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  • Seminar
  • Online: Zoom
  • Adult (18+)

Novel Essentials: Introducing Characters

No Longer Enrolling

  • $65.00 Non-Member
  • $55.00 Member

Class Description

One of the most exciting experiences in reading fiction, when you are in the hands of a talented writer, is meeting a new character. Add one or two paragraphs of description, whether the character appears at the book’s opening or as an unexpected arrival halfway through, and the reader will be intrigued. But in order for an introduction to be effective, the description must be able to invoke a unique personality with just a few sentences. All too often one reads about a “tall, dark, handsome man” or a “blue-eyed, pretty blonde.” Introduce a generic character, and the reader’s mind begins to wander; when the character appears next, the reader may not even remember who it is. Yet a skilled writer, sometimes with only a single turn of phrase or one memorable descriptor, can make a character instantly stand out as an individual.

In this seminar, we will talk about the best ways of introducing a character memorably and distinctly. We will look at several examples from published authors, analyzing their various techniques, and we will try our own hands at introducing new characters who grab the reader’s attention. By the time the seminar is over, we will have articulated several methods by which a generic type can be transformed into an unforgettable figure.

Part of GrubStreet's Novel Essentials Series, led by Ursula DeYoung and dedicated to exploring the fundamental building blocks of the novel. Classes include:

Scholarships Format/Location

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

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. Please visit the Resources tab to access the video-conference link.

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!