Building Characters From Real People
Taking characters straight from our own lives into the pages of a novel can often be problematic and result in one dimensionally passive characters. Shawn Shiflett, whose fiction tends to be semi-autobiographical, takes us through his process for embellishing real people into three dimensional characters capable of "shouldering" the weight of a story—characters who, as Faulkner once put it, "Get up and walk on their own." In the second half of the session, Shawn conducts a workshop in which we employ character-building techniques to create memorable personalities with their own unique complexities.
Shawn Shiflett is an Associate Professor in the Fiction Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago. His novel Hidden Place (Akashic Books) has received rave reviews from newspapers, literary magazines, and Connie Martinson Talks Books, (national cable television, UK and Ireland). Library Journal included Hidden Place in “Summer Highs, Fall Firsts,” a 2004 list of most successful debuts. He received an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship for his work and was a three-time Finalist for the James novel-in-progress contest, sponsored by the Heekin Group Foundation. New City Newspaper elected Shiflett to their Chicago Lit 50 list, an annual ranking of top figures in the Chicago Literary scene. He recently published Hey, Liberal! (Chicago Review Press), a novel about a white boy going to a predominately African American high school in Chicago in the late 1960’s.
Registration and Socializing 9:00-9:30
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