Consider the craft of building complex characters in crime fiction, characters rooted in loss and desperation.
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As a kid, I always had some sense that crime fiction was about expertise, that I’d never be able to write about committing crimes because I wasn’t a crook. As I read more and read more widely, I realized I wasn’t interested in those stories anyway. What drew me into crime fiction and continues to draw me in, both as a writer and reader, is looking at the lives of desperate characters making bad decisions, doing the wrong things to stay afloat or out of some sense of revenge or retribution, letting their instincts lead them down crooked paths. To me, that’s what makes the best of crime fiction so universal. I’m not interested in characters who plot the perfect murder or detectives who solve crimes–I’m interested in the folks who are fighting to survive, to get out or break free, who are fed up with losing and want a shot at winning at any cost.
In this workshop, we’ll consider the craft of building complex characters in crime fiction, characters rooted in loss and desperation. The course will be a mix of lecture, reading/discussion, writing, and Q&A.
Instructor: William Boyle
William Boyle is the author of five novels: Gravesend, which was nominated for the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière in France and shortlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger in the UK; The Lonely Witness, which was nominated for the Hammett Prize and the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière; A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself, winner of the Prix Transfuge du meilleur polar étranger in France; City of Margins, a Washington Post Best Thriller and Mystery Book of 2020; and, most recently, Shoot the Moonlight Out.