Mastering Characterization to Elevate Your Writing 4-Week Zoom Workshop, Starts Tuesday, November 7th, 2023
Class Starts Tuesday, November 7th, 2023
Class will meet weekly via Zoom (Tuesdays, 7PM ET - 9PM ET).
Note: this class will skip the week of Thanksgiving and will conclude on 12/5/23.
Any questions about this class? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.
Led by Nadia Uddin, a graduate of the Yale Writers’ Workshop, and the author of the novel Edison in the Hood, Winner of the 17th Annual National Indie Excellence® Award for Science Fiction, IPPY's 2023 Silver Medal in Urban Fiction, and Slice Magazine's Bridging the Gap Award.
Learn more about Nadia in our Meet the Teaching Artist series.
Characterization is an essential literary tool of writing a novel or short story and is the foundation of all great literature. Mastering characterization can help you drive the plot forward and develop a world that engrosses the reader.
In this 4-week course, we’ll examine the literary devices used to develop characters--such as narration, dialogue, interaction, and interiority--and also study how to combine indirect and direct characterization to create characters that are interesting and realistic (and not necessarily likeable).
Along with studying some of the greatest characters in literature, we’ll also look at examples from screenwriters, actors, and playwrights to understand alternative methods to develop characters. Lastly, we’ll discuss how to create diverse characters with sensitivity and accuracy.
Writers will participate in exercises for character development and will workshop a short story that will use character as plot. Participants will leave the course with a keen understanding of characterization and a starting point to develop a character for a novel or short story.
- Writers will leave the course with a keen understanding of the literary tools for characterization.
- Writers will develop a character for a novel or short story.
- Confidence to develop diverse characters.
- Workshop a short story that will use character as plot.
SELECTED COURSE TEXTS:
- Excerpts from Yiyun Li's Where Reasons End
- Excerpts from Toni Morrison's Sula
- Excerpts from Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping
- Excerpts from John Williams' Stoner
- A selection of craft articles
Week 1: Introduction to characterization. Examples of characterization from authors, such as Toni Morrison, Claire Keegan, and James Baldwin. Literary devices - what are the tools and methods commonly used to develop characterization? Backstory - What are the character experiences and events that directly lead to the "story" and its storyform? Beyond literature, we’ll watch clips from Val Kilmer, Brian Cranston, and Catherine O’Hara on how they brought their characters to life through backstory.
Week 2: Applying the techniques. Students will bring examples of their favorite characters and discuss what makes them so memorable In-class workshop: Students will be given a writing prompt to inspire a character for a short story and will prepare a writing sample to workshop in class. Fellow students will examine each other’s work, focusing on how the writer incorporated narration, dialogue, interaction, and interiority.
Week 3: Developing diverse characters with sensitivity. Class will review essays on the purpose of diversity in literature and hear from others on how they approach diversity We’ll look at tropes to avoid What are the common 5 characters in every story and how to make them diverse In-class workshop: students will challenge themselves by creating a character who is different from themselves; they will have the option to share.
Week 4: The subtext. How to create deep and nuanced humanity on the page through subtext We’ll examine ways to amplify your characters’ subtext In-class workshop: student will bare down their writing samples to incorporate subtext.
"Nadia offered thoughtful and detailed feedback on my manuscript through a writing workshop at Catapult. I appreciated her commitment to the writing group." --Krista D.
"Nadia is a committed instructor, who has helped me tremendously to build my creative writing skills. She focuses both on developmental edits of my work but also provides additional resources I can study to help me in my writing journey. She's always available and makes me feel like she's invested in my personal growth." -- Sana S.
"I received great feedback from Nadia in a writing workshop at The Center of Fiction." - Michelle R.
ONLINE COURSE STRUCTURE:
This class meets weekly via Zoom. Come prepared for a super fun class with live interaction on Zoom each week and plenty of writing, reading, and talking!
- Instructor: Nadia Uddin
- Class Starts Tuesday, November 7th, 2023
- Class will meet weekly via Zoom (Tuesdays, 7PM ET - 9PM ET).
- Note: this class will skip the week of Thanksgiving and will conclude on 12/5/23.
Instructor Nadia Uddin is the author of the novel Edison in the Hood, Winner of the 17th Annual National Indie Excellence® Award for Science Fiction, IPPY's 2023 Silver Medal in Urban Fiction, and Slice's Bridging the Gap Award. Nadia is a graduate of Yale Writers’ Workshop. She resides in Brooklyn with her family and is working on her second novel.