Creating Characters with Mark Dapin

Date and time: 6th December 2015 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Location: Kick Start Arts, Building 1831, St. Johns Ave, Hobart Tasmania 7009

Having worked in the magazine and journalism business for so many years, Mark’s fiction is influenced by the extraordinary stories of the real-life events and people he reported on everyday. And even his style of working is influenced by the strict word counts and tight deadlines of news industry – he finds that the chapters in his books tend to be about 3,000 words – the word-count of a standard feature article.

But most importantly, Mark’s long career in journalism has made his writing sincere. He achieves this largely by investing heavily in his characters, making them relatable and believable – he argues that this one of the most fundamental elements of writing. This workshop will help you to find the soul of your characters, to understand them better and convey their motivations through action, speech, association and thought processes. You’ll be on your way to creating characters that linger in the minds of your readers long after they’ve finished your story.

Participants will learn how to:

• develop credible, consistent major characters

• combine, delete or evolve minor characters

• build character through distinctive dialogue and vocabulary

• describe characters

• avoid making every heroic character an idealised mirror image of yourself.

For 10 years, Mark Dapin was an extremely popular features writer and columnist on ‘Good Weekend’ magazine. Then he moved into fiction, and found he had a knack for it! His first novel, ‘King of the Cross’, won a Ned Kelly Award. His second novel, ‘Spirit House’, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin, shortlisted for the Age Book of the Year, and shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Award.


This artist appears as part of the National Tours Project and is assisted by the Australia Council for the Arts.

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