Cross-Examining Your Character With Henry Lien

01/21/2023 10:00 AM - 01/28/2023 01:00 PM PT


  • $130.00  -  Supporting Tuition
  • $100.00  -  Helping Hands Tuition


Pressure produces unusual effects. This applies to your characters. This two-day workshop explores character development through interrogatory methods.

In the first session, writers will develop their main characters’ backgrounds, values, psychology, inner lives, quirks of thinking, speech patterns, and other critical aspects through a question-and-answer format.

In the second session, writers will engage in a method acting/improv exercise: volunteers will take on the persona of their main character, and the instructor will play the main antagonist or another character. They will then engage in a scorching argument in front of a live audience to see what pressure reveals about their main character.

Taught by a former litigation attorney and law instructor, this workshop will cover character development through dialogue and voice. Writers will leave the workshop with an in-depth profile of their character’s background and inner life and experience with how their character responds to pressure in a live, real-time setting.

Class Dates/Times:

Saturday, January 21 and 28, 2023 - 10 am -1 pm Pacific

Content Warning: The second workshop session will involve high emotion, raised voices, and material created by the participating writers that might come with content warnings of their own.

About the Instructor: 

Henry Lien is a 2012 graduate of Clarion West. He is the author of the Peasprout Chen middle-grade fantasy series. His short fiction has appeared in publications including Asimov’s, Analog, and F&SF, and he is a four-time Nebula Award finalist. Henry also teaches writing for institutions including UCLA, the University of Iowa, and Clarion West and won the UCLA Extension Department of the Arts Outstanding Instructor of the Year Award. Henry has previously worked as an attorney and fine art dealer. Born in Taiwan, Henry currently lives in Hollywood. Hobbies include writing and performing campy science fiction/fantasy anthems, and losing Nebula Awards.

This event will be held in Zoom. By registering for this class, you agree to follow the Clarion West Code of Conduct and Zoom policies

Limited Free Seating: 

We offer a percentage of seats in every class to People of the Global Majority (Asian, Black, African, Latina/o/x, Middle Eastern, Indigenous, Pacific Islander, and/or have been racialized as 'ethnic minorities') for free, regardless of financial need. Free seats for this class will be awarded by lottery approximately one week before the class begins.

Interested, eligible folks should email with this class title as the subject line. Include your full name and the best way to contact you in the email. For more information, see our equity and inclusion policies.

Sliding Scale Pricing:

The Supporting Tuition rate is shown for each class or workshop for folks who can pay it. Paying the Supporting Tuition rate enables us to continue to pay our staff and instructors equitably, as well as support access to classes for others who may be in a different situation. 

The Helping Hands rate is available to folks under more limited economic circumstances, no matter your background.

For more information, see our financial aid policies.

Our Refund Policy:

Clarion West will refund all class fees if the request is made 30 days before the class date. Refund requests made within 30 days of the class will be honored if we can fill the seat.

Any exceptions are subject to approval by our workshop staff.