Creating Characters is Not Just for Fiction

Headshot of student.

Courtney Dell'Agnese, RWU Class of 2018

Major:  Creative Writing
Minors:  Educational Studies + Arts Management

As a creative writing major, Courtney Dell’Agnese loved inventing characters and plotlines for her stories while gaining the skill and research methodology to elevate her work.

Now, Dell’Agnese applies her passion for creative storytelling and her technical writing skills to her work as marketing coordinator at VUP media, a full-service marketing agency in Greenville, R.I.

Dell’Agnese does website development, blog posting, social media and analytics for a wide range of clients, including a used appliance store, an interior designer, an insurance adjuster and a food and beverage company.

“One of my favorite clients is a company that makes a product called shrubs, which is a vinegar-based drink mix that you can combine with alcohol or non-alcoholic beverages,” said Dell’Agnese

Dell’Agnese, along with her team members, was learning about the product for the first time. She used research skills that she honed at RWU to understand the clients’ needs. 

“I like being able to go to client and say I know what you’re talking about,” Dell’Agnese said.  “It excited me to learn those new things and then work with the company to figure out why it’s important and why you should buy the product.”

Not only did she have to learn the background knowledge to write about the company, but she also got to use her creativity to help them expand their audiences. At first, they were mainly marketing to bartenders, but Dell’Agnese applied inventive thinking to help them find other opportunities.

Because the product can be used for cooking, she suggested they market to the food industry. Because it’s a healthy alternative to sodas or juices, she proposed targeting health-conscious consumers.

“I asked questions like, what would they be interested in? What would they like to do? What restaurants would they go to? What are their hobbies? It was really fun to put myself in that person’s shoes. It might not be what I would do but if I was that person, what would I do? It was kind of like creating a character of a story,” Dell’Agnese said.

She developed blog post ideas that were directed towards different audiences, using her fiction writing abilities. Her boss appreciated the sense of imagination she brought to writing content for different audiences.

Dell’Agnese credits her experience in the creative writing program for her ability to determine the right tone for each type of content, brand and audience.

“We craft technical essays as well as more creative pieces, so having had that education helps me find a balance when writing for clients,” she said. “Working so closely with my professors, I was able to build the skills and confidence that I use now.”