Craft focus: character in fiction

Course Dates: 08/05/21 - 09/05/21
Time: 14:00 - 16:30
Location: Online

In fiction, character and plot are inseparable elements of craft. Without characters in stories there can be no action, and without characters acting there can be no plot. In this short course you'll learn how to create characters that can drive a narrative forward and deepen its themes.

This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.


What is the course about?

The most successful characters are those that come alive in the imagination, those so embodied it feels as though they could walk off the page into reality. For better or worse, when these characters act, things happen and readers pay attention. In this short course you'll learn how to generate that power, using discussion and guided exercises to create characters that bring complexity and forward momentum to your stories.

Students say: "I've gained a good grasp of the essentials needed when focusing on character and character-driven narratives"; "I loved the exercises and the handouts"; "I feel thoroughly engaged and inspired to write"; "Fabulous!" .

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

- The essential components of character
- The role of character in fiction
- How to create compelling characters
- The relationship between character, story and plot.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Identitify 'round' vs. 'flat' characters and understand their relative importance in fiction
- Understand different types of character arc
- Understand how to create complex and 'counterpointed' characters (e.g. how different characters work to contrast or compliment each other in the same narrative).

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is suitable for any writers of prose fiction with an interest in developing their understanding of character. Experience as an avid reader of fiction and/or some experience of writing fiction (short stories, novels) will be helpful.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will explore examples of successful characters and character development in tutor-led discussion, practise your skills in guided writing exercises, and share your work to receive constructive feedback.

All writing courses at City Lit will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.

For classes longer than one day, regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no associated costs. Bring a pen and notebook.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Collect the other Craft Focus courses on offer to give key elements of your writing the special attention they deserve. Or, why not try one of our term-long fiction courses? You may also enjoy a Reading for writers course, or the Craft of fiction reading and writing group. There are lots of options to develop your fiction available via the online prospectus. If you need help finding the right one, just give us a call!

All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for City Lit writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.


Customer Reviews 4 item(s)

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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

This was a great workshop to learn character-writing techniques with some tips on how to actually apply them to your work.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 27/10/2019)
Supportive environment
Skilled teachers
Course Rating
Review by John / (Posted on 26/10/2019)
I would recommend this course. A lot of information is provided and you get many opportunities to put what you've learnt about into practice and get feedback.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 27/07/2019)
If you enjoy reading and have an interest in character & plots, in your favourite Genre - and would like to write short stories and/or a novel then book this class.
Course Rating
Review by Susan / (Posted on 27/07/2019)
Tutor Biographies
Tasha Kavanagh

Tasha Kavanagh has an MA in Creative Writing from UEA where she studied under Malcolm Bradbury and Rose Tremain. She has worked as a film editor on features including 'Twelve Monkeys', 'Seven Years in Tibet' and 'The Talented Mr Ripley' and has had 10 children's books published. Her debut novel 'Things We Have in Common' was published by Canongate in 2015 to critical acclaim and was shortlisted for major prizes including the Costa 1st Novel and Desmond Elliott Prize. She is currently writing her second novel.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: HW410

Sat-Sun, day, 08 May - 09 May '21

Duration: 2 sessions

Full fee: £69.00
Senior fee: £69.00
Concession: £28.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2717

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.