July 22-24, 2021


Rooting Suspense in Domesticity

Writers of domestic suspense spin unsettling tales set in kitchens and bedrooms. The tension often grows out of what’s hidden in the closets or buried in the past. Hallie Ephron, a five-time finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award and Edgar Award Finalist, takes apart the inner workings of domestic suspense. Using classic (Patricia Highsmith and Shirley Jackson) examples and recent best sellers, we’ll explore how to structure a domestic suspense, and how to craft the kinds of characters and conflicts, secrets and settings that make it tick. Interactive exercises enable participants to apply these techniques to their works in progress.

Topics include:

Starting in the home… the unsettling setting

Family ties and unties… the characters, the conflicts

It isn’t what it seems… the story, the secrets

Not cozy, not hardboiled…. fitting into the genre, cliches to avoid

All Levels