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Beyond Main Characters: An In-Depth Look at Your Supporting Cast and Transitional Scenes 2015 | March 29 – April 1, 2015

Your protagonist is real. The conflict concrete. The plot compelling. Your novel seems complete. Yet something is missing. Maybe those supporting characters and transitional scenes need more attention than you’ve given them. But what to do? How can you make them hold their own? How can you move the action smoothly from scene to scene?

Join authors Jan Cheripko and Hannah Barnaby for an in-depth look at answering such questions.

This unique four-day workshop — featuring an evening with Newbery Honor Book winner Patricia Reilly Giff and a discussion with award-winning historical novelist Clara Gillow Clark — begins with a review of the basic elements of a great novel, with an eye on supporting characters and transitional scenes.

Discussion sessions will focus on examples from the classical works of Shakespeare, Dostoevsky and Dickens to the current cutting-edge novels of Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Suzanne Collins, Gayle Forman, and more. Additionally, we’ll be viewing and analyzing excerpts from great movies that present fully developed supporting characters and seamless transitional scenes.

Each participant will experience two one-on-one review sessions centering on specific supporting characters or troublesome scenes; directed writing exercises for reaching a better understanding of minor characters; reading sessions among participants, and plenty of time to write.

Faculty & Special Guests

"It was wonderful to have so much structured writing time, meeting other writers, getting small-group critiques and one-on-one instruction, and being in such a beautiful place."—Emma Otheguy, 2014 attendee, New York, NY

"For me, the workshop was a great balance between my own private writing time and learning with (and from) others as we looked at characters in Shakespeare — the master, Cheripko says, of the minor character. I’m not going to give away too much…but here’s one takeaway: Every character counts. And while this is something I knew, it’s also something I sometimes forget."—Madelyn Rosenberg, 2014 attendee and author of several novels and picture books, including the recently published novel, Dream Boys.