Character Is King with Manuel Gonzales

May 11th - 14th

Price: $55

Patron Price: $45

Registration Closed

Character Is King with Manuel Gonzales is designed to help you craft fully-fleshed characters in your fiction through a series of exercises and lessons. In this four day class, you will:

  • Push your characters into action by diving deeper into their wants and desires and needs and what stands in the way of these wants, desires, needs.
  • Discover characters’ voices through dialogue.
  • Focus on the physical world around your characters and their emotional relationship to that physical world.
  • Look at ways to take the work generated from these exercises and develop them into a sustained narrative that can become a full story, one that is driven by characters!

The class hopes to look at notions of “I don’t know what to write,” or “I don’t know how to plot anything,” or “I’m out of ideas,” and upend these by creating fresh, new characters, placing them in a three-dimensional world, and building a story whole cloth from a granular exploration of these new fictional people you’ve birthed.

Whether you have a story in progress with characters that need fleshing out or you’re starting from scratch, you’ll leave Character Is King with a deeper understanding of character-driven narratives.

About Manuel Gonzales:

Manuel Gonzales is the author of the collection, The Miniature Wife and other stories, as well as the novel, The Regional Office is Under Attack! He currently serves as the fiction editor for The Bennington Review and as a contributing editor for American Short Fiction and One Story magazine. He lives in New England where he teaches literature and creative writing at Bennington College and serves as a faculty member for the Bennington Writing Seminars.


When can I register for this class?

Registration is open now through May 10th, 2023.

How does the class work?

Lessons will be posted nightly at 11:59pm UTC. Classes consist of videos, text-based lessons, worksheets, and writing activities. The class also includes discussion boards where participants can interact with one another and with Manuel.

I write creative nonfiction. Is this class right for me?

While some of the techniques can be applied to creative nonfiction pieces, this class, as with all One Story classes, is designed with fiction writers in mind.

Is participation on the discussion boards required?

No, it’s optional; participants are welcome to jump into the conversation or sit back and observe.

Is there homework?

Yes. There will be a number of generative exercises designed to help you develop your characters. These will not be evaluated by the instructor, but participants are welcome to share their work with other students on the discussion board.

How much time will the class take?

Plan to spend about one hour per day reviewing the lessons and completing the exercises, plus however much time you choose to spend on the discussion boards.

How many students are in the class?

One Story online classes are large, and tend to range from 100-250 students.

What if I want to take the class, but the dates don’t work for me?

The class is designed for participants to proceed at their own pace, on their own schedule, so if you miss a day or three, no problem. All class materials will be accessible online until June 14th, 2023. Please note, however, that Manuel will be present on the discussion boards only from May 11th-14th.

Can I take the class on my phone?

Yes, the class can be taken on a phone, but we recommend a computer or tablet to get the most out of the experience.

Can I save the material for later use?

There will be downloadable handouts and writing exercises, but otherwise class content lives on the learning platform. To prevent distribution of the material without our knowledge, students are not permitted to copy/paste the lessons but are of course welcome to take notes.

What if I can’t wait to get started?

The classroom will open on Tuesday, May 9th, two days before the class begins, so that participants can meet, mingle, and familiarize themselves with the learning platform.

Do you offer financial aid or scholarships for this class?

Yes. We offer a limited number of need-based scholarships that cover 50% of tuition. The window to request a scholarship is open now through May 2nd. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please fill out this form.

Discounts & Policies

Our online classes are designed to be safe spaces for all who participate. One Story will not tolerate hate speech, bullying, or harassment directed toward instructors or fellow students, and reserves the right to remove participants who engage in such behavior from our classes.

Patron Discount: In order to qualify for our patron discount, you must be a member of our patron circle at the time of registration. Patrons commit to annual donations and receive benefits that allow them to participate in our non-profit organization in more meaningful ways. Not all One Story subscribers or supporters are patrons. If you’d like to find out more about becoming a patron, you can do so here.

Refund Policy: One Story class payment is non-refundable after the class’s start date. For questions about the refund policy, or if you are unable to take the class after you have registered, please contact

If you have any questions, please contact