Detailed Event Listing


Pre-Conference Class: David Corbett - The Task of Justice (Corte Madera)

Thursday, August 22, 2019 - 1:00pm to 3:30pm

2019 Mystery Writers Pre-Conference Class
$90 for Conference Participants, $125 for General Public

The Task of Justice: Staging the Thematic Backdrop in Mystery, Crime, and Thriller Fiction

Given that evil abides by no rules, how do the forces of justice stand a chance? How the lawman hero rises to that challenge without succumbing to evil himself is known as the Task of Justice, and it lies at the heart of all great mystery-crime-thriller stories. In this pre-conference workshop, award-winning author and conference co-chair David Corbett will lead students through an exploration of this problem in its various incarnations—e.g., the Tainted Hero, the Noble Villain, the Moral No Man’s Land—with specific attention to how to present the hero’s challenge in each of the three main sub-genres: Mystery, Crime, and Thriller.

David Corbett worked 15 years for the famed private investigation firm of Palladino & Sutherland. He is the author of several novels including Done for a Dime (A New York Times Notable Book), His latest is Thirteen Confessions: Stories. His writing text, The Art of Character, has been called “a writer’s bible.”

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925


Class: David Corbett - The Final Polish

Sunday, September 29, 2019 - 10:00am

Sunday: September 29 • 10:00 am - 4:00 pm • $150

You’ve finished and revised your manuscript and believe it’s ready to send it out. But in today’s competitive marketplace, you may get only one chance to impress agents and editors. In this workshop, David Corbett will review your first ten pages and a one-to-two-page synopsis to determine: How unique is the voice? How compelling are the story questions? How engaging are the main characters? How high are the stakes?

After registering, your manuscript and synopsis must be submitted to by Sept. 22.

David Corbett is the award-winning author of The Art of Character and five novels, including The Mercy of the Night and Blood of Paradise.

What Students Say about David Corbett

"To learn from David Corbett is to be in a safe space with a wise, patient teacher. David allows you room to make mistakes and learn from them; his feedback is exhaustive and extremely helpful...  With David, I have learned to create complex, real characters, define character arcs, and let them lead me into a well-knit plot. Thanks to his advice over the years, I now partner with a very good agent, and have landed a publishing deal." —Damyanti Biswas, author of You Beneath Your Skin 

"David is an insightful, passionate, supportive teacher and writing coach. He is attuned to the needs of his students and meets them wherever they are in their writing careers. He pushed me (nicely) to understand my characters deeply, to discover what made them tick, and to let them breathe on their own. That turned out to be the first book in a series and I'm still listening to David's advice as I head into the third one." —Susan C. Shea, author of Love & Death in Burgundy 

"David Corbett's teaching style should be measured by the success of his students. I and two of my classmates (see below) have progressed greatly since studying with him in 2015. My novel was published in 2016. Another classmate's novel is now with the publisher and will soon be in bookstores. A third classmate got an agent just a year after working with David. You can't argue with results!" —Rick Pullen 

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925