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Open Right

Melissa Keil: Workshop: Building Characters

Session Info:

Why do some characters feel more authentic and compelling than others?

How do writers find the inspiration for their fictional people, and how do they make them ‘come to life’?

What are some of the methods writers use to create the people in their fictional worlds?

Characters are the beings who populate and drive a story. Not all stories are necessarily character driven, nor do they need to be – however, creating rich, three-dimensional, believable characters  is often the key that will allow readers to connect with your writing. By the end of this session, students should have an understanding of the process writers undertake in order to create their fictional people. They will have the outline of a character profile, and an introductory piece of writing that can form the basis of a longer piece of creative fiction.


  • What are characters? What are character-driven stories (and are their alternative types of stories).
  • Discovering the inspiration for a new fictional person.
  • Creating an initial character profile.
  • Fleshing out a character – different methods for building your three-dimensional person and ‘getting into your characters head’.
  • Creating believable back-story, and the importance of the ‘off page’ knowledge.
  • Voice – what is it and why it is important. Creating an authentic ‘voice’ for your character.
  • Introducing your character – writing a compelling opening chapter.

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