Editing for Compelling Characters: Beyond the 5 Senses
Home Study/Self-Paced Intensive Course
Many authors think that a strong plot and compelling characters are enough to make their stories work. But actually, you need to build an emotional connection with your readers, immerse them into the story world, and make them care deeply so they will keep turning the pages.
Humans are wired for story. This happens due to our natural ability to match and mirror. Scientists call this mechanism “mirror neurons.” How can we take advantage of this in our writing? We will explore this via the five senses and beyond. In fact, we will discuss more than 20 senses. We’ll cover how to use these senses to clarify your setting, enhance character goals and motivations, and focus in on cadence and rhythm, all to heighten and strengthen the reader connection.
You’ll walk away from homestudy course with specific tools you can implement in your fiction to craft compelling prose.
We want you to have raving fans.
"I attended Beth Barany's Master Class "Beyond the 5 Senses" at the Emerald City Writer's Conference in October of 2016. She did not disappoint! I thought I was pretty good at getting readers to feel like they were in the worlds I create for my books, but many of her examples I'd never even thought of. I can't wait to implement what I learned into my current WIP!" -- L.E. Wilson, Paranormal Romance Author
This course is for:
- Beginning writers who have completed a genre novel and want the support of a group and guidance of a class structure while they edit their own book.
- Experienced authors who need the rigor of structure to polish their books, so they can deliver it to an agent, editor, or their beta readers.
"Beth & Ezra are inspiring and amazing coaches. They are able to 'zoom in' on an individual writer's blocks, at the same time providing a group process that allows everyone in their classes to benefit. Beth's ability to support and gently challenge her authors is wonderful and led me--as I'm sure it has led many others--to uncover layers of character motivation that I had not been aware of in my novel. I highly recommend Beth & Ezra's coaching workshops!"-- Rachael Pruitt
"... You guys played off so well against each other and delivered such amazing writing nuggets ... ! And I loved the one-on-one action feel, the way you always responded to everything people posted on the lessons. I thought this was an amazing course." -- Margay Leah Justice, novelist
This course is right for you if:
- You have a manuscript that you can approach with a clear head and heart.
- You really want to integrate an editing system that works for you.
- You're eager to get a manuscript edited.
"In my one-on-one sessions with Beth, the vigorous review of my manuscript along with the masterful feedback has made me feel like I am in an MFA program. The welcoming and approachable style of both Beth and Ezra Barany leave you heartened and motivated." -- Hugh Tipping, Fantasy Author
How is this new training different from other courses on characterization I've taken?
You've probably taken one (or more) characterization courses that focus on building a character based on personality traits or your character's growth arc or backstory.
If you've taken my Create Compelling Characters course, you've also learned how to craft real and engaging characters.
Editing for Compelling Characters teaches you something completely different...
...how to use the character as a lens through which the reader sees and experiences the story.
These techniques show you how to craft a story that mimics the way your reader experiences reality.
Most writers focus on the five senses that we're aware of all the time. Beth's method also brings in subliminal senses -- sensory data that our brains rely on but that we're often not conscious we're receiving.
When you skillfully include these subliminal senses in your fiction, the story becomes more vivid and more real to the reader.
And unless the reader is aware of the techniques, they won't be able to put their finger on why your story world felt real when so many other authors' worlds don't.
I'm pretty good at characterization already. Will this method help me improve any other aspects of my fiction?
Yes. My method adds depth to your character and makes your character seem more unique.
But, once you've mastered these techniques, you can also use them to:
...ease readers into your character's world so skillfully that they get lost in your story before they realize it...
...help your readers imagine the story so vividly that if feels like they're living the story right along with your characters...
...and deepen your reader's bond with your characters fast.
I'm a pantser ... I don't like to do a lot of character development before I write. Will this method work for me?
Yes, these techniques are designed to be applied after your first draft is written.
Write the way you've always written -- I will teach you how to identify your character's sensory palette and layer it into the story during the editing phase.
(Of course, if you're a plotter and you want to, you can apply the techniques when you're building your character.)
What do I do about overwhelm and confusion about the editing process?
We get it. Ezra and I have edited lots and lots of novels -- each others', our own, and many of our clients. Editing can feel daunting, but it doesn't have to.
We have been where you've been and found ways to make friends with the process, as well with all the feelings of doubt and confusion that arise. We'll be with you every step of the way.
What you need is the supportive mindset that you can find a way through this process, that you can make editing your own, and that you can face the difficult emotions and have compassion for yourself.
We all get overwhelmed by the process, then we take a deep breath and take things one step at a time. We will help you with each step. And we walk our talk -- both of us will be editing novels alongside you. We're right there in the trenches with you. You are not alone. We can do this together!
More About Who This Course Is For
— This course is for motivated writers who want the added support of experienced teachers and mentors, who are also novelists: Ezra Barany and I, Beth Barany. Yep, we’re married, and actually met at a fiction writing group 18+ years ago.
Why We Are Offering This Course
We are offering this course because, one, it's in high demand (our students requested it!), and two, it's a challenge we're up for, since we have edited over four dozen manuscripts between us. We have the experience and we want to pass on our knowledge to you.
What This Course Is Not
- We won't edit your book in this course, but teach you how.
- This is not a peer-critique group, though you may find peers to trade manuscripts. We offer support in this area via our Group Coaching program or in our alumni community, Fellowship of the Pen.
- We are not the arbiters of what your book needs to be; you are, and we have strategies to help you determine what's best for your book.
- We can't tell you when your book is complete, but as mentioned above, we have strategies to help you determine that.
About the Instructors
Beth and Ezra Barany are award-winning, best-selling novelists, who have worked with over 100 authors to help them get their books written and published.
Happily married for over 17 years, we’re passionate about writing, story telling, and guiding authors to achieve your dreams.
Together we have written and published 20 books, 8 short stories, plus 3 audio books. Together and separately, we have taught thousands of students over the years, in both the public and private sector, including overseas in Paris, France. We both teach (and in Beth’s case, coach) and are working on writing and publishing our novels.
Why work with Beth and Ezra:
- Beth has written and published 5 novellas, 3 novels, several collections of the romance novellas, a short story, and a novel prequel in the last few years.
- Beth has used this process successfully to edit each of her 5 novellas and 5 novels. (Some are still unpublished.)
- Beth has taught these tools to other authors and has seen how effective they are.
- Ezra has written and edited 5 novels and hundreds of short stories.
- He successfully uses the techniques that we teach.
- Ezra has published 2 thrillers and is editing a third in his series.
- He has written and published 14 stories under a pen name, too.
Why We Really Want You in this Course
Ezra and I want to support authors who want support, know they learn best in small, hands-on learning environments, and who want to have a career as novelists. If that’s you, we really want you in our course.
What is your refund policy?
Due to the nature of committing to your writing, there is no refund for the course.
How long do I have access to the course?
You will have unlimited lifetime access to the course, and all new material added to it.
What if I haven't finished my novel but I have a good portion completed?
If you can edit your work with a clear mind as I describe above, then you're welcome to join our class.
Do you have any recommended reading for this class?
We do! Recommended, but not required.
If you still have questions for us, just contact us via email, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your book in the hands of a happy reader. That's the dream you're turning into reality.