Chair yoga and editing for characterisation


A workshop presented by Kaaren Sutcliffe and Michelle Aiken

Date: Saturday 11 May 2024
Time: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Venue: The Durie Room, St Mark’s National Theological Centre,
15 Blackall Street, Barton 2600.
Cost: $180 for CSE and MARION members, $250 for non-members.
Buy tickets at TryBooking.

This full-day workshop comprises a practical 4 hours of information, discussion and exercises on editing for ‘the seven Cs of effective characterisation’. It is bookended by 50-minute morning and afternoon chair yoga sessions—essential bodywork for editors and authors who spend long hours at a desk—which will make it a beautiful, balanced day for your body and mind.

The presenters are Kaaren Sutcliffe AE, author and experienced editor of fiction, and Michelle Aitken, owner and manager of Malabar Yoga, Pool and Fitness Centre.

Editing for ‘the seven Cs of characterisation’

Characters should drive the story and captivate the reader. Part of a fiction editor’s job is to check that the characters are pulling their weight, are engaging and hold the attention of the intended audience. Kaaren will take participants through a structured and comprehensive approach to ensuring that characters in a story are effective, credible and compelling and will discuss ways to provide constructive and balanced feedback to authors. By understanding the key role that characters play in a story, you will learn techniques to ensure that characters satisfy ‘the seven Cs of characterisation’ by:

  • captivating the audience early on
  • compelling readers to run with them all the way through the story
  • remaining credible
  • remaining consistent
  • holding congruence within their story context
  • commingling and interacting with other characters seamlessly
  • effectively closing the story and bringing home the theme.

Chair yoga for editors and writers

Discomfort and pain resulting from long hours spent at a desk and computer can impede the capacity of editors or authors to concentrate on and sustain their work. Chair yoga is an ideal way to rejuvenate and maintain circulation, mobility and flexibility by practising a wide range of simple chair-based exercises and learning techniques to focus and relax through guided breathing meditation.

About the presenters

Kaaren Sutcliffe is a published author and an IPEd Accredited Editor. She has published eight novels and one non-fiction book with various independent publishers and has short stories published in Romance Writers Australia anthologies. She was a RWA finalist in 2022, 2023 and 2024. Her book, Undercover Mage, the first in her latest trilogy, won a Silver Book Award from Literary Titan, was a top 3 finalist in the RWA Romantic Book of the Year Award 2023 and in 2024 is a top 3 finalist in the US Book Excellence Awards.

Since 2009, Kaaren has been a member of CSE and a full-time freelance editor and writer, conducting numerous manuscript assessments and copyedits over a range of genres. An experienced presenter, she has delivered workshops for authors and editors via the (former) ACT Writers Centre, CSE and IPEd NSW. She has also mentored emerging editors in aspects of editing fiction since 2018 through the IPEd mentorship program. For more information, see

Michelle Aitken has been a fitness instructor since 2003 and also trained as an instructor in aqua aerobics and yoga. In 2010, Michelle acquired the Malabar Pool and Swimming Centre north of Moruya and renovated the facilities into a tranquil rehabilitation and fitness centre. A number of Michelle’s clients have some form of disability or are aged and benefit enormously from chair yoga as an effective and safe alternative to standard mat yoga. Michelle’s cheerful, expert approach has supported hundreds of clients through recovery from surgery or injury. For more information, see

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