanks for this great post. I enjoyed thinking about these characters. ( :

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    1. Oh Laurie, I loved that actor from Love Comes Softly too! :)

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    2. Awesome character choices. We used You've Got Mail as an example in the class I taught. I agree, I could do this all day!

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    3. I love You've Got Mail, too, but talk about a book where the hero and heroine do not meet until the end LOL

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  2. I think it's great that you enjoy sharing your knowledge of writing, Tara. Would you ever consider teaching an online writing course? The Help contained some of my favorite characters, both in the movie and the book.

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    1. I hadn't really thought about teaching an online course. I'm busy meeting deadlines right now, but who knows? I never say never! Yes, The Help had wonderful characters.

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  3. I loved the character Tom Selleck played in “Quigley Down Under” – strong, honorable, considerate. Teaching a subject you enjoy can be one of life’s pleasures. Good luck with your deadlines.

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  4. Tara, so glad you like teaching. We need more people who can do it. I panic when I have to speak in public. But I hear it's the number 1 cause for anxiety. I love all of the characters I'm reading about at the moment. Then they all run together in my head later on. I don't think I can pick one or two.

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    1. The nerves go away when you have an engaged class. Then it's like talking to friends.

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  5. Eliza Bennett is still my favorite literary character. For TV and movies...really hard to pick, but I'll go along Marion's lines and say Tom Selleck's Jesse Stone is fascinating. And then there's Sam and Dean Winchester . I also like it when they put new spins on old faves like Sherlock. Great post, Tara!

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  6. I'm sure the student's engagement in the class has much to do with the teacher presenting it in an enthusiastic and inspiring way. Good going, Tara! I love to share, too. I teach a lot locally because this community has been so supportive to me and we always have a great time - and it helps us understand each other and levels other than writing. I love Rebecca in IVANHOE because she's so good, and Hawkeye in LAST OF THE MOHICANS because he's such a hero!

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  7. I'm like Roz, the characters I like best are the one in the book I'm reading at any given moment.
    But then, I remember Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird or Paul Newman in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof...I just realized I'm fickle!

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  8. Burt Lancaster in Judgement at Nuremburg, Billy Dee Williams in Lady Sings the Blues, John Gavin (although he couldn't act) and Susan Hayward in Backstreet.

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  9. Jane Austen's Emma. So flawed yet sympathetic. Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. Sean Connery as James Bond. Rhett Butler. And I love Nemo in Finding Nemo. I used to teach for Writer's Digest School and felt I learned as much from my students as they did from me! Characterization is my favorite.

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    1. James Bond! Now he's a hero. I always learn a lot from the students, that's why I love to teach.

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    2. Leigh, I loved Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. I've probably watched that movie, at least, thirty times...if not more. :)

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