Archive for April, 2013

Anatomy of Archetypes Workshop at LitReactor

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2013 by nikkorpon

omar-indeedI’m very excited (and lagging behind) to say that I’m teaching a class over at LitReactor called ANATOMY OF ARCHETYPES. The class runs from 13-27 June. We’ll be looking as classical archetypes in stories and ways to undermine and subvert those archetypes to create new and compelling characters. Things we discuss will include Omar Little, Darth Vader, The Odyssey, hardboiled novels, Rooster Cogburn and more. This class will deal mainly in genre, but go across genre-bnoundaries, so no worries if you have one particular one you’re fond of. The class synopsis is below. You should make like the Deadites and join us. It’ll be fun.

It doesn’t matter if you’re writing hardboiled crime or urban fantasy, space operas or western ballads: The most inventive plot will crack and disintegrate if there aren’t real and compelling characters supporting it. 

These characters, though, are not just arbitrary attributes housed inside a shell. From Luke Skywalker to Phineas Poe to Hamlet, the most memorable figures in literature can be aligned with a character archetype. By studying these archetypes—their characteristics and their place within a plot—we can create characters that readers are able to identify with.

But, will this make the reader follow the characters into Hell? We need to make these characters real, living, bleeding people, and by exploiting the archetypes, by subverting and humanizing them with concise, evocative details, we can create the type of characters that a reader will follow into whatever shadowed alley, extraplanetary prison or damned castle in which their dark fate lies.

This class will focus on genre fiction, which has long been ghettoized by the literati for being formulaic and poorly written. There are several reasons for choosing genre, the least of which is showing why this notion is not accurate.

First, there are as many genres as there are ways to dispose of a body. This is important because each genre has their own tropes and expectations, ones that we will learn to subvert and combine with other genres to create surprising and original tales in a variety of settings.

Second, genre fiction tends to have the most obvious character archetypes, for better or worse, and this will allow us to analyze, deconstruct and rebuild them into more fully-realized people that will work as easily in a noir melodrama as a dystopian western.

Finally, many stories in these genres are fueled by the desire for power or love, an impulse that impacts almost every action in every aspect of society. 

City Lit Panel and Creative Writing Workshop

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2013 by nikkorpon

FrinkLots of stuff going on behind the scenes but I thought I should mention these two things before it got too late.

On Thursday, 11 April, I’ll be leading a fiction workshop, “From Hero to Trickster: Using Archetypes in Your Fiction” as part of CCBC’s Creative Writing Forum. We’ll be talking about character archetypes in fiction, as well as plotting stories. The workshop will wrap up with the entire class building a story from the ground up. The workshop will be in Room E213 from 4-5.15PM on CCBC’s Catonsville campus.

A few days later, I’ll be moderating the “Mysterious Adaptation: Noir from Novels to the Movies” panel at the CityLit Festival in Mount Vernon (which George Saunders is headlining!) on Saturday 13 April from 12-1.30PM. Ariel Winter, Art Taylor, Brian Lindenmuth and I will be discussing adapting mystery novels from page to screen. The panel will be in Pratt Library in the School and Student Services room on the second floor from 12-1.30PM. There will also be a signing/arguing session afterwards. The panel blurb is below.

With the recent release of the Anthony Hopkins movie Hitchcock, interest in film noir has peaked again. But before these stories hit celluloid, many of them lurked in the dark pages and gutters of books. What is the mystery behind adapting a great novel to the silver screen? Join host Nik Korpon and panelists for a thrilling discussion.

There’s more exciting stuff that I should be able to talk about soon, the least of which is a redesign of this woefully outdated website. Don’t get me wrong: It’ll still be WordPress, but at least a different WordPress than it is now.