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“Character is the vibrant pulse that brings a story to life,” says instructor Nina Schuyler. “When we develop characters through well-chosen details, they leap from the page, and we feel in the presence of unique, idiosyncratic individuals.”

In this 2-week class, we will move beyond the conventional ways of creating a character—describing clothes, hair, expression—into a deeper enactment of specificity, unveiling our characters’ motivations, desires, and vulnerabilities. We’ll read stories by Alice Munro and William Trevor, drawing lessons from them about how to create lively, fully-imagined characters. 

During the first class, through prompt-driven writing, we’ll start by creating character sketches. Those exercises will bring a few new characters to life, who will lead you to new stories you want to tell. Nina says, “Writing with granular detail helps to create a fictional character who becomes as real and intimate to us as a close friend. This dramatization is what the novelist Marilynn Robinson calls ‘the illusion of ghostly proximity to other human souls.’”


About The Writing Salon's In-Person Classes

Before your class meets, you'll receive an email from The Writing Salon with more information about your class. If you have any questions about in-person learning, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at hello@writingsalons.com.



    Nina Schuyler’s novel, Afterword, was published in May 2023 by Clash Books and was named a top book by Alta Journal and Bay City News and a June pick by Towne Center Books. Her short story collection, In This Ravishing World, won The Prism Prize for Climate Literature and the W.S. Porter Prize and will be published in July 2024. Her novel, The Translator, won the Next Generation Indie Book Award for General Fiction and was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Writing Prize. Her nonfiction book, How to Write Stunning Sentences, is a Small Press Distribution bestseller.

  1. Sunday, September 08, 2:00pm-5:00pm
  2. Sunday, September 15, 2:00pm-5:00pm


Sun, September 8 @ 9:00 pm PDT
Mon, September 16 @ 12:00 am PDT
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Nina Schuyler


San Francisco
2042 Balboa St.
San Francisco, CA United States
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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.

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