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Galena LitFest: Abnormal Psychology in Fiction Writers Workshop (virtual)

March 28 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

In this last event of Galena LitFest’s Mystery March, author and educator Steven J. Kolbe will present a writers workshop featuring techniques for writing abnormal psychology in fiction, particularly mystery and suspense.

If television and movies have taught us anything it’s that people with mental illnesses are violent (Psycho), are somehow driven mad by their genius (A Beautiful Mind), and often receive near-magical abilities from their illness (Homeland). Literary portrayals aren’t much better. Treatment is frequently described either as ineffective (at best) or as blood-chilling manipulation by a malevolent doctor or nurse (at worst). Mental imbalance as a plot device is even more pervasive and tends to highlight extreme experiences for the sake of conflict, drama, and otherness. As a writer with bipolar who writes about characters with mental health struggles, I will detail some effective strategies that writers can use to accurately portray characters with mental health diagnoses–and why this matters.

This is a virtual event via Zoom. To register click here or call us at 815-777-0200. We can also play it live in the library. If you’d prefer to watch it at the library please email distlerl@galenalibrary.org. Registrants will have the opportunity to submit questions in advance, which will then be incorporated into the program. If time allows, questions will also be taken live from audience members.

Steven J. Kolbe studied at NOCCA and LSU in Louisiana before earning his undergraduate and graduate degrees in English from Kansas State University. He started his writing career as a lowly student worker for the prestigious literary journal The Southern Review. If you received a formal rejection letter in the mid-2000s, he probably sealed the envelope. He is the author of the Ezra James mystery series available through The Wild Rose Press and Harlequin Books. He lives in Southwest Kansas with his wife and four children.

Galena LitFest is the tenth annual literary festival organized and funded by the Galena Public Library with support from the Friends of the Galena Public Library. Events will take place February through May 2024.


March 28
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
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Galena Public Library
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