Writing Crime

Learn how to write authentic, gripping crime fiction with tutor Andrew Wilson 

This 8-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.


Start date: 9 May 2022 **
Duration: 8 weeks
Skill level: Intermediate
Session length: Weekly (final session lasts a fortnight
Sessions: 7
Price: £495 (inc. VAT where applicable)

** We are accepting late enrolments for a limited time


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.

You’ll learn in Faber Academy’s online classroom, which is open 24/7 so you can balance your learning around your work, family and friends. You’ll work in a small group of fellow learners so you can discuss ideas, ask questions and share your writing as you progress through the sessions. Each group is limited to 15 students or fewer.

You’ll learn from:

  • Videos from course director Tom Bromley and crime fiction authors
  • Podcasts and reading suggestions from course tutor, Andrew Wilson
  • Practical writing exercises to help you experiment and practise your skills as you work on your novel
  • Guided discussions with your group
  • Group webinars with your tutor on Zoom
  • Live Q&A with a guest crime fiction author
  • The opportunity to share your work and give and receive feedback from fellow writers

You’ll need:

  • 5-7 hours per week to work through the course
  • A notebook and pen or pencil, if you like to make notes by hand
  • A laptop or computer* with:
    • A reliable broadband internet connection
    • Speakers or headphones
    • The latest version of Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, or Safari
    • Microsoft Word. If you don’t have this you can download Open Office free
    • Adobe Reader, latest version. Download free
    • QuickTime Player, latest version. Download free

*You can access the course from a tablet or smartphone, but we recommend using a laptop or computer, as this makes it easier to share your work files with your writing group.

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

This is a Faber Academy course, so you need to book through their website.

Ready to start writing?

Price: £495 (inc. VAT where applicable)
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