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Instructor Katharine Harer says, “Believable characters are an essential element of memoir and personal essays. Living, breathing characters deepen the possibility of human connection. Without fleshed-out characters, it doesn’t matter how exciting your plot or how dazzling your writing style – you’ll still leave a reader wanting more.”

In this five-week class we’ll learn how to develop characters through the use of a variety of tools and techniques, including sensory detail and fresh description; personal reflection and observation; short scenes where our characters speak and act for themselves; and the addition of bits of background and backstory when the piece calls for it. We’ll look at the differences between round and flat characters, learn about character arcs, and focus on giving our characters their own individual voices. Katharine will share strong examples of character-building by creative nonfiction writers such as Jesmyn Ward, David Wong Louie, Sarah M. Broome, Jean Guerrero, and David Sedaris.

Katharine says, “Writers with completed drafts, partial drafts, notes for a piece, or simply the desire to write in this form can all benefit from this class. You’ll do lots of in-class writing, and I will give you optional at-home assignments to practice the skills and strategies we identify and discuss in class.”


About The Writing Salon's Remote Classes

You will be able to participate in live class meetings via Zoom videoconference. To attend classes, you'll need a phone, tablet or computer and access to the internet. You can participate in the class from wherever you'd like, whether on your living room couch or in your office. Before your class meets, you'll receive an email from The Writing Salon with more information about Zoom and your remote class. If you have any questions about remote learning, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at hello@writingsalons.com.



No Instructor Specified

  1. Live Zoom Meeting: Tuesday, February 08, 6:30pm-9:00pm
  2. Live Zoom Meeting: Tuesday, February 15, 6:30pm-9:00pm
  3. Live Zoom Meeting: Tuesday, February 22, 6:30pm-9:00pm
  4. Live Zoom Meeting: Tuesday, March 01, 6:30pm-9:00pm
  5. Live Zoom Meeting: Tuesday, March 08, 6:30pm-9:00pm
  • I found Katharine's teaching style empathetic and helpful. She was always about improving, no matter what level we were at. 

  • I think Katharine is a great teacher. She gives everyone respectful, individual attention. She lets everyone have their own opinion and encourages us to listen to each other with the same empathy.

    Allison Payne


Wednesday, February 9, 2022 @ 2:30 am PST
Wednesday, March 9, 2022 @ 5:00 am PST
Event Categories:


Katharine Harer


Online (SF Zoom)
Live Remote Meetings, ZOOM
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Cancellation Policy

10 days or more before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 10% fee OR a refund minus a 20% fee.

3-9 days before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 20% fee OR a refund minus a 30% fee.

2 days or less before the start date for a class, the registrant will not receive a credit or a refund.

The Writing Salon cannot offer refunds, credits, or makeup sessions for classes a student might miss.

In the event of an emergency, we may consider a refund or credit, whether partial or full. We review these requests on a case-by-case basis, and we ask that you notify us as near as possible to the start date for the class.

Contact Us

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