Crafting Purposeful Secondary Characters

with Claudia Whitsitt

Saturday June 15, 2024 3:00pm US Central time • 2 hour webinar with instructor feedback on your writing

One-time Zoom webinar

Perfect for
Beginning and intermediate fiction and memoir writers

Live attendance is not required: enrollees can watch the recording at any time after the workshop!

A story is nothing without the characters that power it. It’s natural to want to focus mostly on your protagonist, but where would Frodo be without Gandalf, or Harry Potter without Hagrid? Arthur Dent without Zaphod Beeblebrox?

It turns out that the stories that readers love most are the ones that feature fully developed, three-dimensional secondary characters — and developing those secondary characters is a conscious choice that takes practice and skill to execute. Practice and skil that you can learn!

Join author and writing teacher Claudia Whitsitt as she delves into the art of crafting purposeful secondary characters in this in-depth online workshop. You’ll learn methods to give your secondary characters drive and purpose, how to flesh out their backstories and motivations to make them seem real and not stereotypical, and techniques for having them bump up against your protagonist in order to propel your narrative.

This workshop will focus on live interaction with Claudia and your fellow attendees as you discuss how to overcome the problems authors run in to when their characters take on a life of their own. You’ll also learn how to keep your secondary caracters focused on challenging, mentoring, and gate-keeping your main character — and much more.

After the workshop ends, attendees will submit a scene in which a secondary character interacts with the protagonist in a way that challenges them to change their thinking and actions. Write a totally new scene, or revise an existing scene of yours. Then, Claudia will give you detailed written feedback on your writing!

Due to the detailed nature of the feedback you’ll be receiving, enrollment is strictly limited and once this class fills up, no more seats will be made available.

Zoom schedule

Everyone enrolled in this webinar will receive a copy of the recording afterwards, so you can review it later in case you missed it.

  • Saturday June 15, 2024 3:00pm US Central time — 2 hours

How this workshop works

This workshop is a live Zoom webinar. Sign in from anywhere in the world and participate live as the instructor conducts the workshop, with time for Q&A at the end.

$99  •  2 hour webinar with instructor feedback on your writing

Student praise for Claudia Whitsitt

I’ve taken more than one of Claudia Whitsitt’s workshops and always come away energized and ready to put her teaching to work in my own manuscripts. She sets the right balance between presentation and practice, giving general rules for developing strong stories, then allowing time within the workshop for us to experiment with those rules in our own writing. The people in her classes stay engaged—they ask questions and participate enthusiastically. I’d happily take more of her workshops!

—Gayle Carline, author and columnist

I have had the pleasure of attending Claudia Whitsitt’s workshops for the Southern California Writers Conference for the past several years. Claudia is a vibrant and energetic workshop leader who shares her vast writing knowledge in an engaging and compelling manner. Her passion and enthusiasm for the craft of storytelling are contagious and her tools and tips can be instantly applied to any work in progress. I cannot recommend Claudia enough. Any writing conference or program, in-person or online, would be made better by having Claudia on staff.

—Janis Thomas, SCWC director

I attended two workshops led by Claudia Whitsitt at the SCWC24 covering the topics of voice and microtension. Her presentations were both relevant and inspirational. The short writing prompts gave me experience on how to incorporate the lessons in my writing, while the interactive nature of the sessions challenged me to take risks. She has helped me tremendously in my development as a writer.

—Paul Kim, writer

Claudia Whitsitt is a fantastic presenter and I highly recommend her as a guest speaker for your school. She is engaging, dynamic, and brings teaching experience into the assembly. Our reading teachers were very impressed by her presentation and I heard from the parents of several students who took the discussion home to the family. It’s high praise when a middle schooler wants to share the information with their parents!

Her experience as a teacher is apparent in her presentations. She presents in a way that grasps — and keeps — the attention of the students. She tailors her talk to the grade and interests of the class. She encourages student participation and allows the classroom discussion to lead the direction of the talk. I watched her present four times. Her presentation shifts focus according to the interests of the students, while still covering all the key points of her program.

Claudia Whitsitt is an absolute treasure. She brings a wealth of knowledge and skill to her presentations. I have been fortunate enough to watch her work her magic with a large group, and then lead a writer’s workshop session with my students in my classroom. In both instances, our students were eating out of the palm of her hand. As a former teacher, she knows how to reach students!

Claudia brings a relevant topic, terrific books, excellent teaching experience, and a very dynamic presentation to her assemblies. She is an excellent presenter and will be well-received by your students and teachers alike.

Questions about this class?

We’re happy to answer any questions you might have!

  • Contact us and a real person will get back to you ASAP.

About Claudia Whitsitt

Claudia Whitsitt

Claudia Whitsitt is the award-winning author of twelve books. She writes a variety of genres, from historical fiction for middle grades (The Kids Like You Series) to adult domestic suspense (Love and Loss Series) and romantic suspense (The Samantha Series). She has been a speaker at the Southern California Writers Conference for over ten years and also speaks at other conferences, as well as providing elementary, middle and high school writing workshops. As a former educator, Claudia brings 38 years of expertise to her workshops. Her books are praised for their “character’s individual humanity, even those who have done heinous things.” Find out more about Claudia at

Other workshops starting soon

Saturday June 15, 2024 3:00pm US Central time
2 hour webinar with instructor feedback on your writing

Enroll now