Craft focus: character in fiction

Course Dates: 26/10/19
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Tasha Kavanagh

In fiction, character and plot are inseparable elements of craft. Without characters in stories there can be no action, and without characters acting there can be no plot. In this course you'll learn how to create characters that can drive a narrative forward and deepen its themes.


What is the course about?

The most successful characters are those that come alive in the imagination, those so embodied it feels as though they could walk off the page into reality. For better or worse, when these characters act, things happen and readers pay attention. In this course you'll learn how to generate that power, using discussion and guided exercises to create characters that bring complexity and forward momentum to your stories.

Students say: "I've gained a good grasp of the essentials needed when focusing on character and character-driven narratives"; "I loved the exercises and the handouts"; "I feel thoroughly engaged and inspired to write"; "Fabulous!"

The Tutor: Tasha Kavanagh has an MA in Creative Writing from UEA where she studied under Malcolm Bradbury and Rose Tremain. She has worked as a film editor on features including 'Twelve Monkeys', 'Seven Years in Tibet' and 'The Talented Mr Ripley' and has had 10 children's books published. Her debut novel 'Things We Have in Common' was published by Canongate in 2015 to critical acclaim and was shortlisted for major prizes including the Costa 1st Novel and Desmond Elliott Prize. She is currently writing her second novel.

Build reserves the right to change course tutors from those advertised in this outline. In line with our refund policy we are unable to grant a refund on the grounds of a change of tutor.".

What will we cover?

- The essential components of character
- The role of character in fiction
- How to create compelling characters
- The relationship between character, story and plot.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Identitify 'round' vs. 'flat' characters and understand their relative importance in fiction
- Understand different types of character arc
- Understand how to create complex and 'counterpointed' characters (e.g. how different characters work to contrast or compliment each other in the same narrative).

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is suitable for any writers of prose fiction with an interest in developing their understanding of character. Experience as an avid reader of fiction and/or some experience of writing fiction (short stories, novels) will be helpful.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will explore examples of successful characters and character development in tutor-led discussion, practise your skills in guided writing exercises, and share your work to receive constructive feedback.

All writing courses at Build will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.

For classes longer than one day, regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no associated costs. Bring a pen and notebook. You may also bring a laptop or tablet if it is easier for you to type.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Collect the other Craft Focus courses on offer to give key elements of your writing the special attention they deserve. Or, why not try one of our term-long fiction courses? You may also enjoy a Reading for writers course, or the Craft of fiction reading and writing group. There are lots of options to develop your fiction available via the online prospectus. If you need help finding the right one, just give us a call!

All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for Build writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.

General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Customer Reviews 2 item(s)

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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

I would recommend this course. A lot of information is provided and you get many opportunities to put what you've learnt about into practice and get feedback.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 27/07/2019)
If you enjoy reading and have an interest in character & plots, in your favourite Genre - and would like to write short stories and/or a novel then book this class.
Course Rating
Review by Susan / (Posted on 27/07/2019)
Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

Book your place

Course Code: HW448

Please choose a course date 

Sat, day, 26 Oct - 26 Oct '19

Duration: 1 session

Full fee: £59.00
Senior fee: £59.00
Concession: £24.00

Or call to enrol: 222-66-889-99

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Any questions? [email protected]
or call 020 7492 2717

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.