13 Ways of Looking at Character

Scott Onak’s fiction has been published in Ninth Letter, Mid-American Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, and Willow Springs, and his book reviews appear on The Rumpus. He earned his MFA in Fiction at the University of Idaho and has taught creative writing at the University of Chicago, Story Studio Chicago, and elsewhere. He has been awarded residencies from the Ragdale Foundation and Vermont Studio Center.

Next course starts on 22nd May 2018

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.

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.


There are three payment options: online (by credit card or Visa debit), post (cheque, bank draft or postal order) and finally, bank transfer/lodgement.


Check Out Securely

POST: You can send a cheque, bank draft or postal order made payable to “Creative Writing Ink” to us at Creative Writing Ink, Unit 1G The Atrium Building, Blackpool Retail Park, Blackpool, Cork, Ireland. Please also include your name, email address and your chosen course.

BANK TRANSFER/LODGEMENT: If you’d like to pay by bank transfer or make a lodgement, you can contact us at info@creativewriting.ie for our bank account details.