Hercule Poirot’s obsession with “little gray cells.” Miss Havisham’s forty year old wedding dress. Gandalf’s paternal and magical presence. Characters in fiction inspire, perplex, and engage us. I’ll share a character worksheet and get you started on creating a good hero/heroine for your story.
MAKING A SCENE
Scenes are the building blocks of good fiction. Imagine two estranged sisters meeting accidentally at the police station. Or a blonde bombshell who bumps into her past love—now a priest—at his parish church. We’ll look at what makes a scene tense or frightening, hilarious or heartbreaking. I’ll give you exercises to get you started on your own.
Caught Between Worlds: The OUTSIDER
Very often our favorite characters are caught between two worlds of past and present, home and exploration, or differing ethnicities, politics, and cultures. As a result, they don’t belong. Or do they? Atticus Finch… Hester Prynne….even Harry Potter are outsiders in fiction and characters whom we absolutely adore. Let’s look at why, and through fun writing exercises, see how our characters (or we ourselves) bridge two worlds.
SETTING AS CHARACTER
How would you describe California? Is it a crone with missing teeth and a gift for prophecy? Or a heedless boy who gallops through the forest stirring up trouble? A strong setting brings power to any story. I’ll show you some surefire ways to add a whole other dimension to the setting so that your story sings.
Seduced into story: OPENINGS
It was a dark and stormy night… All of us peruse the first few pages of books to see if we want to read more. But how are we seduced into story? In this workshop, we’ll read and discuss the beginning pages of a few novels, explore the varying techniques for pulling readers in, and free-write using what we’ve learned.
Every Picture Tells a Story: PAINTINGS
In the past decade, several novels have used a painting as a character within their pages. Girl with a Pearl Earring, for example and A Girl in Hyacinth Blue. You, too, can bring life to your fiction through a photograph or painting. In this workshop, you’ll learn how. We’ll also discuss what makes the image of a painting so enticing in reading fiction, and so inspiring when writing it. **Bring an interesting photograph that you’d like to explore in your own writing.
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