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Quixotic Characters: Fiction Writing with Adbeel Cardoso (online Session 2 22) is a Course

Quixotic Characters: Fiction Writing with Adbeel Cardoso (online Session 2 22)


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Full course description

There is a separate application process for this course. If you have not been accepted into the Iowa Young Writers' Studio online Summer Residential Program you are not eligible to enroll.

Fiction Writing with Adbeel Cardoso: Quixotic Characters

You want to write an original, unforgettable, knock-the-reader’s-socks-off piece of fiction? Simple. It’s all about character, end of story. Out of the wide array of topics we could cover within the world of creative writing, like plot, tension, beginnings, ending, fantasy, sci-fi, realism, voice, dialogue, themes, identity, fate, verisimilitude, pacing, structural experimentation, comedy, metafiction, setting, description, figurative language, etcetera etcetera, none will make or break your story as much as character. The most memorable books in history tend to be the ones that depict the most vivid characters, characters who seem to jump off the page and live within our imaginations. These are characters who are so alive that we can imagine what they might do if we, for example, ran into them in a cafe, or if they were our siblings. One of these giant characters within literature is Don Quixote. You can read about his adventures in a book that many critics consider to be the first modern novel in the western literary tradition: The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha. In fact, so many great authors have been inspired by the fearless, enigmatic Don Quixote, that we can trace a lineage of “quixotic” characters, many of whom have also gone on to become timeless heroes of our collective literary imaginations. So then, that will be the topic we will explore in this class: what exactly makes a character “quixotic,” why have so many great writers been drawn to these particular quixotic characteristics, and how can you create your own timeless quixotic characters? First, we will meet Don Quixote himself and identify the quixotic strains within him: the literary DNA necessary to create someone akin to him. Then, we will read a handful of writers who adapted the quixotic lineage to suit their own particular styles. And of course, you will have the opportunity to round out your own characters with timeless quixoticisms. I can’t wait to see what characters will jump off your pages, what you reveal about human nature, about this experience that we call life, about the machinations of human psychology, about our deepest desires and fears, about our wisdom and ignorance as a species. By the time this course is finished, I’m confident that you will have made a huge leap towards your dream of being an outstanding, original, unforgettable, knock-the-socks-off-your-reader kind of writer. I’m sure that in the future I’ll be proud to say I was your teacher.

Adbeel Cardoso was born in Ciego de Avila, Cuba on September 11, 1993. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 7, a mind-bending experience he is still trying to work through in his writing. From that point on nothing much of note happened, so we can pretty much skip to when he graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2019. He is currently working on his first novel, a mixture of surrealism & sci-fi. It features a protagonist named Izsaac who, unsurprisingly, lives both in a futuristic United States and in contemporary Cuba at once, sort of like Schrödinger’s Cat, which lives in two different quantum states at once. Aside from his passion for creative writing, he sucks at playing guitar and oil paintings. He also wanted me to say that every writer is in reality a ghost-writer.




The fee for this course, which includes the fee for the 2-week session of the online Summer Residential Program, is $575. Payment in full is required to enroll in the course.


Note: Your credit card payment will be processed by an external provider and will appear on your credit card statement as “UI Writing—Magid Center."


Cancellation Policy: If you cancel or withdraw before June 1, 2022 a $50 cancellation fee will be deducted from your refund. Thereafter no refunds are available. 




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