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Sept 23: Crafting Secondary Characters

About our Speaker:

USA Today bestselling author Karen Odden received her PhD in English from NYU, writing her dissertation on Victorian literature, and taught at UW-Milwaukee before writing fiction. She sets all her mysteries in 1870s London. Her fourth, Down a Dark River, an Oprah Daily pick, introduces readers to Michael Corravan, a former thief turned Scotland Yard Inspector. The sequel, Under a Veiled Moon (2022), was nominated for the Agatha, Lefty, and Anthony Awards. Karen serves on the board of Sisters in Crime, teaches writing workshops nationally, and lives in Arizona where she loves to hike the desert while plotting murder. Sign up for her newsletter (which appears every 6 weeks) and connect with her at

About this Session:

Crafting Secondary Characters: Beyond Friends, Foils and Foes

Well-drawn, diverse, complex secondary characters can add nuance, humor, and conflict to a novel or short story. This workshop will present different types of secondary characters—beyond merely friends, foes, and foils—and explore how to create them so they sing for themselves while also harmonizing with a main plotline. Using familiar books such as the Harry Potter series and The Queen’s Gambit as sample texts, we draw upon the psychologist Dan McAdams’s concept of the “personal myth” to examine economical ways to develop all three elements of the myth—backstory, world views, and desires—for secondary characters.

Referring to their current work-in-progress, participants will respond to several writing prompts and leave with exercises in hand.


Virtual ZOOM

The recording will be available for 30 days after.


11:00 a.m. ET

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