ASU News

Writers invited to polish their craft

July 10, 2012

It’s no mystery why people like to read “who-dunits”: They’re filled with suspense, odd characters, and twists and turns of the plots.

The mystery is in how to write a good thriller – at least for those who have never “dunit.” Download Full Image

Author Betty Webb will inaugurate the fall writing classes at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, Arizona State University, with a four-week session on “Writing Mysteries and Thrillers,” beginning Oct. 8.

There also will be the first of two four-week fiction classes by New York Times bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole; a one-day fiction class taught by Jewell Parker Rhodes; three one-day poetry classes instructed by Daniel Bosch, Jeredith Merrin and Gregory Donovan; and two online classes in fiction and poetry taught by Rhodes and Eduardo Corral. Registration is now open.

The class schedule and fees are:


• “Writing Mysteries and Thrillers,” 6-8 p.m., Mondays, Oct. 8-29, Piper Writers House, ASU’s Tempe campus. Instructor Betty Webb, a former journalist, is the author of 11 mystery novels, including the dark Lena Jones mysteries, based on stories she covered as a reporter.

The class will delve into plot, tone, setting, story structure, character, scene development, self-editing, and the need for a strong arc of action in the contemporary mystery novel and thriller. Webb will also cover the difference between the two genres and why that difference matters. Cost: $225 ($205 for Piper Friends).


• Four-week fiction sessions, 6-8 p.m., Thursdays, Oct. 11-Nov. 1, and next April, Piper Writers House, Tempe campus. Instructor Michael A. Stackpole has written more than 40 fantasy and science fiction novels. His best-known books were written in the Star Wars universe, including “I, Jedi” and “Rogue Squadron.” Cost: $225 ($205 for Piper Friends) for each session.

The goal of Stackpole’s two sessions is to have students write a novel then begin revising it. Session I, "Writing the Novel" (Oct. 11-Nov. 1), will cover reader engagement, story recipes, plotting and pacing and more.

Session II, “Completion, Revision and Reconstruction,” will require participants to have a work of at least 30,000 words to work on.


• One-day poetry class, "The Line and the Line Break," 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Sept. 15, Piper Writers House. Instructor Daniel Bosch will explore powerful examples of verse in search of fundamental practices such as measure, end-marking, caesura, syntactical patterning and variation, and sonic ornament. Cost: $125 ($105 for Piper Friends).

• One-day poetry class, "The Poetry of Dream and Vision," 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Sept. 29, Piper Writers House. Instructor Gregory Donovan will examine how to make strong use of dreams or visionary experiences, as well as how to avoid familiar false steps. Cost: $125 ($105 for Piper Friends).

• One-day fiction class, “Techniques of Writing Dialogue,” 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Oct. 13, Piper Writers House. Instructor Jewell Parker Rhodes will consider the specific techniques of writing dialogue—from the singular (monologue) to two, three, and four person dialogues. Subtext, silence, action/reaction are all elements that add to convincing dialogue. Cost: $150 ($130 for Piper Friends).

• One-day poetry class, "Getting It Together and Being of Two Minds," 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Nov. 3, Piper Writers House. Instructor Jeredith Merrin will discuss how poets gather bits of information and experience and shape them into interesting, even memorable, works of art. Cost: $125 ($105 for Piper Friends).


• Poetry, "Four Poems in Four Weeks," week of Oct. 7-week of Oct. 28. With instructor: Eduardo Corral, participants will write four poems in four weeks, focusing on four types: praise, narrative, imitation and elegy. Cost: $225 ($205 for Piper Friends).

• Fiction, "Fiction Fundamentals." Instructor Jewell Parker Rhodes will discuss creating character and a compelling plot; elevating your prose with concrete detail, and enhancing your story through setting, atmosphere, and tone; considering the power of point of view – who owns the story; and creating credible dialogue and narrative voice. Cost: $245 ($225 for Piper Friends).

For complete information about the classes, instructors, becoming a Piper Friend, and registration, go to