The Character of Crime with David Corbett

Explore key distinctions and foundational skills for effective and boundary pushing crime fiction.

Your Instructor: David Corbett (Author of The Devil's Redhead & Done for a Dime)

Where: Online — Available everywhere!

When: This class is not currently enrolling. To be notified when it is offered again, Click Here

Enrollment: 15 Students Maximum

Price: $397

Class Description

In this 4-week course and workshop, award-winning crime novelist David Corbett will guide students through identifying their subgenre in order to understand each form’s expectations, the better to both serve and transcend them and thus creatively push the boundaries and generate surprise. Then the class will explore the key roles that make crime fiction work, with specific focus on avoiding cliché and understanding subgenre nuances.

What This Class Covers

WEEK ONE: "Story, Not Formula"

To reward expectations and yet surprise, you need to know your subgenre: Cozy, Hard-Boiled, Noir, Mystery, Police Procedural, Crime Story, Thriller, Suspense, Caper, Urban Novel, Postmodern Mystery.

WEEK TWO: "No Hero, No Story"

Avoiding Stiffs, Ciphers, Sleepwalkers and other Problem Protagonists (Or: The hero can’t just react. And virtue is over-rated).

WEEK THREE: "Justifying Evil"

Don’t Get Stuck on Satan. (Or: The hero’s only as compelling as his enemy. And there’s no beast so fierce as man.)

WEEK FOUR: "The Squad, the Mob—Sidekicks and Sympathetic Heavies"

Heroes and villains are defending their worlds, and those worlds come alive through compelling secondary characters.

Goals Of This Class

In this class, students will learn:

  • How to understand their story in the context of a specific crime sub-genre
  • How to see the conventions of the sub-genre as opportunities, not restrictions
  • How to serve the expectations of the sub-genre without falling into formula
  • How to create strong, compelling protagonists who push the action forward and serve the story’s theme
  • How to create equally compelling opponents or villains who don’t fall into cliché and who also honor the writer’s thematic intent
  • How to create nuance and subtlety in the main characters, serve the hinge points of the plot, and bring to life the story world through the creation of interesting secondary characters

Additional Info

Author Profile on David Corbett, from

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