Beyond the Basic Bi: Writing Bisexual Characters | Master Class

Writing Bisexual Characters Master Class

In this two-hour seminar, learn how to write powerfully compelling and uniquely successful bisexual characters with BiNet USA’s Faith Cheltenham

Instructor: Faith Cheltenham

When: ETA: Class Date Has Changed. See Note Below. 

Where: Online via ZOOM Video conference

Available Spots: 30

Price: $110 (Click here for scholarship opportunities)

Due to an unforeseen circumstance, this class is no longer taking place in February 2017. We’re moving it to late September 2017. An exact date and time are forthcoming! Please check back here or join our mailing list to find out the new date. Registration will re-open at that time. Thank you! 

Class Description

Fiction has always included bisexual, pansexual, fluid and queer (bi+) characters, but straight, QUILTBAG spectrum, and even some bi+ writers often struggle to avoid spreading harmful tropes, bisexual specific microaggressions, outright hostility or dangerous stereotypes. In this seminar, award winning bi journalist, poet and activist Faith Cheltenham provides writers with a comprehensive understanding of how to create complex characters that identify along bisexual spectrums, with bisexual identities, or living “bi+” lives.

When written badly, a bi character can result in people mistaking bisexuality for polyamory or thinking bisexual people aren’t likely to be men, nonbinary, pansexual or people of color. When bi+ characters are written terribly, bisexuals have hit the streets in hopes of avoiding mass misinformation being promoted as fact, whether it’s the myth of the “down low” that resulted in the erasure of bisexual men from decades of HIV outreach or the myth of hypersexuality and it’s link to the 42% of self-identified bi women and 35% of self-identified bi men who report being raped in their lifetime. Simply put, writing bisexual characters can be as dangerous a business as living life bi.

When bi+ characters are done correctly they can look like Ryan Reynolds playing pan in Deadpool, or a devilishly delightful Ralph Fiennes in The Hotel Budapest. When written wonderfully, fluid characters like the ones in Vivek Shraya’s She of the Mountains go a long way to “highlight the intricacies and power of a love that eclipses gender, time, and conventions.” (Publishers Weekly) When bi characters are done well, they appeal to 5-10 million bisexuals in the U.S. alone, millions more of bi+ and unlabeled people and those that love and affirm them.

Class Topics include:

  • Beyond the Basic Bi 101: Realities and Myths, Fiction and Fact
  • Attraction, Desire, and Cultural Contextin’: How bi+ characters frequently intersect with other communities like people of color, asexual, trans, nonbinary, and more.
  • Affirming language and how to avoid the stereotypes
  • Strategies for drafting bisexual story arcs
  • Crafting characters who are really bi+, no matter how they “label”
  • Ongoing resources and support for bi+ writers, authors, poets, erotic writers, journalists, media, and professionals

Click here to Sign Up

Scholarship Opportunities

There are spots in this Master Class available for Sentient Squid Scholarship recipients. Applications open on January 9, 2017.

If you do not have the financial means to take this class and feel that you will benefit from it, we encourage you to apply. We have a broad definition of financial need that ranges from writers who do not have the money at all to writers who have the funds but can’t afford to use them for a writing class. Please don’t hesitate to apply wherever you exist on that spectrum. (Still not sure whether you should apply? Read this post.) We’ve set aside five scholarship spots specifically for students who identify as POC or Native, though we do not limit the number of scholarships we’ll give to POC or Native applicants.

To apply, send an email (on January 9th or after) to with the subject WtO Master Class Applicant, and include in the body:

  • A brief (300 or fewer words) statement of financial need
  • A brief (500 or fewer words) description of a work or works in progress that you hope the class will help you write.
  • Indicate if you are an alumni of previous Writing the Other classes, seminars, or workshops and let us know which one.
  • If you identify as a Person of Color, Native American, or First Nations, you may indicate that if you wish (it’s not a requirement).

Deadline: 11:59PM Pacific February 12, 2017. We will notify all applicants of their standing at the latest a week before class begins. If you have any questions, please use our contact form to ask!

What Are Master Classes?

Seminars designed as a deep dive into a specific Writing the Other topic. While the online classes, Weekend Intensives, and Classic seminars provide a good foundation, the Master Classes go beyond the basics and allow writers to learn from and ask questions of experts in specific areas.

Who Should Take These Classes?

These seminars are available to any writer, but they assume some familiarity with the basics of the concepts found in the Writing the Other: A Practical Approach book. If you have not attended a Weekend Intensive or other course, retreat, or workshop, you can still take a Master Class as long as you have read the book and familiarize yourself with the material on the Resources page before class. (We suggest reading Invisible and Invisible 2 plus the links at the bottom of the page.) This will give you enough foundation for all Master Classes.

These seminars are designed to be particularly beneficial for writers who’ve taken one of our foundational classes. Are you an alumnus of a Writing the Other class, intensive, workshop, or retreat? Be sure to get your alumni discount code from your instructor.

What Are The Technical Requirements?

Class will take place in a Zoom Video Conference Room. You can attend the seminar from your Mac, Windows, or Linux computer, Chromebooks, Android smatphones and tablets, and the iPhone or iPad. Before enrolling in class, make sure your system is compatible with Zoom.

If you want to test your system to be sure, join this test meeting. (Please Note: Writing the Other does not run this test meeting. It is provided by Zoom. Any questions should be directed to that company’s support personnel.)

A webcam/video camera is not necessary for class, but we do need to hear you. Please make sure you have a microphone that works, either internally in your computer or via a headset, headphones, or earbuds.

We recommend having a Google account to participate in this class. Though video sessions are held in Zoom, the class mailing list runs on Google groups, plus supplemental material and the class video will be available through Google Drive.

Recording Policy

Master Classes will be recorded and a copy provided to all attendees after the seminar ends. An edited version of this recording may also be available publicly. Please click here for our full recording policy and privacy information for students.

Refund Policy

If you find that you need to drop the class, you may do so by contacting our GMail or emailing via the website.

If you drop by February 1st, you will receive a full refund minus a service fee.

If you drop by February 8th, you will receive an 80% refund minus a service fee plus a chance to enroll in future Writing the Other Master Classes at a discount before general tickets go on sale.

If you drop by February 15th, you will receive an 40% refund minus a service fee plus a chance to enroll in future Writing the Other Master Classes at a discount before general tickets go on sale.

If you drop after February 15th we will not be able to refund your class fee. However, you will get access to the full recording of the class, the opportunity to ask the instructor questions on the class mailing list after the live class, and access to all supplemental materials provided by the instructor.