Crime Fiction Academy
Users and Suckers and Steady Bad Luckers: Writing Complex Characters with William Boyle (Sold Out)
3 Sessions via Zoom
Out of stock
Friday - Sunday 2:00 pm EST - 4:00 pm EST February 12 to February 14, 2021
This workshop has reached its capacity. To join the waitlist, please email Thierry Kehou at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 course, 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.
Over three classes, we’ll look at a couple of craft essays, including one by Walter Mosley. We’ll also read several stories (possible authors: Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Lucia Berlin, Derrick Harriell, Willy Vlautin, Megan Abbott, Sara Gran, Patricia Highsmith, and Luis Alberto Urrea). We’ll feature writing exercises and assignments intended to help build rich and complicated characters in crime fiction.
This workshop will take place online via Zoom. Participants will receive instructions for access prior to the first session.
William Boyle is from Brooklyn, New York. His novels include: Gravesend, which was nominated for the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière in France and shortlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger in the U.K.; 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; and, most recently, City of Margins. He guest edited the noir volume of Nicolas Winding Refn’s byNWR.com. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi.
By William Boyle
City of Margins
By William Boyle
Published by Pegasus
In City of Margins, the lives of several lost souls intersect in Southern Brooklyn in the early 1990s. There’s Donnie Parascandolo, a disgraced ex-cop with blood on his hands; Ava Bifulco, a widow whose daily work grind is her whole life; Nick, Ava’s son, a grubby high school teacher who dreams of a shortcut to success; Mikey Baldini, a college dropout who’s returned to the old neighborhood, purposeless and drifting; Donna Rotante, Donnie’s ex-wife, still reeling from the suicide of their teenage son; Mikey’s mother, Rosemarie, also a widow, who hopes Mikey won’t fall into the trap of strong arm work; and Antonina Divino, a high school girl with designs on breaking free from Brooklyn. Uniting them are the dead: Mikey’s old man, killed over a gambling debt, and Donnie and Donna’s poor son, Gabe.
These characters cross paths in unexpected ways, guided by coincidence and the pull of blood. There are new things to be found in the rubble of their lives, too. The promise of something different beyond the barriers that have been set out for them. This is a story of revenge and retribution, of facing down the ghosts of the past, of untold desires, of yearning and forgiveness and synchronicity, of the great distance of lives lived in dangerous proximity to each other. City of Margins is a Technicolor noir melodrama pieced together in broken glass.
About this series
Crime Fiction Academy
The Crime Fiction Academy at the Center for Fiction is back! CFA originated eight years ago in our Manhattan location with author Jonathan Santlofer serving as program director. This relaunch of CFA gives aspiring crime writers at any level the opportunity to learn about the history of the genre as they work on their stories under the guidance of bestselling authors.
Plotting the Perfect Crime (Story) with Jonathan Santlofer (Sold Out)$150
Wednesday - Friday 2:00 pm EST - 4:00 pm EST January 27 to January 29, 2021
Inside Criminal Minds: Crafting Psychological Suspense with Alison Gaylin$150
Friday - Sunday 2:00 pm EST - 4:00 pm EST January 29 to January 31, 2021
Writing Sex in Fiction with Regina M. Porter$395
Once a week Wednesdays, 6:00 pm EST - 8:00 pm EST February 3 to March 10, 2021
Building Page-Turning Thrill Rides for Readers with Duane Swierczynski$150
Thursday - Saturday 3:00 pm EST - 5:00 pm EST February 4 to February 6, 2021
From Family Lore to Narrative Fiction with Maisy Card (Sold Out)$395
Once a week Tuesdays, 6:30 pm EST - 8:30 pm EST February 9 to March 16, 2021
Dialogue: Letting Your Characters Do More of the Work with De’Shawn Charles Winslow$495
Once a week Wednesdays, 6:30 pm EST - 8:30 pm EST February 10 to March 31, 2021
Members Only: The LiterariansFree
Wednesday, 12:30 pm EST - 2:00 pm EST February 17, 2021
How to Write Character-Driven Plot with Lauren Wilkinson (Sold Out)$150
Once a week Thursdays, 6:00 pm EST - 8:00 pm EST February 18 to March 4, 2021
New Ways to Jumpstart Stalled Stories with Sahar Mustafah$150
Saturday & Sunday 2:00 pm EST - 4:15 pm EST February 20 to February 21, 2021
What’s Italian? A Journey through 20th Century Italy with Antonio Romani
6 Sessions via Zoom Tuesdays, 6:00 pm EST - 7:30 pm EST February 23 to May 4, 2021
Reading the Other Americas with Kaiama L. Glover
4 Sessions via Zoom Wednesdays, 7:00 pm EST - 8:30 pm EST February 24 to May 26, 2021
The Art of Fiction Writing with Diane Zinna$495
Once a week Saturdays, 10:00 am EST - 12:00 pm EST February 27 to April 17, 2021
Criminal Justice in Fiction with Jennifer Baker
5 Sessions via Zoom Sundays, 1:00 pm EST - 2:30 pm EST February 28 to June 27, 2021
Elena Ferrante: The Early Works with Rebecca Falkoff
4 Sessions via Zoom Mondays, 7:00 pm EST - 8:30 pm EST March 1 to May 24, 2021
The Savage Detectives: Roberto Bolaño’s Rambunctious Road Trip with Samuel Rutter
6 Sessions via Zoom Wednesdays, 7:00 pm EST - 8:30 pm EST March 3 to June 9, 2021