The Outer Limits of Inner Life: Building Consistent but Surprising Characters (Online)

ENGLSH X 475.2

3.00 units

Reg. # Status Location Start Date Qtr/Yr Fee
Y8451B Closed online 1/16/2013 WI 13 $579 Notify Me

Readers connect with characters who feel drawn from real life. The key to crafting this true-to-life illusion is learning how to build a coherent physical, psychological, emotional, and sociological framework that still possesses the freedom to surprise. In this course, you learn key techniques for building memorable characters--including drawing on one's own emotional experiences, probing the unconscious for the unpredictable, and asking the core questions that illuminate behavior. In addition, you explore how to resolve the tension between story and character so they don't work at cross-purposes: how to recognize the key story idea, how to allow it the open-endedness that invites fresh characterization, and how to make daring, counter-intuitive character choices that bring the story to life. Through building dynamic character biographies, you generate scenes that dramatize the emotional core that makes a character compelling. Through analysis of story structure, you learn how to dramatize the protagonist's growth from unconscious reaction to the "crisis of insight," and to the decision to "change or die" that leads to the climactic confrontation with the core problem or opponent. The course goal is to construct character biographies in the service of a completed novel chapter, a short story, or a film treatment. For technical requirements click here.

Prerequisite: 1 previous creative writing course.

Enrollment limited to 15 students.


January 16 - March 20

This course does not require textbooks.