ROOM STILL AVAILABLE—
Online 4-week Course through Litreactor
The Spine of Crime: Setting, Suspense, and Structure in Crime, Mystery, and Thriller Stories
Class Description: Building on my preceding course through Litreactor, The Character of Crime, I move from the Who of crime writing to the Where, What, and How. (The prior class is not a prerequisite for this course. The subject matter to be covered here stands alone.)
In this 4-week course and workshop, you'll learn the crucial role of setting in crime stories—perhaps the most setting-dependent genre in literature. You'll learn how to let suspense emerge not from coincidence but as a natural extension of character, context, and conflict. Last, you'll learn how to construct the "spine" of your story through structure, finishing up with an examination of the unique plot elements that characterize stories in the detective, crime, and thriller sub-genres.
Week 1—Setting: How to Ground your Theme, Characters, and Structure in Place
Whether your story takes place in a pastoral village or a skyscraper jungle, how people live in a specific place and time will define the nature and limits of what's deemed a crime, who gets called a criminal, and what stands for justice.
Week 2—Techniques of Suspense: Character, Conflict, and
The trick is always to make the reader keep turning pages. Creating suspense always requires a bit of legerdemain, but to do it well, you need to look deep inside your story, not rely on chance.
Week 3—Structure: Letting the Conflict Shape Your Story
Three-Act structure too often strands the writer in a meandering second act. By understanding structure as an outgrowth of character, plot points become meaningful events in your story's growing conflict, not just turnstiles in the plot.
Week 4—Structural Beats for Specific Sub-genre Types: Detective, Crime, Thriller
Each sub-genre has its own unique thematic emphasis, and that's reflected in the nature of the adversaries and the conflict they generate. Those variations result in unique structural emphases and expectations.
Goals Of This Class
Student Appreciation for David Corbett:
The following is a small sample of student remarks in response to David Corbett's coursework: