The Essentials of Characterization and Plotting Workshop Links

May 28, 2022

Hi y’all,

Here are the social media links that take you to Savvy Authors to sign up for my month long workshop. If you’ve been considering taking my class now is the time.

This is the only one scheduled this year. I hope you’ll join me as we go through the essentials of characterization and plotting. These two areas of writing are vital for the creation of fiction writing.

Details for The Essentials of Characterization and Plotting with Tambra Nicole Kendall

Level Mixed Basic and Premium Members Prices

Premium Members $30 & Basic Members $40

Register by June 20th and save $5, use code ESSENTIALSKENDALL2022 at checkout! Category

  1. Characters
  2. Description/Setting
  3. Dialogue
  4. Structure
  5. GMC
  6. Plotting
  7. Worldbuilding

$5 off Early Registration Coupon-expires 1 week before class starts ESSENTIALSKENDALL2022 Class Length 4 Weeks

This workshop material is for beginning and intermediate writers, but all are welcome!

Having a good foundation in fiction writing skills is vital. Our goal is to keep readers turning the pages and buying more of our books. Join me as we learn and discuss the techniques of characterization and plot and their relationship. Ready to get started? Here are a few of the lesson topics:

  • Brainstorming: various ways to brainstorm your ideas
  • Backstory, using plot sketches, show, don’t tell
  • Creating three-dimensional characters
  • World building, and more!

This workshop also includes a mini course on writing hot. Class Format

Savvy Authors’ workshops are held on a forum: a bulletin board based system. You will receive a reminder notice one day prior to the start of the workshop that includes instructions on how to access the workshop forum. If you have not received instructions by the day the workshop begins, please check your spam filter.
The forum will be available the morning (EST) of the day the workshop starts and will remain accessible to all participants thereafter.

I’m thrilled to be able to teach again and share my material with you. My website has testimonials from former students if you’re interested in seeing how the course helped them. Join me and we can learn from each other!

Hugs to all, Tambra Nicole

Photo by Hannah Grace, Unsplash website. Writing motivation.

I’m Teaching a Workshop!

Hi y’all!

Fountain Pen Nib

May 4, 2022

I’m so excited to announce my workshop The Essentials of Characterization and Plotting that will begin at the end of June for Savvy Authors. As soon as I get a link for you to sign up I’ll post it.


Instructor: Tambra Nicole Kendall


Characterization, plot, GMC, saggy middle, viewpoint, worldbuilding, tension

Course length: 4 weeks

Date: June 27, 2022 to July 24, 2022

This workshop material is for beginning and intermediate writers, but all are welcome!

Having a good foundation in fiction writing skills is vital. Our goal is to keep readers turning the pages and buying more of our books. Join me as we learn and discuss the techniques of characterization and plot and their relationship. Ready to get started? Here are a few of the lesson topics:

  • Brainstorming: various ways to brainstorm your ideas
  • Backstory, using plot sketches, show, don’t tell
  • Creating three-dimensional characters
  • World building, and more!

This workshop also includes a mini course on writing hot.

I hope you’ll join me for this workshop on characterization and plotting plus all the other fun aspects of writing!

Hugs, Tambra

Preptober for NaNoWriMo

24 September 2021

Old books on a shelf

Hi y’all,

I know this is a wee bit early before October but I wanted to go ahead and share some resources to help you prepare for National Novel Writing Month (November). If you have problems finishing a manuscript NaNoWriMo might help you finish. It teaches you how to muffle/choke your inner editor. Bribery works for my inner editor.

What if you aren’t writing fiction and still want to participate in this frenzied event? You can be a NaNo Rebel. A NaNo Rebel is a NaNoWriMo participant who chooses to write something besides a novel of at least 50,000 words in November. Some rebels choose to revise and edit their novels, while others wander into the worlds of nonfiction, video games, scripts, and academic writing.

