“Am I You?”: Getting to the Heart of Your Characters
“Am I you? That’s where the conversation begins always,” says journalist and author Michael Paterniti of character writing. In this intensive, through generative writing exercises, readings, and class discussions we will learn creative writing techniques that bring our nonfiction characters to life on the page. Whether you’re writing a profile piece or crafting a character as part of a larger story, we’ll explore interview techniques that go for depth, use dialogue and voice to enhance characterization, try our hand at profiling fascinating subcultures, and leverage background research to locate and tap into the universal stories that run through us all.
By the end of the course students will have a profile piece or excerpt focused on characterization, polished and revised with instructor feedback.
Session 1: ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Session 2: CHARACTERIZATION BOOT CAMP
Session 3: DIALOGUE
Session 4: WRITING SUBCULTURES
Session 5: HEAT & UNIVERSALITY
Faculty: Jenny O’Connell is a writer, freelance journalist, and outdoor guide. Her debut book project, Finding Petronella, traces her 2014 solo trek across Finland following the footsteps of a female legend into the heart of the Arctic Circle. A 2019 Maine Literary Award finalist and Pushcart Prize nominee, Jenny's nonfiction and profiles have appeared in Creative Nonfiction, SLICE Magazine, Maine Magazine, Appalachia Journal, Hippocampus, and Decor Maine, among others. Jenny earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Stonecoast. She lives in Portland, where she teaches creative writing, guides wilderness expeditions locally and abroad, and works for Stonecoast MFA on initiatives that empower writers to create positive change through the literary arts.
A computer with a good internet connection.
The Salt Institute of Documentary Studies at Maine College of Art presents Salt Studies, a series of snack-sized workshops, crash courses, webinars, and intensives to help refine your skills in the worlds of radio, podcasting, film-making, and rich media storytelling. These courses are made possible through a collaboration with our Office of Continuing and Professional Studies (CS), which offers a variety of courses in art education, arts, crafts, documentary studies, storytelling, and more.
Our CS courses are usually offered on the web using a combination of our learning management system (Canvas) and/or video-conferencing software (Zoom or Google Meet). This information will be shared with you prior to the start of the course.
If you have any questions about this or any other Salt Studies course in the CS catalogue, please contact us at CStudy@meca.edu, or call us at 207.699.5061
The full Salt Institute for Documentary Studies is officially the GraduateProgram, which offers 16 Graduate credits culminating in a full Graduate Certificate and which takes place over a 15-week semester onsite in historic Portland, Maine. If you are interested in the Graduate Certificate program, please check us out here.
This course has reached maximum enrollment.
Wait lists are available by calling our office.