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Constructing/Deconstructing the Perfect Murder


When your antagonist plans and executes "The Perfect Murder," he always,

ALWAYS makes a mistake or two. These errors ultimately lead your sleuth to the solution. In this session, attendees will become the killer and “construct” the perfect murder in every detail—the where, when, how, and why. We will then don the hat of the protagonist and “deconstruct” the crime while considering the many variables that make plotting a murder fun for the writer, and a disaster for the antagonist. We will discuss the killer's Pre-Crime Behavior, the steps taken to "do the deed," and his Post-Crime Behavior from social, psychological, forensics, investigative, and motivational points of view.




VOICE: Whose Story Is It?  
VOICE: The Most Important Tool In Your Writing Toolbox

(Two titles, same class)

What is the single most important tool a writer can possess? What are agents and editors looking for? What do they mean when they say they’re looking for something fresh? Something that grabs them? Something that speaks to them? They mean the “voice” of the narrative.

What is voice? How do you find it and what do you do with it? In this class, we will discover the sound, rhythm, and feel of a writer’s most powerful tool, his or her voice.



The Psychology of Character Motivation:

Understanding the Whys of Character Thought, Action, and Dialog

The strength of every story, regardless of genre, lies in the characters that populate the fictional landscape. Developing full, realistic, and believable characters requires an understanding of the psychological drives that push them to act and react. 

Why do people love, hate, envy, loathe, and need one another? 

Why do they steal, cheat, batter, and kill? 

Why do they argue, lie, deceive, threaten, and comfort?

The class will begin with a discussion of the basic psychology that drives character behavior and the forces behind conflict and conflict resolution---the driving force behind thought, action, and dialog. Once these are well in hand, we will look at the conflict-driven character arc of famous protagonists and antagonists. You will then be equipped to apply the principles to your own storytelling and produce a manuscript that will attract attention.

This class can be given with or without PowerPoint support.

VIDEO of this class available from Writers Digest: HERE



Best Laid Plans: What Were They Thinking?

What goes on in a criminal’s mind when he decides that some criminal activity is the only solution to his problems? What pushes him to act? What steps does he take to plan, commit, and attempt to get away with the crime? Where do his plans jump the tracks? In this lecture, we will look at several famous crimes and attempt to gain some insight into what the criminal was thinking, the logic—or illogic—of his planning, and the fatal flaws that unraveled his best-laid plans.     



The Autopsy of a Thriller: Deconstructing The Terminator

A scene-by-scene analysis of “the perfect thriller” in which we will look at storytelling by showing how this movie follows the 3-act structure, progressively raises the stakes, ramps up the tension, and forces the protagonist, Sarah Conner, to alter virtually everything in her life, heart, and soul in perhaps the greatest character arc ever. 




Infusing Your Mystery or Thriller With Humor


Humor in crime fiction can add spice to any story. It can be the “secret sauce” that makes a story sing. From James Bond’s memorable quips, to the madcap antics of Stephanie Plum, to the cool and subtle humor of Elmore Leonard, to the insanity of Carl Hiassen and Dave Barry, to the situational humor of Tim Maleeny, Paul Levine, and my own Jake Longly series, humor is good medicine. And good storytelling. 


In this class, we will delve into examples of humor that work and establish the principles you need to sprinkle humor into your stories. Attendees can then offer situations and we will interactively toss around ideas to make that scene funny, yet still move the story forward. Armed with this knowledge, you can then kick your storytelling up a notch,




Understanding the Science of Crime

    How do the various techniques of forensic science help solve crimes? How can you use these in your story? This class will cover evidence collection and handling, the autopsy, body identification, the time, cause, and manner of death, fingerprints, blood, and body fluid analysis, DNA, trace evidence, shoe, and tire track comparison, firearm examination, toxicology, crime scene reconstruction, document examination, criminal profiling, and other forensic issues. After attending this class the writer will have a sound and practical understanding of forensic science and how it can add depth and realism to a story.

    This class can be given with or without PowerPoint support.



Ask The Doctor--A Medical and Forensics Q and A Session

    This session is completely interactive, and free-form, and will address medical and forensics issues attendees might be having with their manuscripts. Attendees should bring their own specific story questions for discussion with the goal of adding depth and realism to their characters, scenes, and plots. This session is always fun and covers a broad range of medical and forensic topics.


The Two-Hour Medical School For Writers

Does your character suffer a heart attack or struggle with asthma or diabetes? Does he/she receive a gunshot or stab wound, maybe an auto accident or broken leg? Maybe blunt trauma to the head or a serious infection. How are these varied maladies diagnosed and treated? What are the complications and possible outcomes? Go to “Med School” with DP Lyle, MD, and learn how medicine really works from the street to the ER to the ICU and the OR.



Creative Fiction Writing Workshop


You know you have stories to tell. And you’ve probably told yourself that someday you’ll write them. Or maybe you’re simply seeking a creative outlet. Or perhaps you’ve dreamed of a career as a writer. Do you possess the skills and the confidence to make your stories come alive on the page? If not, this is your opportunity to begin that journey.

Or maybe you already write, but haven’t cleared that publication hurdle. Maybe you want to learn more about storytelling and writing craft so that your stories will be richer, deeper, and more publishable. If so, this is your chance.

Or maybe you’re a published author who wants to jump to that next level. Maybe you want to improve your writing skills and create better works of fiction. This workshop will help you do exactly that.

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION: The Creative Fiction Writing Workshop is an intensive two-day, hands-on workshop designed to teach the skills needed to craft fictional stories. It is for writers of all levels, from beginners to those who have published works. In the class, you will learn the techniques of fiction writing through interactive discussions of various topics such as characterization, plotting, dialogue, setting, scene construction, voice, and all the other tools that a successful fiction writer must master. There will be structured writing exercises in which you will learn how to transfer the story in your head to the printed page. It will be fun, low-key, and highly interactive, and by the end of the workshop, you will be on your way to a career in storytelling.

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