Deep Dive Intensive: Creating Diverse Characters

deep dive intensive - creating diverse characters

When: February 26 – March 12, 2022
Where: Online via Zoom or Asynchronous classroom, accessible at your own pace
Price: $250 – $350
Scholarships Available

Representation is fundamental to writing great fiction. Creating characters that reflect of the diversity of the world we all live in is important for all writers and creators of fictional narratives. But writers often find it difficult to represent people whose gender, sexual orientation, racial heritage, or other aspect of identity is very different from their own. This can lead to fear of getting it wrong–horribly, offensively wrong–and, in the face of that, some think it’s better to not even try.

But representation is too important to ignore. And it is possible to write characters who represent the “Other” sensitively and convincingly. This course will provide writers with a solid foundation in how to craft characters from any background, no matter how different they are from you.

Authors Nisi Shawl, Piper J. Drake, and K. Tempest Bradford will dive deep into character creation with writing exercises, discussion, and lectures on intersectionality, character relationships, avoiding stereotypes and tropes, and depicting people from different genders, sexualities, classes, ethnicities, ability levels, and religious backgrounds Students will come away with resources for further study.

Who Should Take This Class?

Writers of all genres — Literary, YA, Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Children’s Books, Romance — and all mediums — Prose, Playwriting, Screenwriting, Comics/Graphic Novels, Games — at any point in their career from newbie to professional. This class is designed so that any writer who wants to write inclusive fiction well and create characters who aren’t caricatures will find it beneficial.

Course Format, Schedule, and Time Commitment

Please read carefully as there are two options available for this class and they are different from previous versions of the diverse character deep dive.

Option 1: Weekend Intensive Plus ($350) — On Saturday and Sunday February 26 & 27 students will gather virtually on Zoom from 10AM to 7PM Pacific (with multiple breaks!) for lectures, Q&A, discussion, and writing exercises with live feedback. From Monday February 28th through Saturday March 12th students can log in to a private WordPress forum for further discussions based on readings and more writing exercises. This section of the class is asynchronous, meaning you can log in at any time and participate on your schedule.

This option is limited to 25 students.

Option 2: Asynchronous ($250) — Writers who cannot join us for the live Weekend Intensive can chose this option. Starting February 26 you’ll have access to the private WordPress classroom where we will post lectures in text form and the recordings of the sessions. Starting on the 28th we’ll post readings, discussions, and more writing exercises (some of which instructors will offer feedback on). For this option you can log in at any time and participate on your schedule.

The time commitment for the Asynchronous portion of the class will depend on your level of participation. Discussions based on lectures, short readings, and writing exercises will take place during the week. Discussion threads tend to be wide-ranging, so students should try to check in at least once a day or every other day. You may manage your time as needed based on your own schedule. 

On March 4, 5, 6 and 12 there will be live Q&A sessions with the instructors on Zoom open to all students. (Times will be determined by student availability.)

All class work is done on Google Drive, so please ensure you have a Google account before class. 

Required Texts

Please buy the following texts before class begins.


The class takes place in Zoom and in a private WordPress with a theme designed for accessibility. Homework files will be available through Google Drive. We will provide closed captions auto-generated by Rev during the Zoom sessions. Some class material will be in the form of video lectures. Each has closed captions and a text transcript available. The class mailing list will be through Google Groups. All of these services are accessible to students using screen readers.

If you have questions about potential needs, or if there are any other ways we can make a class accessible for you, please contact us before registering and we’ll answer within 24 hours.

Other than a computer, the only other technical requirement for the class is a Google account. If you don’t have one, you can create a free one just for this class.

Full and Partial Scholarship Opportunities

Scholarships are available for both the Weekend Intensive Plus and Asynchronous class options.

If you do not have the financial means to pay for all or part of the registration cost for the class, 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. We especially encourage writers who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to apply. Wherever you exist on the financial needs spectrum, don’t self reject! (Still not sure whether you should apply? Read this post.)

Additionally, in acknowledgment of the difficulty Palestinian writers may have in accessing resources and the obstacles their voices face in being heard, we have decided to set aside scholarship spots to writers of Palestinian heritage.

IMPORTANT: We set aside scholarship spots ahead of opening registration. Even if this class sells out before the deadline, scholarship spots are still reserved. If you plan to apply for a scholarship you do not need to register for the class below.

If you can afford to pay for part but not all of the registration fee, please apply for a partial scholarship. Under this financial aid plan you can let us know the amount you can afford. If you cannot afford to pay at all, please apply for a full scholarship. 

To apply, please fill out this form. You’ll be asked to provide:

  • 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.
  • A writing sample of 1000 or fewer words. This can be an excerpt from a longer work or flash fiction, from something published or unpublished, as long as it represents what you feel is your best work.
  • IIf you customarily identify as POC, BIPOC, or BAME, or are of Palestinian heritage, you may indicate that if you wish. (We set aside some scholarship spots specifically for students with these identities, though we do not limit the number of scholarships we’ll give to these applicants.)

Deadline: 11:59PM Pacific February 13, 2022. We will notify all applicants of their standing by February 16. If you have any questions, please use our contact form to ask!

Refund Policy

If you find that you need to drop the class, you may do so by requesting a refund via Eventbrite.

If you drop by February 10, you will receive a full refund minus a service fee.

If you drop on February 11th or after you will not have your registration fee refunded. However, you can use the funds as credit towards a future class.

Register Below

If you have a Gift Card, discount, or code to access tickets, please click the “Enter promo code” link in the Registration box below before you begin the process. If the box below gives you trouble, click here to register on our Eventbrite page.