david david


2018 Seminars
Praise for David's Classes

David's lecture, "The Character of Crime," given at CraftFest in July, 2015, is available as an mp3 download through VW Tapes (along with recordings of all the other sessions and panels). CD format also available. To purchase David's lecture, go here.

See David's free, two-hour online video workshop (David's lecture begins at the 10:20 mark.)

2 0 1 8 SEMINARS

June 7 - July 6
The Craft of Character (through LitReactor)
In this 4-week online course, David will teach you the techniques for situating complex characters in compelling stories, and how to render them on the page. In this course you'll explore the dramatic roles and functions that characters can assume in a story. Then you'll learn how to shape language to depict that variety of characters. Finally, you'll develop techniques for creating compelling scenes and fluid dialog to make those characters come to life.

Along the way, David's writing assignments will guide you in putting these tools into practice, and his detailed review and insightful analysis of your work, in addition to helpful critiques from your classmates, will solidify your command of the material.

In addition, opportunities for questions and discussion will be available throughout the course.

To register or for more information, go here.

July 10 - 14
Grand Hyatt
New York, NY

David will be teaching twice at this year's Thrillerfest:

Tuesday, July 10, all-day workshop
Master Craftfest
(to register, go here)

Wednesday, July 11, 10:30-11:20 AM
Broadway Room, Grand Hyatt
The Primary Role of Secondary Characters

For more information on Thrillerfest, CraftFest, or Master Craftfest, or to register, go here.

Saturday, August 25, 9:30 AM-3:30 PM
Building Unforgettable Stories from Compelling Characters
Presented by the Desert Sleuths chapter of Sisters in Crime
The Commons at the Newton
300 W. Camelback
Phoenix, AZ 85013

In this one-day workshop, award-winning novelist David Corbett, author of The Art of Character, will guide participants through a variety of techniques that will not only enhance their characterization skills, but deepen their understanding of motivation, conflict, and story. Participants can expect to learn:

  • Where to find inspiration for intriguing characters.
  • How to build compelling characters from the inside out, using the conflict between Yearning and Resistance.
  • How to create compelling back stories, how to use them to create behavior, and when to use that information in the story.
  • How to explore the character's physical, psychological, and sociological natures for greatest dramatic effect.
  • How to use Secrets, Contradictions, and Vulnerability to intensify reader engagement.
  • Strategies for what to reveal about a character and what to withhold.
  • A methodology for creating meaningful secondary characters, and how to create a character web that maximizes cooperation, competition, and conflict.
  • Specific techniques relevant to the mystery/crime genre—i.e., creating complex heroes and villains, as well as developing secondary characters unique to the genre.
To learn more or to register, go here.

September 27-30
Book Passage Mystery Writers' Conference
Book Passage
51 Tamal Vista Boulevard
Corte Madera, CA
Once again, David will be serving as co-chair of this unique, world class conference focusing on the craft and business of writing mystery, crime, and thriller fiction.
To register or learn more, go here.

Thursday, September 27, 1:00-3:30 PM
The Character of Crime: Creating the Character Web in Crime, Mystery/Detective and Thriller Fiction
In this lecture and workshop, presented as part of the Book Passage Mystery Writers' Conference but open to both conference attendees and the general public, David 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.
$90 for Conference Participants, $125 for General Public

To learn more about the class or to register, go here.
To learn more about the conference or to register, go here.

October 26-27
Character Intensive Writing Conference
Embassy Suites by Hilton
4700 Southport Rd
Atlanta, GA 30337
The country's premier conference on characterization, with bestselling authors and speakers Steven James, David Corbett, and Susan May Warren.

In today's world, novelists, screenwriters, and other storytellers need as many tools as possible to break through and break out. Every story that matters has unforgettable characters, but how do you shape them? How do you craft a story with characters that are memorable, powerful, and emotionally resonant with your audience?

If you're working on a script or novel and want an agent, producer, or editor to seriously consider it, you'll need to make sure that, above all, you have engaging characters. This conference will teach you how to create them.

To register, go here.


The following is a small sample of student and client appreciation in response to both classroom and online courses I've taught and manuscript critiques I've provided.

"Your class was wonderful! I took away so much from our work together and I still refer to my notes. It was worth every minute I spent on the 405, and that's saying a lot—it was four hours every Monday night, two each way between class and home! I've ordered The Art of Character and will keep it close at hand as I work on novel #2."
   —Aline Ohanesian, author of Orhan's Inheritance (a #1 Indie Pick April 2015)

For more about Aline and her wonderful debut novel, listen to her interview with Lynn Neary on NPR's Weekend Edition.

  • "David is an insightful, passionate, supportive teacher and writing coach. He is attuned to the needs of his students and meets them wherever they are in their writing careers. He worked with me by means of an online course when I was trying to find my way through the tangle of a first draft. He pushed me (nicely) to understand my characters deeply, to discover what made them tick, and to let them breathe on their own. That turned out to be the first book in a series and I'm still listening to David's advice as I head into the third one."
       —Susan C Shea, author of Love & Death in Burgundy (St. Martin's Minotaur, May 2017; the second in the series will be published in May 2018)

"David Corbett is a fabulous teacher and editor and he was an incredible help with my novel, Kind Nepenthe (Black Rose, August 2017). He provided crucial assistance at both the rewrite and final editing stages, and his guidance and knowledge changed the way I look at the art of the novel. I've taken three of his LitReactor classes and they were incredible, helping me learn how to bring my characters to life, put their struggles on the page, and dramatically display their narrative arcs in the most effective ways possible. His depth of knowledge in the art of storytelling and the craft of fiction writing is nothing short of amazing. Hiring him to help me rewrite and edit my manuscript was one of the best decisions I made and it took my novel to a new level."
   —Matthew Brockmeyer

GREAT NEWS: Matthew's novel Kind Nepenthe received a wonderful review from Kirkus: "Thoroughly suspenseful and haunting. Brockmeyer's unsettling tale has an effectively slow buildup to an intense boiling point."

