Characters through Action


If a story is a narrative of a character’s struggle to achieve certain goals, then how the character behaves is a vital element that defines his/her nature. Thus Characters through Action is a workshop aimed at helping writers understand and refine how they depict characters particularly through the use of action. Through a step-by-step process via collaborative and individual exercises, workshop participants will gain ways and means to create more engaging and well-rounded characters when writing fiction.

Pre-Workshop Preparation

For Participants

Please bring pen/pencil and paper or laptop/tablet for the writing exercises.

For Organisers

Please provide:

  • a quiet, fair-sized room that allows all participants to sit (with writing surfaces), preferably in a large circle or U-shape formation, plus ample space for the participants to move around in for certain exercises

  • a large whiteboard/flipchart and pens

  • pens/pencils & paper for participants (if they require)

  • make copies of handouts that will be emailed to prior to the workshop.


Participants' Feedback


What aspects of this workshop benefitted you the most?

"Learning techniques to build characters. I enjoyed that it's very interactive."

Qiao Wei

"The interactive aspects. Allows us to view things from different perspectives & challenges us to further develop our characters."

Christopher Yap

"Interactive — gives several perspectives from different people."

Yap Swi Neo

"The feedback, because I can learn from my inadequecies and improve.
It's amazing. Super fun. Wouldn't mind going for another one."

Kylia Koh

"The exercises — observations, walking around, recipes, hot seating — all these heped develop characters uniquely.
Thank you! Enjoyed the workshop immensely. Learnt a lot."

Meenakshi Palaniappan

"The 'real life' practical exerises like the observation and hot seat exercises."

Thecla Loh

"Verena does a good job in taking us systematically through each step and keep time so that we are on track."

Jing Ting

"Different perspectives to consider in character development. Using different techniques to achieve the same outcome. Getting exposure to different thoughts and view points.
Very well run and enjoyable class. I got exactly what I wanted out of the experience. Verena was both engaging and knowledgeable."

Naaila Francis

"I found the workshop really inspiring. There were a lot of practical exercises which really explained the theory in a fun way."

Nicola Marshman

"The various exercises that Verena made us go through challenged us at different levels.
Oh! Her reading and rendering just bring the stories alive!! Thank you."

Dr Priya

"Character development => discussions made it clearer for me as to how to 'show' characterization rather than just tell.
Good workshop."

Lakshmy Krishnan

"Interesting exercises to observe details, and discussions about how to develop characters.
Thank you for your helpful advice!"


"Analysis of different texts. Creative exercises that lead to character development."


"The examples provided to aid in learning & understanding.
Very informative and enlightening."

Elliot Lim

"The exercises really engaged me in fleshing out characters. The sample texts for analysis help me understand more about various writing techniques."

Nur-El-Hudaa Jaffar

"1. Going through the literary texts & exploring the devices used to depict character. 2. Our own writing exercises — no time to think — just do it.
Very fun."

Hannah Wong

"Learning how to use observation to create a fictional character. How daily observation can trigger the imagination to create unique characters."

Jazreel Lim

"The writing exercises, character outlines we had tro write and listening to other participants' writings and noting the details they included.
I enjoyed this workshop and found the writing exercises less intimidating than the exercises at the previous workshop. Thank you, Verena!"


"Reading short stories and analysing the method each author used to express the character in their 'how'.
I would join any & every writing course by Verena."

Maria Pressentin

About the Facilitator

A Singaporean writer, editor, storyteller and theatre practitioner, Verena Tay has published a short story collection, Spectre: Stories from Dark to Light (2012), and three play collections, and edited various fiction anthologies, including the bestselling Balik Kampung series of short stories published by Math Paper Press. She possesses three Masters: English Literature (National University of Singapore, 1993); Voice Studies (Central School of Speech and Drama, London, 2005); and Creative Writing (City University of Hong Kong, 2015). Since 2005, she has been helping people to improve their communication skills and has taught voice, speech and presentation skills, storytelling and creative writing.