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When It Comes to Fiction, Character Rules: Barbara Claypole White

Barbara Claypole White
HILLSBOROUGH—Author Barbara Claypole White will lead the session “How to Give Your Characters Voice” (fiction) at the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2021 Fall Conference, November 19-21, at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham/RTP.

Conference registration is open.

Originally from England, bestselling author Barbara Claypole White writes and gardens in the forests of Orange County. Her passion for chipping away at stereotypes of mental illness inspires quirky stories about troubled but courageous characters, complicated relationships, and crazy critters . . . topped off with a dollop of hope. Her novels include The Perfect Son (a Goodreads Choice Awards Semifinalist for best fiction), and The Promise Between Us, which won an international Nautilus Award for books that foster change. Novel six, The Gin Club, is currently on submission. To connect with her, please visit

This year, NCWN is asking authors for “one good piece of advice,” either something they were once told that they never forgot, or something they wished they could go back and tell their younger selves.

“Don’t rush to publication,” Barbara says. “Take the time to honor the story and excavate its true heartbeat. Publishing can be infuriatingly slow, but the end result should be nothing less than your best work. Write with passion and pride and keep learning your craft.”

Whether Barbara Claypole White is creating a secondary teen character or breathing life into a male protagonist with PTSD, character voice is her everything. In “How to Give Your Characters Voice” (fiction), we’ll talk about how to honor our story by building powerful characters with distinct and memorable voices. We’ll discuss the importance of character research and how to edit by character. POV will also come under our microscope: How many POV characters do we need and how can we weave together multiple POV chapters without slowing the pace? Bring your work-in-progress or a blank page, and we’ll play with different techniques. Character rules, y’all.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green will give the Keynote Address. Other fiction classes include “Conjuring Magic in Fiction” with Karen Tucker and multigenre offerings such as “Getting Back into the Writing Groove” with Heather Bell Adams, sponsored by, and “The Power of Mindset for Your Writing Life” with Michele T. Berger.

Register here.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit