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Writing Difficult Characters

w/ Peter Polites

From Captain Ahab to Mrs Dalloway, all the way to that kid everyone hates in The Slap – it’s the difficult characters that stay with us. In this course we will study, dissect and bring difficult characters to life through a series of practical exercises and close reading.

Wednesday 6 October – Wednesday 20 October 2021 (3 weeks)
6.30-8.30 pm

$295 / $250 alumni


Character is the ground zero of so much storytelling. How do we give them body and believability so they appear real on the page and best tell the story they are in?

All characters in storytelling should be difficult characters. When we read a book they should surprise us, delight us and leave us feeling a little unsafe. Award-winning author Peter Polites (Down The Hume, The Pillars) will explain his process of character development and help participants give their creations the love and attention that makes them appear real on the page.

Through a series of intensive planning sessions you will be doing the important work of studying complex characters in order to shape your own.

We will take you through the essentials of building diverse, interesting and multi-layered characters who challenge our assumptions, transfix us, and stay with us long after a book is finished.


Writers you'll be working with:

Peter Polites

Peter Polites is a novelist from Western Sydney. He has written two queer noirs, Down the Hume and The Pillars, which won the 2020 NSW Premier’s Multicultural Literary Award. He also won the 2020 Woollahra Digital Literature Prize for Fiction. In 2021 he was the ACT Writer in Residence at UNSW Canberra and he is…

Course outline

In this unique, three-part course you will:

  • delve deep into your characters (who they are?);
  • test how they interact with each other;
  • find what is needed to bring them to life
  • look at what character detail is necessary
  • craft realistic dialogue for your characters

How to Book

$295.00 – Purchase Includes 10% tax