Monday, October 29, 2012

Writing Classes :Last Chance to Register for "The Spine of the Crime" Presented by David Corbett




David Corbett





Online 4-week Course through Litreactor

November 1-23, 2012

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
Context—not Coincidence

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

  • Gain a working understanding of setting not just as physical space but as the ground from which character, theme, and structure emerge.
  • Learn to use setting to heighten conflict, elicit emotion, and reinforce structure.
  • Defy expectation through the use of suspense created through character, conflict, and context—not coincidence.
  • Develop a deeper understanding and working command of the interplay among character, setting, and structure, in order to construct more unique, surprising, and satisfying plots.


Student Appreciation for David Corbett:

The following is a small sample of student remarks in response to David Corbett's coursework:

  • "I LOVED this class. The best writing class I've ever taken. David rules."


  • "Awesome class. The material presented was perfect. Top-notch."


  • "Wow!"


  • "The class touched my soul—an experience of pure creativity."


  • "Hands down, the most enjoyable, beneficial course on writing I have ever taken, and I've taken many—both online and on campus."







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