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Character and plot: A masterclass with Cambridge University’s creative writing tutors

Guardian Masterclasses

Saturday, December 9, 2017 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM (GMT)

Character and plot: A masterclass with Cambridge...

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Character and plot: A masterclass with Cambridge University’s creative writing tutors Dec 8, 2017 £129.00 £5.66
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Event Details

Uncover the relationship between plot and character and learn how to create believable characters and satisfying plots with Professor Jem Poster and Dr Sarah Burton of the University of Cambridge creative writing programme.

Which comes first, a great plot idea or a brilliant character? Ideally the two feed into each other, but it’s often difficult to know where to begin. Whether you have great ideas for stories and struggle with characterisation, or invent wonderful characters but are daunted by plot – or, indeed, if you find both challenging – this session will help you create believable three-dimensional characters and convincing stories for them to inhabit and influence.

Professor Jem Poster and Dr Sarah Burton, who currently lead the master’s degree course in creative writing at the University of Cambridge, will discuss how characters reveal themselves through speech and action, how plot may determine character and how character may influence plot.

Working in a supportive and relaxed environment, you will participate in practical exercises and be able to receive feedback and ask any questions you may have during the sessions. You will leave the day having learned to channel your understanding of the interaction between plot and character to create a consistent and convincing narrative.

This masterclass is suitable for all aspiring fiction writers, from beginners seeking guidance to more experienced writers wanting to sharpen and energise their practice. It is part of our four-workshop series – read more about our other masterclasses in the series here.

Tutor profiles

Jem Poster is the author of two novels – Courting Shadows and Rifling Paradise – as well as a collection of poetry, Brought to Light. He has won major prizes in the Cardiff International Poetry and the Peterloo Poets Open Poetry competitions. He is emeritus professor of creative writing at Aberystwyth University and has been chair of the editorial board of New Welsh Review. He is currently programme adviser to the Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education’s MSt in creative writing and director of its international summer programme in creative writing.

Sarah Burton has been course director of the creative writing MSt at Cambridge University’s Institute of Continuing Education since 2013. Her publications include two critically acclaimed biographies, Impostors: Six Kinds of Liar and A Double Life: A Biography of Charles and Mary Lamb, which was shortlisted for the Mind Book of the Year award; a children’s book, The Miracle in Bethlehem: A Storyteller’s Tale; a page-to-stage guide, How to Put on a Community Play, and the humorous Complete and Utter History of the World By Samuel Stewart, Aged 9.

Full course and returns information on the Masterclasses website

Have questions about Character and plot: A masterclass with Cambridge University’s creative writing tutors? Contact Guardian Masterclasses

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When & Where


The Guardian
Kings Place
90 York Way
N1 9GU London
United Kingdom

Saturday, December 9, 2017 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM (GMT)


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Guardian Masterclasses

Welcome to Guardian masterclasses – a unique programme of learning embedded within one of the world's most forward-thinking media organisations.

Masterclasses offer a broad range of short and long courses across a variety of disciplines from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation.

Harnessing the expertise and specialisms within the organisation, our courses are led by first class and award winning guardian professionals whilst also drawing on the skills and expertise of other leading figures at the forefront of the creative and digital industries.

The programme is aimed at anyone interested in personal or professional development whether that be refining your skills, focusing your ambition or simply broadening your mind and gaining inspiration.

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Character and plot: A masterclass with Cambridge University’s creative writing tutors
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