The Art of Character - Remote!

6 Wednesdays from 10:30am-1:30pm (EST), starting October 6th
Remote (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
12 seats max

Every day, as a complex (and often subconscious) social and mental process, we construct ourselves and each other. To create three-dimensional characters in writing, we must get conscious of this process and how to apply it on the page. In this class, each week we'll bring our characters to life through in-class and at-home exercises designed to understand the inner and outer worlds of our characters, plus their individual and social contexts. There will be weekly at-home readings to discuss in class, including story excerpts and craft articles from writers including Alice Munro, Ottessa Moshfegh, Alexander Chee, Kevin Jared Hosein, Manuel Gonzales, and Myriam Gurba. In the final weeks, we will engage in a guided, fun workshopping process via bringing our characters to life by "introducing" them to the class, while others "interview" them to get to know them better!

Topics will include: What is the relationship between your character's inner world and outer behavior? What do they show and hide, and why? What makes them unique instead of cliche or stereotyped? How does character relate to dialogue, setting, point of view, and other craft elements? And, importantly: How, whether, and when do we write characters outside of our cultural, historical, and social groups and identities?

This class is designed for fiction but, because we also construct people on the page in nonfiction, essayists may find it applicable. Students may come with characters in progress, but for those starting from scratch, generative prompts will be offered.

This class will be hosted using live Zoom meetings! You will be able to participate in class via Zoom videoconference from wherever you’re most comfortable. All you’ll need is a laptop or a phone! About 15 minutes before your class is scheduled to begin, you'll receive an email from your instructor with a link to join the class meeting via Zoom–no need to download anything or sign up for Zoom in advance! If you have questions about remote learning, please feel free to reach out to [email protected] for more information.

For a glimpse at how remote learning works, look no further than the deep Zoom discussion of writing and literature below:

Scholarship Information

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

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Carolyn Zaikowski
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Previous Students Say

  • "Generative"
  • "Supportive Environment"
  • "Inundated with Great Info"


  • Workshop
  • Class Discussion
  • In-Class Writing
  • Instructor Feedback
  • Lecture


  • The Novel
  • Short Fiction
  • Playwriting

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