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This month: Crafting Secondary Characters: Beyond Friends, Foils, and Foes with Karen Odden
Well-drawn, diverse, complex secondary characters can add nuance, humor, and conflict to a novel or short story. This presentation examines different types of secondary characters—beyond merely friends, foils, and foes—and explores how to develop them so they sing for themselves while also harmonizing with a main plot line. Referring to their current work-in-progress, participants will have the opportunity to respond to two writing prompts and leave with exercises in hand.
Karen Odden earned her Ph.D. in English literature from NYU and taught literature and critical theory at UW-Milwaukee. She has contributed essays to numerous books and journals, written introductions for novels by Dickens and Trollope for Barnes & Noble, and edited for the academic journal Victorian Literature and Culture. For her first novel, she built upon the research for her dissertation on Victorian railway disasters, and all three of her books are set in 1870s London and the English countryside. A Lady in the Smoke (2015, Random House/Alibi) was a USA Today bestseller; her second and third novels, A Dangerous Duet (2018, William Morrow) and A Trace of Deceit (2019, William Morrow) have won awards for historical fiction and mystery. Her next novel, Down a Dark River, featuring an inspector at Scotland Yard in 1870s London, will be published in 2021. Karen lives in Arizona with her family and a ridiculously cute rescue beagle named Rosy. She loves to hear from writers and readers, and you can reach her at www.karenodden.com. I have a lot of materials on my website, under the FOR AUTHORS tab.
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