Writing Crime (Online)

Improving | Fiction
Learn the secrets of the UK's most popular genre – and begin work on your own crime novel.

Spend eight weeks with a small group of fellow crime writers developing your ideas, broadening your palette of techniques and injecting more suspense into your writing.

Each week you’ll receive valuable feedback from your closeknit group while finetuning your self-editing skills by responding to other writers’ work. There are weekly group webinars or Q&A sessions with your tutor, plus a live chat with a guest crime author whose work you’ll learn from during the course.

Every session features downloadable tutor notes and recorded lectures, guided reading and analysis, practical exercises and prompts to keep you writing, as well as exclusive interviews with leading crime writers. You’ll have dedicated private forums and chatrooms to discuss your work in confidence 24/7, along with around-the-clock moderator support.

11th October 2021 - 5th December 2021

Availability: In stock

15 Places

This course is a flexible one, meaning that each session – with the exception of the last, longer one – is open for one week. During that week you're free to work through the materials, join in the discussion and upload your work at any time that suits you. Any live element that requires you to be online at a particular time (webinars with your tutor or a guest author) will be scheduled for a slot during the relevant session that's convenient for as many participants as possible.

Session 1 – 11 October: Starting Points

In this opening session, we’ll look at successful beginnings and how to start with a compelling idea for a crime story. We’ll explore why a good crime writer is a good crime reader, with practical techniques to harness your love of crime novels and thrillers in ways that will hook your own readers. Includes icebreakers, practical exercises to test ideas, and first pages to pull apart.

We’ll be reading a recommended novel throughout the course, and will explore the techniques the author uses in each session before a live Q&A with them in the final session.

Live group webinar with the tutor.

Session 2 – 18 October: Sense of Place

A sense of place is always important in fiction, but particularly when you’re writing crime or thrillers. A strong location should act as an additional character and contribute a unique feel and sense of atmosphere to the story.

In this session we’ll look at how to use detail and the different senses to make your descriptions of place both resonant and razor-sharp. Exercises include using locations you know to create a potential crime scene.

Q&A session with the tutor.

Session 3 – 25 October: Criminally Good Characters

A crime story needs someone responsible for the crime – and someone to solve it. In this session we’ll look at an array of types of crime fighter and try out practical ways to make characters memorable – whether they are people you want your reader to root for or individuals they’ll want to see behind bars.

Live group webinar with the tutor.

Session 4 – 1 November: Powerful Plotting

A good crime or thriller has a strong story at its heart. But what essential elements of narrative do crime and thriller writers use to keep the reader turning the pages? In this session we’ll look at some of the practical secrets behind good plotting, plus ways to expand an original premise into a narrative that continues to grow, intrigue and keep your reader on their toes.

Q&A session with the tutor.

Session 5 – 8 November: Pace and Action

If plotting is about pulling the story together, action is about giving the narrative its punch. In this session we’ll look at different ways of adding excitement into your work, with practical exercises on writing action and other techniques to vary the pace in your fiction.

Live group webinar with the tutor.

Session 6 – 15 November: Establishing Authenticity,/strong>

Research is so important for the crime and thriller writer and in this session, we'll discuss where to go to find out about police procedure, forensics, firearms, and more. We'll look at interviewing techniques and how to retro-fit facts, as well as considering when it's time to let go of the research stage and how to ensure procedure doesn't get in the way of plot.

Live Q&A webinar with featured crime author.

Session 7 – 22 November: Drawing Together Threads (two weeks)

Two weeks of quiet writing time as you focus on your final assignment: taking the setting, character and techniques you have explored through the course, you’ll write a first chapter or prologue for your peers to respond to.

Final group webinar with the tutor during the last week of the course.

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Andrew Wilson is a novelist, biographer and journalist. His first book, Beautiful Shadow: A Life...

"There's no point staring at a blank page waiting for inspiration to strike - to get your creative muscles working you need to start writing, reviewing and sharing your work."

Helen Shipman