2018 Mystery Writers Pre-Conference Class
$90 for Conference Participants, $125 for General Public
The Character of Crime: Creating the Character Web in Crime, Mystery/Detective and Thriller Fiction
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 Watsons to wheelmen 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 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.”