R242. Major Problems with Minor Characters in CNF

Liberty Salon I, J, & K, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
Thursday, February 9, 2017
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm


Just like fiction, CNF includes major and minor characters. The ex-husband, the relative, the neighbor—these characters serve an important role in a minor way. We do not have the space to fully develop them, so we choose something about that person that best serves the piece. However, unlike fiction, these are real people who didn’t ask to be in our writing, and often don’t appreciate being represented one-dimensionally. This panel explores techniques for managing this problem.



Penny Guisinger is the author of Postcards from Here and the founding director of Iota: Short Prose Conference. Her work has appeared in Fourth Genre, River Teeth, the Rumpus, and others. Pushcart-nominated and a Best American Essays notable, Guisinger is an assistant editor at Brevity magazine.

Tessa Mellas's collection Lungs Full of Noise won the Iowa Short Fiction Award. An assistant professor at the University of Maine at Machias, she runs the Maine Writers Series. Her PhD is from the University of Cincinnati. She is working on an eco-fabulist novella in flash and a book of essays.

Alexis Paige is winner of the Vine Leaves Vignette Collection Award. Her first book is Not a Place on Any Map. Her work has appeared in the Rumpus, the Pinch, Fourth Genre, Pithead Chapel, and on Brevity, where she is an assistant editor.

Amy Monticello is the author of Close Quarters, a memoir-in-essays. Her essays have appeared in Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, the Iron Horse Literary Review, and elsewhere. She is an assistant professor at Suffolk University.

Randon Billings Noble is an essayist. Her work has appeared in the Modern Love column of The New York Times, the Massachusetts Review, the Georgia Review, the Rumpus, Shenandoah, Fourth Genre, Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere. She is reviews editor at Tinderbox Poetry Journal.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center