Home Events Likely Suspects: Writing the Comic Murder Drama – G201017

Likely Suspects: Writing the Comic Murder Drama – G201017

Are you in the mood for some fiendish fun? In this collaborative workshop, participants will develop characters and plot for a comic murder mystery theater performance. You’ll learn about building the arc of a compelling story, writing dialogue, crafting suspense, creating clues, and pacing a script. We’ll begin by discussing the roles of a victim and suspect and getting familiar with the important concepts of motive, opportunity, plot twists, clues, and red herrings. Then we’ll do some brainstorming to select the setting and theme for our own mystery; invent a collection of characters and establish their relationships to one another; and write short biographical descriptions of the characters. As a group, the class will select the victim, establish the mode of killing, and outline the motives for each suspect. Together, the class will plan the event at which the murder will take place. Although we’ll meet as a group each morning, this course will depend upon your doing some writing on your own time! In the afternoons, working individually or in smaller groups, participants will write dialogue for the scene or scenes leading up to the murder and its announcement. After a read-through of the rough draft, the group will revise the script, adding plot twists and clues as necessary and establishing the process of guiding the audience toward a conclusion. This may involve writing a series of clues (separate from the script) that will be distributed to audience members, allowing them to “interview” characters in the play. The revised script will be printed for each participant, and we’ll rehearse by taking parts and reading through the scripts one or more times. At the end of the week, we will present a staged reading (not a full performance) of the play. If time permits, we may involve the audience in questioning suspects.
Please note that our workshop price structure packages your tuition, course materials, lodging and meals together in a single rate.

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Please use the options below to find helpful information regarding Ghost Ranch Workshops and Retreats

Welcome to autumn at Ghost Ranch - a festival of color and creativity. Whether you choose to paint with brushes or fire or thread or write with a pen or a computer, let the hues of the ranch and the companionship of your colleagues inspire your pages and projects. All workshops meet every morning. Students in writing workshops will have afternoons to reflect, discuss, create and attend various talks. Fine art courses will have studio time. Participants from all workshops are welcome to attend readings and concerts in the evenings. In 2020, our artist in residence will be Cornelius Eady, a National Book Award winner and Pulitzer Prize nominated poet, who has set his poetry to song with the Cornelius Eady Trio. Eady’s songs tell the story of passing time, the Black American experience and the blues in the style of Folk and Americana music.

During this Covid-19 Pandemic Period, full refunds will be given as requested for workshops scheduled through May. This period may be extended or refunds considered per request. Please consider leaving your funds on deposit for another Ghost Ranch workshop or future stay. Or, consider donating a portion to help us through this unique business period.

Traditional Policy: Written notification must be received no later than 45 days prior to the start date of your workshop in order to receive a refund, minus a $100 processing charge. No refunds will be processed after that time. We reserve the right to announce a change in leadership or cancel any program 45 days prior to the first day of the workshop. In that event, you may transfer to another workshop without charge or we will refund the full workshop payment. Many participants have found it helpful to purchase travel insurance. This cancellation policy does not apply to January Term – see below.

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What day/time does the workshop start and end?

 Workshops always begin with check-in at 3:00 p.m. and a ranch orientation in the evening on the first date listed for the course and end at 10:00 a.m. with checkout on the last date listed..

What is double occupancy and single occupancy lodging?
  • All-inclusive rates include double occupancy lodging, meaning that we will have two participants per room in most cases.If you do not specify a roommate, you will be assigned a roommate of the same gender
  • In the off-season (late October-May), participants may choose to upgrade to single occupancy lodging for an additional $50 per night. Guarantee single occupancy lodging by paying the single occupancy upgrade.
  • During our busy summer seasons, late June-July and late September-early October, participants who register alone should expect to have a roommate assigned to their room. In some limited circumstances, a single occupancy upgrade will be available at $100 per night.
What is the difference between a room with private bath, a room with semi-private or shared bath, and a room with communal/dorm bath?
  • Private refers to the type of bathroom, not single occupancy
    • Private: There is a bathroom in that one room that is not shared between or with any other rooms.
    • Semi-private/shared: There is a bathroom in between two rooms that is shared by the occupants of the two rooms.
    • Communal/dorm: There is a communal bathroom/showers in the lodging building (or in a proximate building, for some upper mesa dorm rooms), and participants will need to exit their room to reach these facilities.


  • Colleen Anderson
    Colleen Anderson

    Colleen Anderson is a graphic designer, writer, and singer/songwriter who lives in West Virginia. Her interest in paper art and craft dates back to childhood, but she became a dedicated origami enthusiast about 15 years ago, after discovering Tomoko Fuse’s modular box designs. She is also an avid amateur photographer. Her origami and photography notecards are sold in a number of handcraft outlets and bookstores.


Oct 04 2020 - Oct 10 2020


Arrival & Departure Dates - Check-in & Check-out times
3:00 pm - 9:00 am


$775.00 - $1,540.00
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

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