Pet peeves, love spells, jealousies, invented ideals: character-driven fiction is an invitation to move beyond consistency. An ill-advised whim can grow into a ruling passion, and the bad guy, superstitious, rushes to found a charity. Loyalties shift. A desire may leap from the heart of one character into the heart of another. After the king’s death, the queen dies not of grief, but because she glimpses her double leaving the funeral. The possibilities unfold in all directions. In this wide-ranging generative workshop for all levels of fiction writer, the classical protagonist will get a makeover. Through exercises and free writing, we’ll explore how a more fluid sense of motivation shapes a story.
Hugh Ferrer (M.F.A. in fiction, The University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop) is a senior editor at The Iowa Review and the associate director of The University of Iowa International Writing Program. He has taught a variety of courses at The University of Iowa, introducing undergraduates to fiction writing, international literature, journal publishing, and Iowa City’s literary culture.