Character Building Workshop
How to Create Characters That Are Likable, Engaging, and Keep a Reader Glued to the Page
Characters are one of the most important components of fiction, no matter the length, subject matter, or style. Despite the splendors of science fiction and fantasy - the spaceships, the dragons, the telepaths and unicorns -- the most crucial part of a speculative fiction story is, as with a literary story, the characters, who enchant, entertain, engage, and generally become part of the reader's inner circle of friends.
How do you go about creating characters that shape your narrative and engage an editor to the point where they want to buy the story? What makes a reader care deeply about a character to the point where they remember them long after reading? What sort of problems should characters face, and how much should they change as a result of the challenge? What does the reader need to know -- and what can be left out? How do you create distinctive characters that can be easily differentiated from each other by the reader.
Information, annotated examples, and exercises combine in a class intended to help you master the art of character creation and come away with a better understanding and appreciation for your existing characters as well as the techniques for creating them in both short stories and longer novels.
Cat Rambo is engaging, personable, and supportive, providing insight, encouragement, and inspiration to students who want to pursue writing and publishing speculative fiction. She has been teaching classes and workshops for over three decades at levels ranging from 5th/6th graders through college, graduate level, and continuing at institutions including the Johns Hopkins University, Indiana University, Bellevue College, Clarion West, the PNWA conference, and more.
Her credentials include a MA in writing from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, where she studied with John Barth and the Clarion West Writers Workshop and the Clarion West workshop, where she studied with Octavia Butler, L. Timmel DuChamp, Andy Duncan, Gordon van Gelder, Michael Swanwick, and Connie Willis. She has been nominated for the Compton Crook Award for First Novel, as well as Endeavour, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards and is the former editor of Fantasy Magazine. Her own work includes over 200 short stories, several novels, a cookbook, a guidebook to Baltimore, and Creating an Online Presence for Writers. She is a two-term former President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). Her upcoming works include Exiles of Tabat from Wordfire Press (2020) and You Sexy Thing (Tor MacMillan, 2021).
She founded the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers in 2009. Students have gone on to publish novels and amass award nominations and wins, including Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and Eppie Awards. In the past decade, she’s assembled some of the most talented and inspiring writers and teachers working in the genre today, each speaking on their areas of expertise.