Writing Difference Writing Difference Writing Difference

Writing Difference

Add depth and breadth to the type of experiences you're able to include sensitively in your writing, on weekends over four weeks.

Level

i
Improving

What do these levels mean?

Location

i
Online

Length

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4 weeks
  • Start Date
  • Time
  • Monday–Friday, 10.00–16.00

16
Spaces left

£495

16 in stock

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Bring your characters to the page with confidence and consideration

Any writer trying to create characters who, for whatever reason, do not usually appear in fiction faces specific aesthetic challenges. What happens if your character is less conventionally ‘relatable’? What if she is, for example, a British Muslim woman grappling with a religious crisis? Or a disabled man who spends two hours getting dressed each morning? How are such experiences – normal to those undergoing them, unusual to many readers – to be incorporated into literature? How much to explain? How much to ‘humanise’ without patronising both the character and the reader? How to avoid exoticising? And how can you introduce humour when you don’t know who might be laughing?

By examining texts where writers have successfully taken on these challenges – and those who have been less successful – as well as looking at the participants’ own work, this course will teach strategies for writing about minority experiences, whether the writer’s own or those of others.

Is this the right course for me?

This course is suitable for all fiction writers, whether you're an aspiring novelist or short story writer, or already published.

    This course will run Monday to Friday, 10am–4pm, comprising a morning session of teaching, discussion and exercises running 10–1.30pm, and structured afternoon writing time from 2–4pm. There will also be one guest session on Wednesday 7 September.

Course Programme

Session 1

Monday 5 September, 10.00–16.00

Introductions...

Session 2

6 September, 10.00–16.00

Difference and Dialogue...

Session 3

7 September, 10.00–16.00

Guest Tutor...

See remaining sessions

Course Programme

Writing Difference

Session 1

Monday 5 September, 10.00–16.00

Session 1

In our first session, we'll discuss introductions. How do writers introduce their characters? How much information do they include about their background – or is that left implied? We'll also discuss the notion of audience. Who is the assumed reader for your work? If you are writing a ‘different’ character, what pressures does that bring? Do you feel like you need to justify your character’s presence in a work of fiction? How can that damage the relationship between writer and reader?

Session 2

Tuesday 6 September, 10.00–16.00

Session 2

In this session, we'll be focusing on dialogue. We'll look at the work of various authors who have rendered ‘non-standard’ accents or characters speaking in languages other than English, and experiment with this ourselves. We'll discuss what it means for a character to be signalled by non-standard English. Is it more ‘authentic’ or is there the danger of patronising, even insulting, the character?

Session 3

Wednesday 7 September, 10.00–16.00

Session 3

Guest tutor

Session 4

Thursday 8 September, 10.00–16.00

Session 4

Our topic today will be Difference and Laughter. One of the most difficult judgements in writing is anticipating who is responding to your words – and why. Take humour. For a joke to be funny it needs to make someone laugh. But if laughter is at the expense of a traditionally disadvantaged person (sometimes known as ‘punching down’), how is the circle squared?

Session 5

Friday 9 September, 10.00–16.00

Session 5

As we begin our final session, we'll look back at everything we've discussed. Given what we have learned so far, what are the dangers of ‘writing difference’? And what are the opportunities? We'll discuss sensitivity readers – what are their purpose? And should our aim be to become ‘sensitivity writers’ – responsive to all aspects of our characters‘ existence and experiences?

Tutor

sameer-rahim-tutor

Sameer Rahim

Sameer Rahim is a novelist, critic and editor who has been working in literary journalism for nearly 20 years. His critically...

More About This Tutor
Sameer Rahim

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