Building Characters from Real Life
Characters breathe life into a story, turning an abstract idea into a vivid representation of human experience. In nonfiction, writers build characters from the raw and messy material of real life. In this class, we’ll talk about techniques for rendering yourself and others as characters through scenes, dialog, and telling details. We’ll explore strategies from nonfiction, memoir, and journalism for researching and digging deeply into the thoughts, habits, manners, quirks, and substance of your characters.
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Madeline Ostrander is an environmental journalist, nonfiction writer, and author of At Home on an Unruly Planet. The former senior editor of YES! Magazine, her work has appeared in the NewYorker.com, The Nation, Sierra Magazine, and numerous other outlets.