Great characters aren’t perfect; sometimes they aren’t even nice. What they are is unique and human—indelibly so. A strong character is a vehicle through which a writer makes
Great characters aren’t perfect; sometimes they aren’t even nice. What they are is unique and human—indelibly so. A strong character is a vehicle through which a writer makes a story matter to a reader. In this participatory workshop, we will explore some techniques story writers use to craft distinct and charismatic characters. We’ll begin by looking at a few examples and asking, “How did the writer bring this character to life? What tools are being used? What can we borrow for our own work?” Then you will be asked to do some writing of your own. No previous writing experience is required.
We Want What We Want Astoria (House of Anansi Press)
Alix Ohlin delivers a masterclass in the short story with We Want What We Want, populated by bad parents, burned potential, and inescapable old flames. In the mordantly funny “Money, Geography, Youth,” Vanessa arrives home after volunteering in Ghana, only to discover that her father is engaged to her childhood best friend. In the subversive “The Brooks Brothers Guru,” Amanda drives to upstate New York to rescue her cousin from a cult, only to discover well-dressed men living together in a beautiful abode, drinking cocktails, and exchanging classical knowledge. In “The Universal Particular,” Tamar welcomes her husband’s young relative into her suburban home, only to find her life knocked askew in ways she doesn’t quite understand. Each story in We Want What We Want is diamond-sharp — sparkling with humour, pain, and beauty.
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