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Writing Workshops

Character Development: Summoning Compelling Players Who Drive Story with Debra Jo Immergut


2 Sessions

Out of stock

Saturday & Sunday 11:00 am EDT - 2:00 pm EDT June 10 to June 11, 2023

Online via Zoom

It’s the writer’s most godlike act: the conjuring of complex characters who feel as real and known as anyone we really know—or more so. During this weekend, we’ll begin as gods. We’ll explore a variety of tactics for breathing the spark of life into our creations. Then we’ll turn these complicated people into our partners, allowing them to direct us into more compelling narratives. William Faulkner makes it sound simple: “It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up.” It’s probably not that simple, but over two days of work together, we’ll get our characters up on their feet and moving. We’ll begin to know their headaches and heartaches. We’ll learn to trust their innate wisdom, to shower them with compassion (even when we dislike them), and best of all, to be surprised by their choices. The bootcamp will consist of generative exercises, illustrated craft talk with examples, discussion, and opportunities to share bits of work. Fiction and nonfiction writers welcome.

Course Outline
  • Day 1
    • Familiars and Unfamiliars
    • The Yearnings
    • Steering Toward the Rapids
  • Day 2
    • The Writer’s Gaze
    • Character Mapping
    • Timbre and Pitch

Capacity: 20


Led by

  • DJIpic1 - Debra J. Immergut

    Debra Jo Immergut

    Debra Jo Immergut

    Debra Jo Immergut is the author of the novels You Again, named a New York Times Best of the Year and shortlisted for the Gotham Book Prize, and The Captives, an Edgar Award finalist for Best Debut Novel by an American Author and published in over a dozen countries. She has also published a collection of short fiction, Private Property. Her essays and stories have appeared in American Short Fiction, Narrative, the New York Times, PANK, and elsewhere. She received Michener and MacDowell fellowships and has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Learn more at