“In-depth exploration of story through my Character Perspective Exercises© expands and elevates the individual writer’s understanding of their emerging narrative.”


  • Dramatists
  • Writers of Prose Fiction
  • Poets
  • Essayists
  • Journalists
  • Writers of all ages and stages starting out or returning to the craft
  • Established writers seeking craft skills in a new field
  • Actors and directors committed to writing solid dialogue for stage and large and small screen
  • Academic writers wishing to strengthen their narrative push, and to infuse historic or actual persons with contemporary credibility
  • Anyone wanting to hone their story telling chops, with special reference to potent characters and structurally dependable narrative arcs.

Without question, the best workshops have been composed of an eclectic mix of people from various cultures and disciplines, with differing skill sets, at varied levels of their practice.

See side-bar, ENDORSEMENTS.


The online vocal and written exchanges are communal, intense and intimate. Feedback is immediate and mediated. We work hard to critique what you have actually written, not what we may have misheard, or re-wrote in our minds as we listened.

Your ideas are protected and your work respected. Group rapport is fundamental. Our four-fold purpose is to write, listen, challenge and support.

Only one phrase is actively discouraged: “If I had written this, I would have…”  The fact is, there is only one writer per project. The writer is the best judge of their work. The final arbiter is you.

There are rarely more than eight participants per course, its members meeting for two hours weekly. Courses span four to eight weeks, depending on the needs and availability of the applicants.

Courses are generally conducted on the weekend, most often Saturday, the most convenient time for working folk. I’ve given Wednesday night courses too. They work fine, but are a little more time zone sensitive, especially for writers joining the group from Europe.

And, of course, I’m always delighted to work one on one.


The exercises are based on live, group interaction. Assessment is careful, considered, respectful and rigorous: we determine what the writer actually wrote as opposed to what we think we heard. Work expands organically. Naturally.  Writing is re-writing. Only by exploring breadth and depth can we elevate new work.

Polished work and follow-up comments are exchanged between participants by e-mail, and live, on-line.

The sessions are real-time, computer to computer via. Skype, which is free, easy to download and simple to use. We use voice only, no cams. We’re writers after all. It’s the voice and the ideas it transmits, the thoughts, that count. The sound quality is always extraordinary. It really feels like we are all in the same room working together.

Each two hour session begins with a fifteen to twenty minute exploration of the basics — the craft — of dramatic or prose fiction narrative. Ninety minutes of writing and listening exercises follow.

“Whether you’re a seasoned dramatist, an established poet, a prose fiction writer seeking the tools to master a new genre, or just starting out, The Character Generated Story Workshop takes you quickly, with depth and precision, to the heart of your characters and the story you need them to tell.”

See FAQ, below, for answers to common questions.


E. M. Forster, in his wonderful collection of craft essays on drama and prose fiction, Aspects of the Novel, says it best:

“The king died, the queen died is the story;
the king died, the queen died of grief is the plot.”

I believe, like Forster, that the essentials of character, story and plot are common to both prose fiction and drama. In both genres, action speaks louder than words.

The plot, the arrangement of events — i.e., what the characters do, not only what they say — shapes the story.

Story drives the forward motion of the load-bearing narrative.


Forster also tells us the essence of all art boils down to two simple words: Only Connect.

Writing can be perilous, some say must be perilous.  Emotional audacity and intuitive courage must be balanced with knowledge of essential elements of craft and the intellectual discipline to establish a stable, sustainable practice.

“No tears in the writer,” Whit and Halley Burnet tell us in The Fiction Writers Hand Book, “no tears in the reader. No joy in the writer, no joy in the reader.”

You’ll emerge with a carefully worked, thoroughly assessed five hundred word story outline, a one page synopsis suitable for marketing/fund raising, and a three page ‘producer’s’ outline. You’ll have several carefully shaped chapters and/or scenes, a strong sense of beginning, middle and end and a grasp of the theme that will drive your work forward to completion.

You’ll be well on your way to an advanced draft of a work in progress, or the first draft of a new work.


The design of the live, on-line workshops arises from popular, successful live courses offered by MasterPlayWorks at L’Atelier La Roque Alrick in Provence, France, the National Theatre School of Canada, McGill and Concordia Universities, the Quebec Writers Federation, the Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society, writer’s organizations across Canada, private workshops, and one-on-one dramaturgical sessions in professional work environments countrywide and abroad.

Theory and practice, craft and imagination play off each other in lively, informed discussion moderated with rigorous criticism, careful insight and general good humour. The great strength of the courses is the timed Character Perspective Exercises, which are assessed live on-line by the group in positive, supportive, challenging exploration. Developed in tandem with my personal practice and award-winning professional publication and production history, my craft-oriented courses help writers strengthen the dynamics, thematics and architecture of their work.



Read FAQ to find Answers to Common Questions


“Kent Stetson’s course blesses the author’s process with lucidity. You come away clearer, sharper, sorted, inspired. His sessions rely on interactive growth. Progress is student-generated. The results are character-generated. One secret is his soothing, intense focus. He rocks each of his weekly international class meetings in friendly, safe momentum. Stetson structures each of those sessions with a concise discussion of an issue. Then he turns an unfailingly patient ear to the work being produced in real-time by the group. The humour keeping it all afloat is the kind that can only be earned by a prolific teacher who is publishing and producing award-winning work of his own. Stetson is the real thing. And this is the course I recommend to you if you’ve done your dabbling and you’re ready to write.”
– Porter Anderson, Novelist, Former critic for the Village Voice, NYC, CNN Anchor/ Producer, and fellow of the National Critics Institute of the USA)
“It’s obvious that Kent has VAST amounts of knowledge and insight to draw upon. Plus, his skill at being able to constantly pinpoint the vital elements in the work, draw out the things that made it work (or not), reference it to deeper ideas, open it up to a bigger picture. This amazed me . . .”
– Lesley McCubbin, Writer/Painter/Animater
“This course reminded me that to be a writer, you have to write!  In the very first session Kent gets you writing, and from then on you want to do your best. It’s exciting to have a writing project every week, then sit down in front of the computer, take a deep breath and read your work out loud to other creative people.  This is a terrific non-threatening way to get started on a creative project. I enjoyed every minute of the eight sessions.”
– JoDee Samuelson, Film Maker
“I started Kent’s course with a vague concept for a novel. Eight weeks later I had completed great character descriptions, a tight story outline, a short synopsis, my first two chapters were outlined and most importantly I knew exactly what my story was about. Kent’s comments were magical and he found beauty and depth in my writing I couldn’t see. His feedback encouraged me to keep working on my story and I frequently refer back to his notes and I continue to find inspiration in them.”
– Hasmi Fergusson,  Screenwriter, Novelist
“After a creative dry spell lasting a few years, this course has helped reawaken my writing. Not only do I have the material I generated during the course but my head (and my notepad) is now filled with ideas and for the first time in a long time I am writing regularly again. Kent teaches craft- he gives solid technique, but it’s far from the dry and and lackluster rules and shortcuts that some writing teachers try to pass off as craft.  He combines heart and compassion and humour and genuine knowledge in a unique way that pulls your work out from within you.”
– Jonathan Steward, Playwright/Novelist/Journalist
“Taking the course was a leap of faith, not in Kent, but in myself. It jump started my creative spirit and then offered me specific elements of craft with which to create and give expression to that spirit. Kent’s knowledge, experience, and listening skills illuminate the broader currents that underpin any narrative. Enormously stimulating and rewarding.”
– Bill Carr, Playwright/Actor

Read more Endorsements