Writing Crime

The course

Explore your potential as a crime fiction writer.

This eight-week online course, run by our partners at Faber Academy, will help you explore the conventions of the genre and your potential as a crime fiction writer.

You’ll experiment with a range of techniques and learn how to inject more suspense into your writing, working towards the first chapter or prologue for a crime or thriller novel.

Andrew Wilson

Meet your course director

Andrew Wilson

Andrew Wilson is a novelist, biographer and journalist. His journalism has appeared in the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, Tatler, the Observer, the Sunday Times, the Daily Mail and the Washington Post. He is also a creative writing mentor on the Gold Dust scheme.

In partnership with Faber Academy

Expert guidance from first line to final draft, at the home of one of Britain’s great publishers. We work in partnership with Faber Academy to offer a range of courses for fiction writers at all stages of development – choose from key skills short courses through to advanced novel writing courses.

How it works

We give you the theory in the form of videos, podcasts, written lectures and reading extracts. In the case of our live workshops, this includes a live online seminar.

You put it into practice by completing the writing assignments.

You share your work with the small group of fellow writers and the teaching team.

Your tutor and fellow learners read your work and give professional-style feedback on your submission. Giving feedback notes helps to build your skills as an editor - a critical part of the writing process.

You reflect on the exercises with the group and share what you’ve learned.

You use what you learned from the feedback and discussions to review your work and improve it.

Things to know

Writing Crime is an intermediate level course, designed for people who have some writing experience. The course is suitable if you:

  • Are interested in exploring your potential as a crime fiction writer
  • Need the discipline of deadlines, together with a carefully structured approach to developing your novel idea
  • Are keen to further develop your writing techniques
  • Want to join a friendly and supportive group of learners
  • Can dedicate 5-7 hours per week for the duration of the course

Each weekly session explores a different topic and includes reading and writing exercises designed to help you develop a range of creative, practical and critical skills.

You’ll explore the conventions of the genre and learn how crime fiction writers use techniques to inject suspense into their writing and will work towards producing the first chapter of a novel. In each session, you’ll collaborate with a close-knit team of fellow writers to share ideas and feedback on each other’s work.

Session 1: Starting Points? – In this opening session, we’ll look at ideas behind successful beginnings, and the beginnings of coming up 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.

Live group webinar with the tutor.

Session 2: Sense of Place – 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.

Session 3: 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 root for, or individuals they’ll want to see behind bars.

Live group webinar with the tutor.

Session 4: Powerful Plotting – We’ll look at some of the practical secrets behind good plotting, plus ways to plan out from an original premise to a narrative that continues to grow, intrigue and keep your reader on their toes.

Session 5: 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: Establishing Authenticity – This session focuses on why research is so important for the crime and thriller writer, including where to go to find out about police procedure, forensics and firearms, interviewing techniques and how to retro-fit facts.

Live Q&A webinar with featured guest crime author.

Session 7: Drawing Together Threads – 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 your tutor during the last week of the course.

Join the Faber Academy alumni

After your course, you can join the online alumni where you’ll meet the growing network of past Faber Academy students. The alumni is a friendly group of writers who support each other as they continue to explore and develop their writing.

Within the online alumni area you can:

  • Rejoin your classmates on a private forum and access an archived version of your course materials and forum posts
  • Meet alumni from other Faber Academy courses and groups and share your work for feedback on our alumni critiquing forum
  • Join in on discussions about reading, writing, editing and ideas on our general discussion forum. This is also where we share news and useful info
  • Retain access to our resources area, which has interesting and informative links
  • Chat with other people online using the alumni area live chatroom. We also host live chats with guest tutors, authors, agents, editors and publishers


Commission a report on your work

If you’d like to receive a personalised, detailed report on your final piece of writing from your course tutor, this is available at an extra cost. You’ll receive detailed written feedback assessing your ideas and writing, plus advice on what steps to take next.

Taking things further

If you’d like to continue on to another Faber Academy course, you’ll receive a discount. Please get in touch for more details.

The team

Meet your course team

Andrew Wilson

Andrew Wilson

Crime Mastermind

Andrew Wilson is a novelist, biographer and journalist. His journalism has appeared in the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, Tatler, the Observer, the Sunday Times, the Daily Mail and the Washington Post. He is also a creative writing mentor on the Gold Dust scheme.

More about Andrew Wilson

Danielle Charles

Moderator

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