Winter registration starts soon! Registration opens for members on Dec. 5 and for the general public on Dec. 12.

Writing Characters of Depth (When Change Is Not An Option)

Genres: Fiction, Novel


Intermediate, Advanced

4 Sessions

Start Date: June 14, 2022
End Date: July 5, 2022
Day of Week: Tuesday
Time: 7:10pm - 9:10pm PT
Capacity: 15 seats
Member Price: $216.00
General Price: $240.00

CORRECTION: This class takes place on Tuesdays. This has been corrected from the print catalog.

We have been told that our characters must be capable of change, but what about characters whose circumstances leave them little room for it? What happens when the events of the plot, the tension of the atmosphere, the confines of the setting, or the character’s own fears narrow the possibilities? How do you develop a character of depth for whom change is not an option? We’ll examine this question through reading and discussing as four exquisite short stories, engaging in writing exercises, and workshopping your own character-driven fiction.

* All texts will be provided by the instructor and/or are available for free online.

James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”

Carmen Maria Machado’s “The Husband Stitch”

Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing”

Alice Munro’s “Dimensions”

Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum

Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum


Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum is the author of three collections of short fiction, most recently What We Do With the Wreckage, which won the 2017 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction and was published by UGA Press in 2018. Her earlier collections are Swimming With Strangers (Chronicle, 2008) and This Life She's Chosen (Chronicle, 2005). Her short fiction has been published in Ploughshares, McSweeney's, One Story, and North American Review, among other journals, and she has been the recipient of a PEN/O. Henry Prize. Kirsten teaches fiction writing at Hugo House and 9th–12th grade English at a small independent school near Seattle.

Hugo House will only process refund requests that are submitted 5 business days or more before the class start date. To request a refund, log in to your account, go to “My Account,” select the “Orders” tab on the left-hand side, click the appropriate order, and request a refund for your specific class. Administrative fees apply. Please see our full refund policy here.

Class sessions may be recorded if a session falls on a holiday, or if a student has access needs. Class recordings are not guaranteed.

We do not tolerate racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, transphobic or any other oppressive behaviors, regardless of who commits them. Please check out our full community guidelines by clicking here. If an instance of community guidelines are violated and not resolved within the classroom, students may let us know by filling out the student incident report.

Classes may be cancelled if less than 5 students are enrolled within 10 days before the class start date. If for any reason Hugo House needs to cancel a class, students can choose between a full credit or full refund.

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