We’re all riveted by a good plot twist, but what does it do to a character? When every crisis event or a major upheaval is a potential catalyst for new personal revelations and surprising transformations, characters are inevitably shaped by the way the cookie crumbles around them. How do writers develop moments of reckoning that peel back the layers of their interiority? We examine the origin story, the inciting event, and all the turning points that make rather than break a character.
Lydia Kwa was born in Singapore but has lived in Canada since 1980. She has published five novels and two books of poetry. Her latest novel, A Dream Wants Waking, is published by Buckrider Books, an imprint of Wolsak & Wynn. She has also self-published two chapbooks and had her art exhibited in two shows.
She currently lives and works on unceded Coast Salish territories, known by its colonial name, "Vancouver."
Clarissa Goenawan is an Indonesian-born Singaporean writer and translator. Her award-winning short stories have appeared in literary magazines and anthologies in Singapore, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Italy, the UK, and the US. Rainbirds, her debut novel, has been published in eleven different languages. Her second novel, The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida, came out in 2020. Watersong is her third novel.
Tham Cheng-E is the author of three novels, Surrogate Protocol (2017), Band Eight (2018) and Claiming Susan Chin (2023), all of which were selected for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize. He is a father to two boys, the younger of whom has Down syndrome. He also writes about Down syndrome and parenting on his family blog Thumbprints.
Barrie Sherwood is the author of three novels – The Pillow Book of Lady Kasa, Escape from Amsterdam, and The Macanese Pro-Wrestler's Cookbook – and a collection of short stories, The Angel Tiger. He lectures at NTU.