TUTOR: Scott Onak’s fiction has been published in Ninth Letter, Mid-American Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, and Willow Springs, and his book reviews appear on The Rumpus. He earned his MFA in Fiction at the University of Idaho and has taught creative writing at the University of Chicago, Story Studio Chicago, and elsewhere. He has been awarded residencies from the Ragdale Foundation and Vermont Studio Center.
Start Date: January 30, 2018
DURATION: 4 weeks
This course will investigate ways to bring our characters into complex life. We’ll explore tools such as creating voice, identifying desire, and capturing the concrete ways they move through the world. And we’ll also approach characters from the not-so-obvious angles. Students will put these principles into practice by completing weekly exercises. Scott will provide written feedback on all exercises.
Suitable for both fiction and nonfiction writers, introducing skills that can help you generate characters for fiction or capture the people from your own life.
Week One: The Concrete
In Week One, we’ll explore the concrete, direct ways that writers can shape a character’s personality, including appearance, name, possessions, and habitat.
Week Two: Voice & Dialogue
Module Two focuses on voice, the singular way of thinking and talking that defines how our characters communicate. We’ll practice dialogue and open our ears to what others have to say about our characters.
Week Three: Desire
We turn next to desire: what our characters want and why. We consider the benefits of making their lives difficult and ask the important question: what if our characters aren’t likeable?
Week Four: The Wider World
In the final module, we’ll explore ways that nonhuman entities (places, animals) can act as characters, and we will examine the larger social forces that influence our characters.
Our next 13 Ways of Looking at Character course starts on 30/01/2018
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