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SUMMER NOVEL SERIES: Writing Our Impossible Characters with Vu Tran

$65.00

In this craft class, we’ll tackle difficult characters by first unpacking what confounds us about ourselves: our desires and their countless permutations; our notions of legible and illegible humanity; even the limits and perils of empathy itself.

Start Date

July 28

Class Times

6:30pm – 8:30pm CT

Day(s) of the Week

Thursday

Sessions

1

Location

Zoom (online)

Instructor

Price

$65

In stock

Description

This class is part of our “Summer Novel Series,” a variety of single-session classes on Thursday evenings designed to tackle one element of novel writing in each class. You can take one class, pick and choose, or take all of them! You can find all other classes in the series here.


It’s widely agreed that empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, is essential in writing as well as in life. But even the most compassionate of us have certain people in mind—drawn from history, the current world, or our own personal lives—who resist our sympathies and elude our understanding.

At worst, they’re incapable of empathy themselves, or seem the opposite of us in some harmful or insurmountable way. At best, they’re loving and hurtful in equal measure, continually challenging any certainty about them. As fact or as fiction, these “characters” undermine our very desire to write about them. So how can we? And why is it important to try?

In this craft class, we’ll tackle these questions together by first unpacking what confounds us about ourselves: our desires and their countless permutations; our notions of legible and illegible humanity; even the limits and perils of empathy itself. And from there we’ll explore perhaps a more demanding, enriching form of empathy and practical steps in our writing that will help us access our most inaccessible characters and give them a fuller life on the page, whether they deserve it or not.

About Vu Tran

Vu Tran's first novel, Dragonfish, was a NY Times Notable Book and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Books of the Year. His short fiction has appeared in the O. Henry Prize Stories, the Best American Mystery Stories, Best of Fence, and other publications. He is the winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award and an NEA Fellowship, and has also been a fellow at Bread Loaf, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the MacDowell Colony. Born in Vietnam and raised in Oklahoma, Vu received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and his PhD from the Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is a criticism columnist for the Virginia Quarterly Review and is also an assistant professor of Practice in English & Creative Writing at the University of Chicago, where he directs the fiction program.