Rectangular graphic with white background and red borders and text in red, all caps: Online Writing Classes, with smaller Clarion West logo in white at bottom right.

EDIT: All paid places are sold out but a couple of scholarship places remain. So if you’re BIPOC or disabled, please apply!

In a little over two weeks I’ll be teaching a two-hour Zoom workshop for Clarion West on using setting to explore your character—and character to explore your setting. The class is designed for writers of any genre and level of experience.

How we describe a place and our character’s actions within it can tell the reader much of what they need to know: who the protagonist is, how they got there, and how they feel. Learn to find your way deep into your character—while drawing the reader deeper into your world. Come prepared for listening, writing, and talking.

The class runs 120 minutes, from 4:00pm –  6:00 pm Pacific time, Monday 15th March. It costs $55, though there are some scholarships available for writers who are BIPOC and/or from other traditionally marginalised backgrounds. Book here, through Eventbrite, because I’m not sure when/if it’ll go up on the Clarion West website. You should check out the CW site, though, for other classes and workshops. Some are free, and many look marvellous.

Space is limited so if you’re interested please book soon. The reason I’ve limited the class is that my preferred teaching mode is interactive: discussion, questions, answers, writing exercises, discussion, explanation. It will be the same on Zoom: I’ll talk for five minutes, we’ll write something, break into small groups, talk, come back to the main group, figure out what we’ve learnt; rinse; repeat. It’s hard to do that with a 100 people.

I’m still in the planning stages—figuring out how best to use Zoom—but right now I’ll want participants to bring just two things:

  1. An idea of your favourite fictional character—not a character you admire but one you love; one whose company makes you happy when you long to shut out the world and just dive into story for a while.
  2. A favourite moment with that character—it could be a whole scene, or just a moment, a feeling, a sentence; you choose.

It could be a kid from The Drawing of the Dark, Anna Karenina, the horse from My Friend Flicka, or the sacrificial Giving Tree. It doesn’t matter; what matters is how you feel about this person (or animal, or tree). But I’ll want that firm in your minds.

Bring questions, too, if you have them, whether about setting or character—for me the two are intimately intertwined. And come, of course, with that mix of willingness to play and work that makes for the best learning.