Character Arc: Writing for Change

A Mini-Retreat on April 17, 2021

  • Teaching from Susan DeFreitas—author, editor, and book coach
  • Topic: change—character change within our stories, and how writers can use their art to effect change within the world
  • When: Saturday, April 17th (scroll down for schedule)
  • Retreat? Yeah, in addition to the session with Susan, we’ll have some time to connect with other writers and write in community
  • Write in community? Yes; writing while others in our Zoom room also write. We keep Zoom running and work in the company of others. Completely optional.

Who is Susan DeFreitas?

Susan is a founding coach with Author Accelerator, and she regularly contributes to She was Lisa Cron’s book coach on Story or Die: How to Use Brain Science to Engage, Persuade, and Change Minds in Business and in Life. According to Cron, “Susan is a genius, and as important, while she doesn’t pull punches, she’s kind—a calm, supportive presence on those days when it feels like all is lost.” Check out other glowing testimonials from Susan’s impressive clients. Susan is also the author of the novel Hot Season, which won a gold IPPY Award for Best Fiction of the Mountain West, and the editor of Dispatches from Anarres, an anthology of short fiction in tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin (coming this year from Forest Avenue Press). You can find out more about Susan at And to see some of her articles on writing, check out litreactor and

Our Schedule

  • 12:30pm: Mingle with other writers
  • 1:00pm: Susan’s instruction and Q&A
  • 2:00pm: Writing in community
  • 3:30pm: Reconvene; checkin, Q&A with Tim
  • 4:00pm: End

(All times Central Daylight Time, GMT-5)

The Goals


Susan will discuss the power of the protagonist’s “misbelief,” the intersection of plot and character arc, and the deep catharsis that’s possible at the protagonist’s moment of truth, as well as ways that writers can create arcs of change that help to affect positive change in the world.


We’ll have a mixture of very intimate chats (with one or two other writers) and our full-group chat. The idea here is to move from theory to the practice. So we’ll help each other wrap our heads around the concepts and see how they apply to our own writing. You’re encouraged to ask questions of the instructor.


It can seem strange, but it’s oddly effective to write in the company of other writers without ever talking to them. We’ll take a while to do just that, leaving Zoom on after the initial instruction while we tackle our work. You’re welcome to stay or leave for this portion. But it has been a hit with past participants.

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