Craft focus: character in fiction
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HW576
Please choose a course date
Duration: 1 session
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.
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.
City Lit Writing endeavours to create a safe and welcoming space for all and we strongly support the use of content notes in our classes. This means that learners are encouraged to make their tutor and classmates aware in advance if any writing they wish to share contains material that may be deemed sensitive. If you are unsure about what might constitute sensitive content, please ask your tutor for further clarification and read our expectations for participating in writing courses at City Lit.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There are no associated costs. Please bring writing materials.
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.
Maria Thomas is an award-winning writer of short fiction. She has taught writing at the University of Virginia, and as a Promising Scholar and Margaret McBride Lerhman Fellow at the University of Oregon where she studied for her MFA in Fiction. She is currently a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she researches creative writing pedagogy and working on a novel. Maria sits on the editorial board of acclaimed literary journal, Short Fiction.
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.