help_outline Skip to main content

Contact Info

Pennwriters, Inc.
P.O. Box 957
Somerset, PA 15501

Online Course

Courses & Testimonials

Connect With Us

Add Me To Your Mailing List
HomeCalendarWriting Diversity: A Character Workshop: Instructor Fritze Roberts

Calendar - Event View

This is the "Event Detail" view, showing all available information for this event. If registration is required or recommended, click the 'Register Now' button to start the process. If the event has passed, click the "Event Report" button to read a report and view photos that were uploaded.

Writing Diversity: A Character Workshop: Instructor Fritze Roberts

Wednesday, June 5, 2024, 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada) (UTC-05:00)
Additional Info:
Event Contact(s):
Dan E Arndt
Online Classes Coordinator
Online Classes
Registration is required
Payment In Full In Advance Only
Available Slots:

All Pennwriters Courses are conducted in a “live” presentation format utilizing the Zoom platform. If a conflict arises based on the required meeting times, please contact the instructor and Online Courses Coordinator to find a possible solution. ALL sessions will be recorded and available to registrants.




You want to write stories with more diverse characters, but you aren’t sure how to get it right. That’s OK, this workshop is for you!


We’ll start by talking about how to research other cultures without being invasive or offensive. Then we’ll dive right in and workshop your characters. Participants should come with a one-sentences concept of their story and a brief character sketch.


If numbers warrant, participants will be separated into groups based on their character types and/or genre. Each group will receive one dedicated hour of in-depth discussion of tips and pitfalls for their particular stories.


This is a safe space to discuss race, gender, and cultures, and a safe space to make mistakes. A respectful and humble attitude is required of all participants.


Attendees will:

  • Discover resources for developing their characters
  • Understand stereotypes and how to avoid them
  • Leave with a better understanding of their own story and character



One Month On-line workshop:


Participants should fill out survey prior to first session. These are character based and will be shared and workshopped with classmates. If attendance warrants, participants may be sorted into break-out groups – within weeks 1 & 2 extra one-hour sessions will be scheduled for each type of character (e.g. African Americans, queer people, recent immigrants, differently abled, etc.). All participants will have 6 hours of class time, plus unlimited feedback via email.


Week 1 (2 hours)

Hour 1:

  • Brief get to know you and your character
  • Lecture style intro to terms and resources

Hour 2: Breakout group 1

  • In depth look at stereotypes and pitfalls
  • Troubleshooting for individual stories/characters


  • Understanding of “the marked state.”
  • Practical list of resources for researching culture and developing characters that aren’t stereotypes.


Week 2 (2 hours)

Hour 1:

  • Brief lecture on stereotypes, reader pet peeves, and “is it your story to tell?”
  • Character workshopping – participants will share their character sketches and receive feedback from the group.

Hour 2: Breakout group 2

  • In depth look at stereotypes and pitfalls
  • Troubleshooting for individual stories/characters

(If necessary, additional breakout groups will be scheduled in weeks 1 & 2)


  • Completed worksheet on what constitutes stereotypes and of the shifting reader response to character tropes.
  • Deeper understanding of their own story. If it’s NOT “your story to tell,” advice on how to approach.


Week 3 (1 hour)

Brief lecture: Practical tips - Not just slapping a different skin color on a white character. How to include a few key details.

Character workshopping continued.


  • Completed worksheet on character and related feedback.


    Week 4 (2 hours)


  • Practical tips – how to use authentic dialog without coming across as a racist/homophobic/etc author.
  • Exploitation and Struggles:
    • jazz, blues, house, hip hop – notes on cultural appropriation
    • oviolence- rape, slavery, exploitation, statistics and silencing
    • why people immigrate
    • The many scales of privilege
  • Q&A
  • Additional resources


  • Completed worksheet on dialog specific to character


By the end of this course, participants will have deep and detailed character sketches for at least one character in their work in progress.


About the Instructor:


Fritze Roberts is a freelance editor and former project manager who helps authors commit to their writing projects and enjoy success.


Fritze writes about monsters, aliens, addicts, and animals – even though she is none of these things. Her science fiction and fantasy stories contrast the small activities of everyday with the larger mysteries of life.




Twitter:           @FritzeRoberts