David Morrell Workshop, June 6, 2008, Boise

One of the things I love about writing is that there’s always something new to learn. There’s always new content and, therefore, lots of cool research, but there’s also a lot to learn about the craft. I have no illusion that because I now have a contract I’ve suddenly arrived as a master craftsman. This art is just too big.

So you can imagine my delight when I saw that David Morrell is going to be giving a day-long workshop in my own backyard (out West, 5-8 hours is still in your backyard). I’ve signed up for Morrell’s workshop on June 6, 2008.

He’s the guy who wrote Rambo and started Thrillers Inc. He was also a professor for many years.
More on the Conference

More on Morrell.

This was interesting.

Ali: As a Professor of Literature at Iowa, what were your experiences in academia like? Did you tutor any students who became prominent in the fiction field?

David : I have a Ph.D. in American literature and taught academic courses: the American Novel of the 19th Century, the American Novel of the 20th Century, American Realism, Hemingway and Faulkner, Hawthorne and Melville, that sort of thing. The University of Iowa has the famous Writers Workshop, but I had nothing to do with it. In fact, they hated the sort of books I wrote and hated even more that I earned money as a novelist. That was the official line. But in secret, students snuck to my office and asked me technical questions about craft or asked me to read contracts they’d been offered (to see if the contracts were reasonable). Sometimes they showed me their manuscripts. The most productive association of that sort was with Jon Jackson who later published a series of police novels about Detroit. My most gifted student was T. C. Boyle. He writes humorous literary novels and short stories that critics love. His latest is DROP CITY. I taught him nothing about writing – he was a genius. But he did ask me to direct an individual reading course that he needed in order to graduate. We had a lot of interesting discussions, and I’m thrilled by his distinguished career.

Interestingly enough, T.C. Boyle was one of the writers that made life bearable for me while I was getting my BA in English. His novels, well, I never finished one of them. But his short work sings. Heck, his long work sings, but there’s not enough plot for my tastes.

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