Winter 2022 Advanced Writing Class: Character and Scene

The winter class will focus on character and how character presents in scene. We will also consider how characters evolve in the longer story arc. We will compare the amount of exterior action in scene required of characters in popular genres to the degree of interiority expected of characters in literary genres. We will extensively explore subtext, the “thing beneath the thing,” (Corbett). We will “peel away the mask” that characters wear and look at their repressed desires, needs, wants, fears, and hidden secrets and wounds and the dark side of the maladaptive behavior they exhibit to cope. We will compare roles played by archetypal characters in a hero’s journey to those in a heroine’s journey. Finally, we will dive into what motivates desire in characters, including in roles for film and TV, and how these desires transform into believable reversals.


By the end of winter class, everyone, including those working on a novel, on stories, or on creative nonfiction will have a chance to workshop up to 40 pages. We will hold one major workshop session in the final two weeks of the winter quarter. Those who want more feedback are encouraged to sign up for workshopping in the earlier weeks as well.

Sally Rooney


Required winter texts: 1) The Art of Character by David Corbett, ISBN: 9780143121572; 2) The Compass of Character. also by David Corbett, ISBN: 9781440300868; 3) Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ballentine Books, ISBN: 9780345396815; 4) Story by Robert McKee, ISBN: 9780060391683; 5) The Heroine’s Journey: For Writers, Readers, and Fans of Pop Culture, by Gail Carriger, ISBN: 1944751343 (paperback, first edition, Oct. 2020); 6) Beautiful World, Where Are You, a novel by Sally Rooney, the 2021 first edition, ISBN: 9780374602604; and 7) Best American Short Stories 2020, Mariner Books, ISBN: 9781328485373.

Class meets: 10 Thursdays, 6:30-9:00 p.m., Jan. 6, 2022 through Mar. 10, 2022.

Where?: Zoom at this link:

Cost: $490

To reserve a spot in the Winter Advanced Writing course, please mail a deposit of $50 to Scott Driscoll, 7716 Dayton Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103.  The deposit will be deducted from the course fee.  Early sign-up is encouraged.  Please send me an email at to confirm that you are planning to sign up.

David Corbett

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