Pat Conroy Literary Festival
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Date & Time: Thu, November 4, 2021 | 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT
Location: Pat Conroy Literary Center | 601 Bladen St, Beaufort, SC (limited seating)
Virtual: Can choose to attend via Zoom
Cost: $45
Register Here for In Person & Zoom: Eventbrite

Characters who stay with us long after we put the book down or shut off the video are those who couldn’t come from any other geographic location. It’s as though they are born from the soil where they plant their feet. Their dilemmas, their passions, their ways of dealing with their conflicts are born of the geography or the circumstances from which they emerge. Who can forget Celie and Sophia in The Color Purple as they shake off the scourge of incest and spousal abuse? Or Serena in Ron Rash’s novel by the same name?

We’ll work on ways to build those memorable beings using a number of tools:

  1. Compressed-Time Journaling to hone in on who this person is and why we need to care about him or her.
  2. Using sensory detail to describe a main character so that he or she jumps off the page into the reader’s imagination.
  3. Creating dialogue that’s succinct and energized and moves the action along.
  4. Writing internal dialogue that makes the characters come alive.

Guided brainstorming will be implemented to build characters for our fiction work; we’ll practice with timed drills to flesh out aspects of their personality and generate possible plot angles. After writing examples of these aspects of character, participants will read some of their work and give each other feedback; Participants will leave with tangible detail of at least one character that will enable them to begin constructing a story or fleshing out a character in a novel or short story.

Materials and handouts will be provided before workshop.

About our instructor:

Estelle Ford-WilliamsonEstelle Ford-Williamson lives by a coastal river near Beaufort, South Carolina, having moved there from Atlanta, where she was a reporter for United Press International, a management trainer, and a college writing lab instructor. She published a historical fiction novel, Abbeville Farewell: A Novel of Early Atlanta and North Georgia, and co-wrote, with Majok Marier, Seed of South Sudan: Memoir of a ‘Lost Boy’ Refugee. Her newest book, a novel, Rising Fawn, was published in January 2021 by Wipf and Stock. An excerpt from the book was selected as a finalist for the Short Story America Prize in 2017. Along with Abbeville, it was selected for top novel honors at Sand Hills Writers Conference. She has twice been a Resident Fellow of The Hambidge Center, Rabun Gap, GA and was a writer in residence at the Decatur Library, and has presented previous workshops for the Pat Conroy Literary Center as well as Poets and Writers, Inc. She has received frequent praise for memorable characters who evoke the ground they walk on.

Photos as well as  short bios of all festival presenters are on the Presenter Page.
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