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Masterful Worldbuilding: The Intersection Between Setting and Character [FULL]

Thursday, August 1
9:30 am - 3:30 pm
St. Helen’s C

Please join us for this Master Class with Kate Elliott.

Whether a story is set in our world or in a secondary world (one that exists only on the page), the author is nevertheless creating a landscape in which the story takes place. This Master Class will explore the meaning of landscape, environment, and setting as both an external and an internal map. The external map includes the crucial features that anchor narrative worlds—physical geography, cultural ecology, and features we can see and pin down. But characters exist within that map in complex ways. People and societies have an “internal map” that orients how they see the world, and influences their choices and the perspectives they cherish, reject, enforce, and share. In narrative, characters understand themselves and their relationships to others according to this internalized map.

Through exercises and discussion, this class will examine methods and approaches that build a rich, immersive setting, and learn how to frame your characters within the landscape rather than the world (whose details set a shallow stage that is little more than a façade). By really digging into the intersection between character and setting, it’s possible to highlight setting in narratively meaningful ways that also deepen characterization.

Master classes are small, focused workshops, limited to 15 writers and presented by industry professionals. This Master Class is five hours long and includes lunch. You must register to attend Master Classes at an additional cost. Please register here.


Kate Elliott

Kate Elliott has been writing science fiction and fantasy fiction and non fiction for thirty years. Her twenty-six books include her recent YA fantasy trilogy Court of Fives, the Afro-Celtic post-Roman alt-history fantasy adventure with lawyer dinosaurs the Spiritwalker trilogy (Cold Magic), the science fiction Novels of the Jaran, the Crossroads fantasy trilogy (Spirit Gate), Black Wolves, and the massive AND complete seven volume epic fantasy Crown of Stars (King’s Dragon), as well as a short fiction collection. Her work has been nominated for the Nebula, World Fantasy, RT, Norton, and Locus Awards. Gender-bent Alexander the Great in space coming soon. Kate was born in Iowa, raised in Oregon, and now lives in Hawaii, where she paddles outrigger canoes and spoils her schnauzer, Fingolfin, High King of the Schnoldor.

Kate Eliott