Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

“Too often we think of the secondary character as inconsequential, there to meet a plot need," says instructor Lori Ostlund. "When I write a secondary character, I want the reader to feel that they would be happy to follow that character home from the scene instead of the main character.”

Secondary characters can be the key to adding surprise, depth, and tension to scenes and the work overall, though not if we writers are unwilling to see them as characters in their own right. In this class, we will talk about ways to build more interesting secondary characters, study common relationship types, and do exercises aimed at creating more dynamic interactions between characters by thinking from the perspective of the secondary character.

In addition to looking at examples from novels and short stories, we will focus on writing exercises aimed at developing secondary characters with an emphasis on dialogue and actions that create tension and surprise and that nudge other characters into conflict, revelation, and action. We will workshop these exercises in class.

Lori says, “My goal is for students to leave the class with a new way of thinking about secondary characters, both as a means of jumpstarting revision on old projects and approaching new projects from a different angle.”


About The Writing Salon's In-Person Classes

In-person class schedules are subject to sudden change or cancellation due to Covid. We will communicate any course changes to you as quickly as possible. Masking, social distancing, and other Covid measures will be enforced in accordance with local guidelines. 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.



No Instructor Specified

  1. Sunday, October 29, 10:30am-1:00pm
  2. Sunday, November 05, 10:30am-1:00pm
  3. Sunday, November 12, 10:30am-1:00pm
  4. Sunday, November 19, 10:30am-1:00pm
  5. Sunday, December 03, 10:30am-1:00pm
  • Lori is a great teacher, and came with a plan. She was kind and patient, and steered/started conversations in a tactful way.  She skillfully led discussions of the samples we read. When it came to critiquing our own work, any comments were couched in constructive language, and she set the tone for critiques.

    She was much more accessible than other teachers I have had in the past. She even went so far as to think further about questions she had already answered in class, and e-mail her thoughts to us later.

    Carole Stivers
  • Lori Ostlund has an incredibly deep understanding of how fiction works. The lecture portion gives me useful tools, the prompts get me writing, and the workshop feedback gives me actionable next steps for my writing. It was the ideal mix of lecture, exercises, and feedback.

    I've loved every class I've taken from Lori Ostlund. I would enroll in any new class that she offered in the future.

  • Lori is an excellent instructor: insightful, thoughtful, and engaging. The balance between lecture and workshop felt appropriate and gave structure to a fairly large class. Amazing! Lori has a very approachable teaching style while still providing structure and encouraging growth. I think I got exactly the push I needed to dive deeper into my scene work. I greatly appreciated the chance to receive and provide feedback.

  • "Lori's teaching style is superb. She is a very courteous and engaging teacher, who is extremely knowledgeable and generous with her knowledge and with her craft. I always come out of her classes feeling more confident about my writing."

    Maria S.


Sunday, October 29, 2023 @ 5:30 pm PDT
Sunday, December 3, 2023 @ 9:00 pm PDT
Event Categories:
, ,


Lori Ostlund


San Francisco
2042 Balboa St.
San Francisco, CA United States
+ Google Map


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

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Start typing and press Enter to search