Registration: $125 ($90 for Conference participants)
In this pre-conference lecture and workshop, award-winning crime novelist David Corbett will guide students in exploring the key roles that make crime fiction work, with specific focus on the specific demands of the three major subgenres of crime fiction—mystery/detective, crime, and thriller—and an emphasis on maintaining dramatic tension, creating moral complexity, and avoiding cliché.
In particular, students will learn:
- How to create strong, compelling protagonists who push the action forward and serve the story’s theme—instead of victims of circumstance, intrepid boy scouts, ciphers, stiffs, or sleepwalkers.
- How to create equally compelling opponents or villains who aren’t just another iteration of Lucifer or the Creature from the Black Lagoon—with the purpose of gaining an understanding that the hero’s only as compelling as his enemy, that evil must be justified to be dramatically interesting, and that there’s “no beast so fierce” as man.
- How to create secondary characters—from sidekicks to gunsels to femmes fatales to sympathetic heavies—who elicit nuance and subtlety from the main characters, flesh out the values in conflict in the story, create moral complexity through ‘four-corner conflict,” serve the hinge points of the plot, and bring to life the story world.
David Corbett worked as a private investigator for fifteen years before becoming the widely acclaimed author of four novels, with short fiction twice chosen for Best American Mystery Stories. He has taught at the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, 826 Valencia, Chuck Palahniuk's LitReactor, and the San Francisco Writers' Grotto.