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David Corbett David Corbett David Corbett David Corbett David Corbett David Corbett


"David's MasterCraft Class at ThrillerFest in 2015 was
the most transformative day in my life as a new writer."
   —D.A. Bartley, critically acclaimed author of Blessed be the Wicked and Death in the Covenant

See more student praise from published writers David has taught

David's lecture, "The Character of Crime," given at CraftFest in July 2015, is available as an mp3 download through VW Tapes. CD format also available.
Purchase David's lecture

David's two-hour, online video workshop is available for free. His lecture begins at the 10:20 mark, and you will need the Adobe Connect application for viewing.
Watch the workshop

David joined the delightful Gabriela Pereira on DIYMFA, her amazing podcast dedicated to the writing craft, and discussed among other things:

Listen to the podcast


October 26–November 23
Online Course through Litreactor
The Character of Plot
In this four-week course and workshop, David will guide you in the craft of building plot from strong characters with profound, mutually incompatible needs and desires. You learn how to orient the reader in the story world, with an exploration of setting as a revelation of character. Next you'll learn how to create the Crisis/Calling, by understanding the necessity to act on the part of the characters, and thus creating the opportunity or misfortune that kicks off the story. You'll then move on to the various ways to intensify tension, until the main characters are obliged to make the fundamental discovery that changes their understanding of themselves and their world, leading to the climactic confrontation and transformation that concludes the story.

Each week includes a lecture, a writing assignment, to be critiqued by David and your peers, as well as ample opportunity for discussion.

Learn more and register

Student Praise

The following is a small sample of appreciation from students (many of whom have gone on to be published) in response to both classroom and online courses I've taught.

"David taught the master class at the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference when I workshopped the first chapter of Comeuppance Served Cold. He asked me one question: “What’s up with Fiona?” Answering that question made me go back and develop a character I previously treated as a plot device. Delving into the rebellious Fiona’s motivations suddenly anchored the entire plot. She stopped being a stereotype and became a person, and when that happened, the stakes got real for everybody in the book. Thanks, David, for giving me the key!"
   —Marion Deeds, author of Comeuppance Served Cold coming from Tor.com in March 2022

"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 read, and reread, both his books The Art of Character and The Compass of Character, which belong on the desk of every writer. Before I write the first line of a new project, I delve into these two books. Working his technique, I come to understand what my book is about before I begin writing it. In so doing, I have eliminated false starts and wasted weeks, perhaps months, drafting meandering plot. My first drafts are much tighter. The subplots and parallel plots threads support the plot.
I attended David’s Litreactor character classes in preparation for the last two books I have written. He presents different material than can be found in his two manuals. In these classes, I have honed my themes and story lines growing them organically from characterization. Workshopping my ideas with David and other writers has advanced the development of my stories so much that I have pledged to myself to attend his class as I begin every new book."
   —Keenan Powell, critically acclaimed author of the Maeve Malloy Alaskan Mystery series

"To learn from David Corbett is to be in a safe space with a wise, patient teacher.
David allows you room to make mistakes and learn from them, his feedback is exhaustive and extremely helpful, and he ends up teaching you newer ways to not just look at your fiction, but at life, where all fiction comes from.
In the classes I have taken with David, I have learned to create complex, real characters, define character arcs, and let them lead me into a well-knit plot. Thanks to his advice over the years, I now partner with a very good agent, and have landed a publishing deal. If you're looking to give shape to your story, learn skills that should be part of every writer's toolbox, and take your craft to the next level, David Corbett is the mentor you're looking for."
   —Damyanti Biswas, best-selling author of You Beneath Your Skin

"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, critically acclaimed author of Orhan's Inheritance

"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, critically acclaimed author of the French Village Mysteries and Dani O’Rourke Mysteries

"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. David is one of the most incredible teachers I've ever encountered. He is an amazing instructor."
   —Rick Pullen, best-selling author of Naked Ambition, Naked Truth, and The Apprentice

"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 Blessed be the Wicked. 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!), Blessed be the Wicked is scheduled for publication by Crooked Lane in 2018."
   —D.A. Bartley, critically acclaimed author of Blessed be the Wicked and Death in the Covenant

"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