13 Ways of Looking at Character

Scott Onak’s stories have been published in Ninth Letter, Midwest Gothic, SmokeLong Quarterly, Willow Springs, and Mid-American Review. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has received an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award. He holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Idaho and has received writing residencies from the Ragdale Foundation and Vermont Studio Center.

Next course starts on 25th May 2021 – FULL

Price: €150

Duration: four weeks

Course is strictly limited to 5 participants.

At the heart of any story is character–a person that readers can connect with, root for, cry over, love (or love to hate), but most importantly, someone who is believably human.

This writing course will investigate ways to bring our characters into complex life. We’ll explore creating voice, identifying desire, and capturing the concrete ways they move through the world. And we’ll also approach characters from the not-so-obvious angles. Students will put these principles into practice and complete weekly exercises. Scott will provide written feedback on all exercises.

The course welcomes both fiction and nonfiction writers, introducing skills that can help you generate characters for fiction or capture the people from your own life.

Week One: The Concrete

In Module One, we’ll look at the concrete, direct ways that writers can shape a character’s personality, including appearance, name, possessions, and habitat.

Week Two: Voice & Dialogue

The second week focuses on voice, the singular way of thinking and talking that defines how our characters communicate. We’ll practice dialogue and open our ears to what others have to say about our characters.

Week Three: Desire

We turn next to desire: what our characters want and why. We will consider the benefits of making their lives difficult and ask the important question: what if our characters aren’t likeable?

Week Four: The Wider World

In the final module, we’ll look at ways that nonhuman entities (places, animals) can act as characters, and we will examine the larger social forces that influence our characters.

“I would highly recommend this course. Scott is an excellent tutor and the course material is thought provoking, challenging and fun.” Marie

To find out more about how the online courses work, or if you have any further queries, you can check out our Frequently Asked Questions or email us at info@creativewriting.ie

Our cancellation/refund policy may be viewed here.

PAYMENT/REGISTRATION: Please note that we do not require you to fill out a registration form. Instead, please click on the ‘Check Out Securely’ button below. During the payment process you can input your name and email address which we will use to register you on the course. If you’d prefer to use another email address for the course correspondence or if you’re paying on behalf of another student, when you have processed the payment, please send the relevant email address and name for the course correspondence to info@creativewriting.ie. Once you have processed the payment, we will email you within 24 hours to confirm receipt.


BANK TRANSFER/LODGEMENT: if you don’t have a card to pay for the course, you can pay through bank transfer or bank lodgement. Please email us at info@creativewriting.ie for our bank details.

POST: We no longer accept cash, cheque or money order payments by post.