Tough Dames with Christa Faust

Christa Faust is one of crime fiction's most badass writers. And she'll teach you how to write women who kick as much ass as she does, using the rules of hardboiled and noir fiction.

Your Instructor: Christa Faust (author of Money Shot and Choke Hold)

Where: Online — Available everywhere!

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

Enrollment: 16 Students Maximum

Price: $375

Class Description

Christa Faust knows tough women. She's been writing them for years, in her Angel Dare series, and in her latest book, Butch Fatale, Dyke Dick. And she's here to teach you the distinction between writing women, and writing women who kick ass. 

Christa taught this class for us last year and we're excited to bring it back. She's a master of the crime genre, and the class is a great opportunity, whether you want to write tougher women, or learn the tricks of the trade behind hardboiled and noir fiction. 

Here's a brief excerpt from Christa's week-one lecture, Beyond the Femme Fatale:

... Far too often in hardboiled and noir fiction, female characters exist solely as motivation for the men around them. In the classics (and some modern books as well) female characters tend to fall into one of these categories:

  • The aforementioned classic Femme Fatale. The manipulative villainess.
  • The mysterious woman in danger, who can either turn out to be a Femme Fatale or end up as…
  • The beautiful, helpless, child-like and yet eroticized victim whose gruesome murder the White Knight hero must avenge. Think “Laura” or “The Black Dahlia.”
  • The sweet, long-suffering wife who keeps begging the hero to leave this case alone.
  • The plucky Gal Friday, who seems independent at first glance, but really just wants to marry the hero.
In an effort to make a female character strong, many authors make the mistake of creating what is essentially a man with boobs.

These days, you have a lot of lip service being paid to the concept of “strong female characters.” But all strong female characters are not created equal. Anyone from Ree Dolly in Woodrell’s Winter's Bone to Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft can fall under that broad umbrella, and you don’t need me to tell you that they are far from equal.

In an effort to make a female character strong, many authors make the mistake of creating what is essentially a man with boobs. A tough-talking, hard-drinking, two-fisted badass who just happens to be female. Then, of course, she turns into a helpless kitten as soon as a real man shows up. I call bullshit on that action.

My point is this: Strength doesn’t have to be physical. Look at the character of Masako in Natsuo Kirino’s Out. There you have a middle-aged suburban wife and mother who works the night shift in a box-lunch factory. She is not beautiful. She does not know martial arts and has never handled a gun. But she is hands down one of the strongest female characters I’ve ever read. She is stone cold and single-minded. When action needs to be taken, she takes it without hesitation. And therein, grasshoppers, lies the key...

Want to read more? Then sign up!

What This Class Covers

Week 1: Beyond the Femme Fatale

Learn Mistress Christa’s Ten Rules to Write Noir, and find the distinction between a strong female character and a stereotype.

Week 2: Dialog and the Female Voice

The key to strong, gritty dialog—male or female—is realism. Learn to write characters who talk tough, and realistically. 

Week 3: Bad Sex, Well Written

How flawed, awkward, ugly sex can reveal character. WARNING: This week’s lecture contains what the MPAA likes to refer to as frank sex talk.

Week 4: Kicking Ass in High Heels

Different kinds of stories require different kinds of action scenes—slapstick, heroic, gritty, horrific, pathetic. Learn how to make your hits count.

* This class includes Q&A opportunities with the instructor, as well as writing assignments meant to demonstrate your knowledge of the material. They'll be critiqued by both your teacher, and your fellow students. 

Goals Of This Class

  • Learn the main concepts and ideas of hardboiled and noir fiction
  • Write stronger, more believable hardboiled and noir characters—particularly women
  • Create plots and settings that test and reveal believable characters in crime fiction
  • Learn to write sex scenes that won't land you on The Literary Review's bad sex awards
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