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Perfectly Irresistible: Creating Sympathetic Characters

June 12, 2021 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm CDT


A Craft Lecture and Workshop with Nan Cuba
Virtually via Zoom: Sat, June 12 & Sat June 19, 9am-12pm
Cost: Nonmember $150; Member $130; Student $75


When a character is in trouble, as all protagonists should be, she can seem unsympathetic if she’s focused only on her own problems. Her unhappiness, worry, and frustration may result in a character who appears judgmental, short-tempered, rude, and who wants to read about someone like that? The answer is that we all do, but only if she’s complex enough to make us identify with and root for her, and the story ultimately shows her transcending those tendencies. This class will incorporate general methods for creating characters but with an emphasis on unlikeable ones, sharing examples and specific techniques for evoking reader sympathy and depicting character growth. Whether you write fiction or creative nonfiction, come ready to practice each technique by focusing either on a character of your own or one provided. You will finish with a handout, notes, and generated writing.

Nan Cuba is the author of Body and Breadone of “Ten Titles to Pick Up Now” in O, Oprah’s Magazine and winner of the PEN Southwest Award and the Texas Institute of Letters Steven Turner Award. Cuba co-edited Art at our Doorstep: San Antonio Writers and Artists and published other work in Antioch ReviewHarvard Review, Columbia, and Chicago Tribune’s Printer’s Row. She reported on the causes of extraordinary violence in LIFEThird Coast, and D Magazine, and was featured in the Netflix docuseries, The Confession Killer. She was included in Texas Monthly’s “Ten to Watch (and Read),” is the founder and executive director emeritus of Gemini Ink, and serves on the advisory committee for the San Ysidro Ranch Writer’s Residency. Her website is http://nancuba.com.


June 12, 2021
9:00 am - 12:00 pm CDT
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Alexandra van de Kamp