Back to the topic of novel writing. It’s easy for a nonwriter or someone who only writes short stories to say, “writing a novel can’t be that hard.” It can be. Many people wistfully say they want to write a novel one day. I’ll bet they started to really think about it, then broke out into an icy sweat while slowly backing away from that idea.

Writing a novel can be a daunting task. I’ve found that breaking such a large project into smaller pieces makes the process less overwhelming and easier to organize. I write my stories in Word but keep them organized in Scrivener.

To have an idea of where I’m going, I write out what I know about the major plot points and/or the pinch points in my story. This is a good start but I also need a way to keep myself on track without interfering my flow of creativity. Using the Hero’s Journey and the 3-Act Structure, along with the plot points I’ve written out give me a road map to follow. BUT, this method also gives me the room I need if I come up with ideas that are better than my initial effort. A Google search brings up lots of resources to help you prepare for NaNo.

Reedsy has an article that explains the Three Act Structure if you’re unfamiliar with this story structure.

Here’s a link for the Hero’s Journey if you’d like to know more.

Author, Eva Deverell has plethora of writing worksheets to help get your Preptober off to a great start!

The NaNo website has helpful information, too.

Here’s the word count breakdown to reach the 50,000 word goal: 1,667 words per day or 7 pages. If you can’t sit down and write that number of pages in a single sitting you can write 556 words in three sessions which will keep you at the daily goal.

Do you have a child or teen who’s a writer? NaNoWriMo has a Young Writer’s Program.

I hope the links provide a good starting place for your novel preparation. If you’ve always wanted to write a novel, don’t put it off. Take the plunge! Don’t worry if you don’t reach the 200 pages goal what’s important is that you learned more about writing, yourself, and maybe made some new writing friends.

Keep writing and creating!


P.S. Don’t forget my Essentials of Characterization and Plotting workshop starts October 6. Here’s the link to register!

National Novel Writing Month: Make the Dream Come True

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a chance to finish a book with help and support. I’m talking about a rough draft. So many writers are hung up on getting those first three chapters of their novel to be perfect and they never progress.

Participating in NaNoWriMo is the opportunity to break free. Give yourself permission to write a shitty first draft. This is what most authors crank out. The beauty of this is you can go back and edit, then polish that baby up. BUT you can’t progress if you don’t step away from the cage you’ve put yourself in. A first draft isn’t supposed to be perfect. The draft is getting down the bare bones of your story. Fleshing it out, going back to layer in other elements comes after the draft is written.

NaNoWriMo is an excellent way to experiment writing in a new genre. The forums at the NaNo site are a treasure. Digging around there can spark ideas. You can make new writing friends while learning information on various topics as well.

Don’t let fear hold you back. I’ve heard writers say, “what if I write something that my Mom/Dad/Grandma/Aunt won’t like?” It doesn’t matter. Write what’s in your heart. If you’re trying to write under the constraints of family and friends it will show in your writing. The passion and the joy won’t shine through. Write what you love.
For years and years, I had no writing support. Even the professional organization I was a member of was fake about the encouragement offered. I was in an abusive marriage and continued to write romance, children’s and nonfiction for most of my writing career. I’m proof you CAN do it.

Not everyone who participates in National Novel Writing Month finishes. The upside to this is you now have more words than if you did nothing at all. To me that makes it a win. There are worksheets to help with characterization and plot, forums with oodles of topics, writing programs such as Scrivener, which I’m learning. Once I figure out all the stuff Scrivener can do its going to be a love relationship. The link is at the bottom of the post. The Scrivener people also have a program called Scapple, a mind mapping program. You won’t spend a fortune on either of the programs and I appreciate it!

If you haven’t tried National Novel Writing Month, go ahead. The month of November just got crazier! If you write 1,667 words a day or 556 words three times day you can reach the 50,000 word goal. There’s a Young Writer’s Program so you can involve your kids or grandkids as you’re writing. There are write-ins all over the world. Find your region and go.

Don’t give in to fear. Fear of not writing perfect, fear of what others might think, fear of success and the myriad of other fears that creep in. Make your dreams come true and finish that novel!

