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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

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


September 5 to October 3
Online Course through Litreactor
Creating Complex Characters

In this class, students will explore how to bring real human depth and complexity to their characters by conceiving backstories through life-altering scenes, rather than lifeless information. They will learn how to move beyond role—protagonist, opponent, sidekick, conscience figure, love interest, etc.—to the personal characteristics that make fulfillment of that role not just possible, but necessary. They will also learn to identify the key backstory issues that will generate the story questions crucial to a compelling narrative arc.
Learn more and register

October 10-13
History Writers Association Conference
The Woodlands
Colonial Williamsburg, VA
David will be teaching three classes:

The Compass of Character: Creating Complex Motivation for Compelling Characters in Fiction and Non-Fiction
Thursday, October 10—Full Day Master Class
In this day-long master workshop, award-winning author and teacher David Corbett, employing techniques explored in his forthcoming book, The Compass of Character, will guide students through various strategies for creating complex motivation for compelling characters. These techniques, intrinsic to understanding the portrayal of human behavior on the page, will prove beneficial to writers of both fiction and non-fiction—anyone hoping to convey human interaction in narrative form.

Changing Perceptions of Selfhood—Matching Character to Historical Period
Day & Time TBA
Award-winning author and teacher David Corbett will guide students through a brief account of selfhood as revealed in Western storytelling techniques from Homer to the present day, with particular focus on:

The "Good Bad Man"—The American West's Contribution to Antihero History
In this master class workshop, award-winning author and teacher David Corbett will examine how the American outlaw-lawman tradition conforms to the general history of the antihero, and continues to inform the tradition into the 20th and 21st centuries, from the tarnished angels of the hard-boiled detective tradition to the noble outcasts of neo-noir to the recent resurgence of antiheroes in long-format TV, from Tony Soprano to Walter White. (Extended Session)

October 24-27
Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference
The Westin Pasadena
191 N Los Robles Ave
Pasadena, CA
David will be teaching two classes at this years conference:

Backstory is Behavior
Day & Time TBA
Internal conflict isn't purely "internal." It reveals itself in habitual patterns of behavior. These habits are rooted in moments of profound helplessness or awakening outside the individual's control that both reveal and define her deeper self. In this session, we will explore how to discover those generative moments of helplessness and awakening and build them into the behavior that defines the character's way of interacting with the world at the story's outset.
Learn more and register

Yearning vs Resistance
Day & Time TBA
Each individual is driven by a profound inner yearning that defines her dream of life: the kind of person she wants to be, the way of life she hopes to live. What holds her back from fulfilling that dream? Forces of Resistance: weaknesses, wounds, limitations, flaws, as well as external opposition and obligations. This core inner conflict informs the character's sense of lack at the outset of your story, which informs her need to act. In this session, we will learn how to conceive, create, and develop these counteracting forces.
Learn more and register

November 4-8
Writer Unboxed Unconference
House of the Seven Gables Visitors Center
Hawthorne Hotel
Salem, MA

David will be joining an all-star faculty including Donald Maass, Brunonia Barry, Anne Greenwood Brown, Kathryn Craft, Keith Cronin, Barbara O'Neal, Margaret Dilloway, Greer Macallister, Ray Rhamey, Therese Walsh, Heather Webb, and Cathy Yardley for this one-of-a-kind intensive writer's conference.
David will be teaching three classes:

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.

"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, 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, author of Orhan's Inheritance (a #1 Indie Pick April 2015)

"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

"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

"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