Writing Crime

Improving | Fiction
Crime fiction is now the biggest-selling genre in the fiction marketplace. Writing Crime is for those with an interest in crime fiction and a desire to develop their writing skills.

This twelve-week course is designed for students who are already writing and are keen to take their skills to the next level.

Through a mixture of feedback on students’ work, in-class writing exercises and discussion of craft and technique, this comprehensive course will offer students an opportunity to get to the heart of what it means to be Writing Crime. The course – divided into twelve two-hour sessions – will examine character, plot, dialogue, structure, point of view, setting and atmosphere, conflict, the art of creating suspense, clues and red herrings, plot twists, forensics and police procedure, redemption and resolution, and ethics in crime fiction.

It will also include close reading of crime novel extracts, and a series of crime-specific writing prompts and guided writing exercises intended to enhance work-in-progress.

All students will be offered an opportunity to have an extract of their crime novel or short story critiqued by their Writing Crime peers, and will leave the course with a working knowledge of the industry and its commercial trends.

27th September 2021 - 13th December 2021

Availability: In stock

9 Places
All sessions take place on Monday evenings, from 7–9pm

Session 1 (Monday 27 September): Getting Started
Getting to know each other. An introduction to crime fiction and its core elements. Generating a story/choosing an idea. To prologue or not to prologue? The importance of the opening chapter.

Session 2: Watching the Detective
How to develop a compelling lead character with the potential to carry a standalone or series, paying particular attention to point of view and voice. Creating nuanced characters instead of caricatures. The relevance of back-story.

Session 3: The Making of a Murderer
If a detective is the beating heart of crime fiction, a killer is its blood and guts. Create a memorable antagonist who stands out from the crowd. Think Hannibal Lecter, Dexter, Tom Ripley. Which is more important - the who-dunnit or the why-dunnit?

Session 4: Story vs Plot
Whatisthe difference between story and plot? And why is conflict – the opposing forces of good and evil - so essential in crime fiction?

Session 5: Plot Twists
Good crime fiction shouldn’t cheat the reader – the clues are there if you know where to look. This session covers clues and red herrings – and the difference between twists and resolutions

SPRING BANK HOLIDAY – please note there will be no class on Monday 25 May, and sessions will resume the following Monday.

Session 6: Guest Author TBC

Session 7: The Art of Suspense
Whether it’s a locked room mystery, a page-turning thriller or a sprawling epic, structure is a key element of crime fiction and helps to build suspense. This session considers how to manage the passage of time, pace and the concept of a ticking clock.

Session 8: The Importance of Place
Much of our best-loved crime fiction is as synonymous with place as its detective – think Rebus’s Edinburgh or Morse’s Oxford. Learn how setting and atmosphere can be as effective as an extra character.

Session 9: ‘You do not have to say anything but…’
Silence speaks volumes but dialogue tells it own story. From lies and misdirection to confessions and bombshells, good dialogue should always reveal something about character.

Session 10: Guest Author TBC

Session 11: Research and Forensics
How to make your crime fiction as authentic as possible, this session covers research techniques including forensics and police procedure.

Session 12: Justice has been done — or has it?
This final session deals with the ethics of crime fiction - including how violent is too violent? and women as victims - and the idea of redemption and resolution. It also covers how to write a satisfying ending and next steps on the journey to publication.

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Fiona Cummins is a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course and an award-winning...



Come to one of the world's great literary cities and study creative writing at Faber Academy's home in historic Bloomsbury. Our London courses take place at Faber and Faber's offices.

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