A white cis man, aged 50, with square glasses, against the backdrop of a tree with deeply grooved bark.




Tim Horvath is the author of Understories (Bellevue Literary Press), which won the New Hampshire Literary Award, and Circulation (sunnyoutside). His fiction appears in Conjunctions, AGNI, Harvard Review, Best Small Fictions 2021, and elsewhere. His most recent project is Un-bow, a narrative/musical collaboration with composer Rafaele Andrade. He is at work on a novel and a follow-up collection, is a Visiting Writer at Long Island University’s MFA in Writing and Publishing, and also teaches at GrubStreet, Catapult, StoryStudio Chicago, Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School, and Manchester Community College.

Learn more about Tim at his website.

SESSION: See-Saws, Tiny Boats, and Distorted Mirrors: Creating Dynamic Characters in Relation to One Another

The traditional way of approaching and developing characters often involves shaping a character from the ground up, constructing their history and backstory, layering them with traits, and discerning their quirks, mannerisms, habits, beliefs, and desires. This is all valuable, but, in this session, we'll look at how we might think of putting characters in tandem with one another from the opening sentence. We'll consider how dynamic characters actually think of themselves and often modify their behavior, actions, and even beliefs in the presence of other characters. We'll look at characters ranging from the stories of Danielle Evans to the novels of Elena Ferrante and Valeria Luiselli, and consider how writers might avail themselves of the way characters invent and reinvent themselves depending on their situations and circumstances, especially under the pressures that so often give rise to story.