Wishing you all the best in your writing journey!


Plot? What plot?


By Tambra Nicole Kendall


This information is taken from one of my writing courses on plotting.

Plotting comes easy for some people, for others it can be a struggle. Some writers have said I can only write about characters, I can’t plot. I say, yes you can and you’re already doing it. A little further down you’ll understand why I say this.

I’ve heard over the years that the plot is the skeleton of the story, the backbone that holds everything else in place. In the beginning this helped a little bit but plot scared me. I didn’t really understand how it worked with characterization. Once it all clicked into place, I discovered I loved to plot.

You can have great protagonist and antagonist but if you don’t have a good plot how can they shine? Know Thy Character.

If you don’t know your characters intimately how can you write about any aspect of the life you’re creating for them?

What is plot anyway?

The best definition of plot I’ve found is from 20 Master Plots (And How to Build Them) by Ronald B. Tobias.

He defines plot this way. “Plot is story that has a pattern of action and reaction.”

But Tobias continues, “Plot is a chain of cause-and-effect relationships that constantly create a pattern of unified action and behavior. Plot involves the reader in the game of “Why?”

 When I first began writing, I clearly separated plot and characterization. Due to my lack of understanding, I had no idea how closely they work together until years later.

 Plot and characterization are woven together in a tight weave. You can’t have one without the other.

No conflict = no characterization = no plot. You can’t have a plot without conflict.

What does plot do?

Plot gives unity and structure to a novel. Conflict unifies the narrative work. We want order and logic in our writing. A unified action creates a whole, made up of a beginning, middle and an end. These are also called the three movements of dramatic action.

When you ask yourself, “What does my character want?” You’ve begun the journey of plot.

 The Beginning, the first phase of dramatic action is having a character want something leads to motivation. The want or need, is also called intent.

 The Middle, the second phase: Once the intent of the character is established then you’ve entered this second phase of dramatic action. As your story progresses, the action must rise, the stakes must become higher as well. Your character is pursuing their goal with actions coming from their want/need/intent. The action grows out of what happened in the beginning. Cause, now effect. The events are tied together giving a coherent thread for the reader to follow.

The End is the last phase and contains the climax, falling action and the denouement. The ending must be logical from the sequence of events you’ve written in the beginning and middle. The ending action must be done by the protagonist. The protagonist should not be acted upon.

You see, everything in your writing is there for a specific purpose, cause that leads to effect, which bring you to another cause. Anything that happens in the world you’ve created must be there for a reason and the story forward. By leaving scenes in that don’t further the plot, the story becomes diluted and it suck out the intensity, the dramatic effect you are working so hard to achieve.

 Plot and character are inseparable. Plot is the function of character, and character is the function of plot.

Characters come alive with action. Plot is a function of character, and character is a function of plot. You can’t have one without the other. What they share in common is the action you’ve created.

There is a logical connection (action/reaction) why a character makes one choice as opposed to another. But the character shouldn’t behave in a predictable manner, because it will be thrown into the realm of boring. Just because there is a logical connection between the cause and effect relationships doesn’t mean it has to be obvious. Also, when a character makes a choice there should be consequences whether it’s good or bad. Doesn’t this happen in real life as well? Of course it does.

We draw upon our experiences to create plot. This is why writers look for universal plot themes when they write. We all want/need love, acceptance, food, shelter. These are a few of the universal topics I’m talking about.

Another way to look at character and plot comes from the book “What If?” by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter:   

How a character handles a situation by the way they choose to act, or not act in some cases, moves the story forward into plot. The particular situation your character is in grows from the beginning point where their life is shifted from normal. Then complications rise, each time escalating finally reaching the crisis point. Throughout this process, the character’s self-concept is revealed and threatened which will blend right into your plot.

I hope you can see how plot and character work together, play off of each other to bring the story alive on the pages you’ve written. I would love to hear you thoughts on plot!

Tambra Nicole