  • "I first met David Corbett when he taught at Book Passage's Mystery Writers Conference. The depth of his knowledge and insight into the mystery genre was so impressive that I purchased, read, and re-read The Art of Character, a book that belongs on the desk of every writer. Later I had the opportunity to work with David in development of two of my manuscripts. He burrowed into both projects with enthusiasm, helped me winnow away the debris, find my stories, and sharpen and deepen them. All writers need a fresh perspective. Why not hire someone who cares deeply about your story?"
       —Keenan Powell, Author of the Maeve Malloy Alaskan Mystery series

"David Corbett's teaching style should be measured by the success of his students. I and two of my classmates (see below) have progressed greatly since studying with him in 2015. My novel was published in 2016. Another classmate's novel is now with the publisher and will soon be in bookstores. A third classmate got an agent just a year after working with David. You can't argue with results! David's critique of my work and his class instruction combined to give me one of the most valuable experiences of my fiction-writing career. Specifically, he helped me considerably in the final rewrite of my first novel, Naked Ambition, which has gone on to sell over 30,000 copies. David is one of the most incredible teachers I've ever encountered. If you're looking for instruction or manuscript services, do yourself a huge favor and reach out to David. He is an amazing instructor."
Rick Pullen

"David's MasterCraft Class at ThrillerFest in 2015 was the most transformative day in my life as a new writer. At the time, I had a very rough draft of a manuscript that would become my novel Blood Atonement. David taught me how to think about the craft: creating characters a reader cares about, respecting the beauty of clean and honest English and tightening your story until there's nothing extra. Most importantly, David taught me the great art of re-writing. As a teacher, he has the rare gift of being insightful, critical and endlessly supportive all at the same time. I don't know why or how I got so lucky to have been assigned to his class that year, but I'll forever be grateful. After re-writing (and re-writing some more!), Blood Atonement is scheduled for publication by Crooked Lane in 2018."
D.A. Bartley

"I took David Corbett's workshop at Master CraftFest in 2015, and it was a game changer for me. His feedback helped me dig deeper into my story and look at my scenes from a fresh perspective. This past summer, I signed with John Talbot of the Talbot Fortune Agency. I can't recommend David's teaching highly enough."
—Stacy Woodson, 2017 Daphne du Maurier Finalist, 2016 Claymore Finalist

  • "I'm still plumbing the depths of your Litreactor class last spring, using what I learned. You're one terrific teacher."
       —Lori Mohr, Author of The Road At My Door

  • "The class touched my soul—Mr. Corbett is honest, authentic, and has a genuine passion for the process. He listened, remembered our individual pieces and asked probing and informed questions. The class was an experience of pure creativity."

  • "Thank you once again for your wisdom and immense patience in your Litreactor class last year. It helped me finish my draft and get into a state of flow so much faster than earlier. The Art of Character notes are with me as I set about the first draft of another novel."

  • "Over the years I've attended dozens of writing workshops but I've never encountered a teacher as gifted and well-organized as David. His responses to my plot structure, character development and writing are always clear, detailed and thoughtful. He's the tops!"

"David Corbett is a fantastic teacher. I was fortunate enough to attend three workshops with David at the San Miguel Writers Conference, and they were outstanding. Rave reviews from all who attended. When I saw he was offering an online workshop on The Craft of Character through Litreactor, I jumped at the opportunity to study with him again. I am so glad I did. David's comments on my characters and scenes were thorough, insightful and full of concrete suggestions that I could implement immediately. The improvement in my WIP was dramatic. I can't believe how much I learned in such a short time. If you want to push your writing to another level, take his classes."
—Jane Rosenthal


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

  • "I LOVED this class. The material was perfect—his lectures showed me how to look at things like arc and characterization in a whole new way—and the organization was right on the money. This is the best $500 I have ever spent."

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

"Craft of Character II was my third class with David Corbett. Every one of David's classes has been profoundly enlightening; they all lead to that unique event all writers aspire to--a breakthrough. In my line of work, TV production, I often hear the expression "character-driven". It's become a mantra and, well, nobody knows what it really means. I was a bit vague about it until I read his book The Art of Character. It all became clear after that. It's also what convinced me to sign up for my first class at LitReactor and finally invest in my own writing. David's guidance, experience, and dedication have given me the confidence and mindfulness needed to start thinking about character—the essential element in creating good fiction. But David's no-holds barred critiques and in-depth teaching have also instilled in me the most precious reward of all: love of craft. No gift is greater than that and I have David to thank for it."
—Hugues D., LitReactor student

  • "I learned tips about forming characters that went untouched in conferences where I have paid a substantial registration/workshop fee and gone home disappointed."

  • "He brought inspiration AND instruction."

  • "Excellent thinker and teacher."

"Just wanted to drop a note to say thanks for a terrific workshop. Your suggestions and insights were extremely helpful. I love your passion and appreciate that you love what you do. After leaving on Saturday, I felt that the chances of my book being published increased significantly.
Again, many thanks and best wishes for a joyful journey."
—Richard Rachlin, on The Outer Limits of Inner Life


  top about david
the books
book doctor
on writing
readings and appearances

seminars and classes