Fall Craft Intensive: Laura WarrellWorkshops
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Loving Our Villains: Crafting Difficult (even Problematic) Characters
Sunday, December 3rd
9 AM – 12 PM PST / 12 – 3 PM EST
Fiction hinges on conflict and few elements of a story create more conflict than a forceful antagonist. What happens though if we want to write antagonists who are not only adversarial, but plain villainous, and perhaps even problematic? Do we need to humanize them so readers fully engage? If so, how do we do it without justifying their bad actions or ignoring their impact on the world around them? In this generative fiction class, we’ll discuss these questions and look at examples of characters in stories and novels who might challenge or even offend our sensibilities yet still manage to hold our attention. We’ll explore how authors use dialogue, backstory, plotting, and specific detail to strike a balance between understanding and reproach, nonjudgment and accountability. Generative exercises will help us identify our characters’ motivations so we can empathize and ultimately deliver them to the page in ways that make readers want to follow their journeys.
The scholarship for this class has already been awarded.
BIO: Laura Warrell is the author of Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize, and long-listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and the Golden Poppy Book Award through the California Independent Booksellers Alliance.Named a ‘best’ or ‘must-read’ book by Vanity Fair, People, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Apple Books, The Root, The Millions, Hollywood Reporter, Bustle, Today, Debutiful, and elsewhere, the novel was also chosen as a Good Morning America Buzz Pick, a Barnes & Noble Discover Pick, and an Indie Next List Pick. The novel was published by Doubleday in the UK in February 2023. Laura, named a “Writer to Watch” by Publishers Weekly, grew up in Ohio. She graduated from the Creative Writing Program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and she has attended residencies at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Tin House Writer’s Workshop where she taught in the online Winter Workshop in 2023. She has taught Creative Writing and Literature through the Emerging Voices program at PEN America Los Angeles, at Writing Workshops Los Angeles, and at the Berklee College of Music and other academic institutions in Los Angeles and Boston. Laura’s writing has been published in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Lit Hub, Los Angeles Review of Books, Huffington Post, The Rumpus, The Writer, and other publications. Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm is her first novel.