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.
In this workshop we’ll focus on four specific areas in the craft of writing fiction and will discuss the more general questions of fiction’s role in society, and how we as aspiring writers might also aspire to keep our bodies, souls, and sanity intact while developing as artists. The four craft sections will deal with character, plot, dialogue, and scene, with examples drawn from modern and contemporary fiction, and occasionally nonfiction. Along the way, we’ll discuss work routines, what to do when we’re stuck, where to submit our work, and what—and how—to read as writers.
From generating ideas to pursuing publication, this class will provide a roadmap for short fiction. In this 3-week intensive workshop, Jen will provide idea-generating tools, including creative visualizations and mindfulness techniques to propel you into a deep and sustainable creative space. From there, you will learn how to write a strong opening, create vivid scenes that draw readers in and leave them with a satisfying ending. The class will include an ongoing writing workshop with feedback from fellow writers. It will conclude with personalized feedback from Jen, along with information about how and where to submit work to agents, contests, and literary journals.