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FICT 92 W — Writing Character-Driven Fiction

Quarter: Winter
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 16—Mar 22
Refund Deadline: Jan 19
Units: 3
Tuition: $1000
Instructor(s): Evgeniya Dame
Limit: 19
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Jan 16—Mar 22
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 19
3 Units
Evgeniya Dame
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
While plot may be the engine of prose, character is its beating heart. We remember the terse Olive Kitteridge, the shy Arthur Less, Katie Kitamura’s intensely observant and resolute protagonists, long after putting down the books featuring these memorable characters. Character-driven fiction puts people first, asking us to get to know them in all of their idiosyncrasies, and lets their behavior and attitudes shape the plot.

In this writing-intensive, generative course, we will explore the mechanisms that writers use to create strong, memorable characters and to build stories around them. Each week, we will look at a new aspect of character-driven fiction using observation exercises, research practice, and initial prompts to build scenes and find the story. We will read work by past and contemporary masters of character-driven fiction, including Charles D’Ambrosio, Edith Pearlman, Elizabeth McCracken, Evan S. Connell, and Andrew Sean Greer. In the first half of the course, we will produce a portfolio of several characters to serve as a springboard for future writing. In the second half, students will submit a short story or a novel fragment (up to 3,000 words) that explores one of the characters in depth for instructor and small-group feedback. The course is designed for writers of all levels working on short- or long-form fiction.

Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Evgeniya Dame received an MFA from the University of New Hampshire, where she was a Fulbright Fellow from Russia. Her fiction and essays have appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story, Ploughshares, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Joyland, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and received support from the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and Monson Arts. She is a fiction editor at Joyland and is at work on a story collection and a novel.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.