Writing Crime Fiction

Discover the secrets of compelling crime stories — with author Tom Bromley and guest crime writer

Are you passionate about crime fiction? Would you like to expand and hone your writing skills? This four-week online course will help you master the conventions of crime fiction as you develop ideas, create compelling characters and inject suspense into your writing. You’ll learn how to develop page-turning plots and put this knowledge into practice by writing a short crime story or start of a novel.

Course Director

ALLi Partner Member

Writing Crime Fiction is suitable for writers looking to expand their range and understand the conventions of the genre by exploring and experimenting with crime fiction techniques.

The course is suitable if you:

  • Write crime fiction and would like to broaden your palette of techniques
  • Enjoy reading crime fiction and want to start writing it
  • Are keen to master suspense and add intrigue to your plotlines and characterisation
  • Would like to explore a new genre and assess your potential
  • Want to join a friendly and supportive group of learners
  • Can dedicate 5-7 hours per week for the duration of the course

Tutor Tom Bromley will introduce you to techniques that add suspense to your writing, show you how to research effectively in the crime genre, and help you explore the senses to add depth to your settings.

As you work through the sessions, you’ll develop a new crime story while working within a supportive community of fellow writers keen to share their experiences with you.

Session 1: Settings and the senses
Why creating a convincing sense of place matters in crime fiction, with practical exercises to help you set your crime story and build a convincing world.
Session 2: Writing compelling characters and creating suspense
How writers create compelling characters, and ways to create a unique detective.
Session 3: All about research
Why research is so important for the crime-fiction writer, and how much to incorporate in your work.
Session 4: Write your own crime story
Try a longer piece of writing (up to 2,000 words) using all the techniques you have learned during the course. Read and give feedback on your fellow writers’ stories and receive feedback in return.

We teach this course in our 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.

You’ll learn from:

  • Videos, podcasts and reading suggestions from tutor, Tom Bromley
  • Examples from masters of the craft, including Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson
  • Exclusive interviews and tips from award-winning crime writer Sarah Hilary and others
  • Practical writing exercises to help you experiment and practise your crime writing
  • Guided discussions with your group
  • The opportunity to share your work and give and receive feedback from fellow writers
  • Mid-course live chat with a guest author

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 our alumni

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

Within our 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 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 guests here

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 Professional Writing Academy course, we’ll give you a discount. Please get in touch for more details.

Try a free course session

If you’re curious about how our online writing courses work, you can try our free taster session.

It shows you what our online classroom looks like, how our courses are set up, and gives you the chance to read, watch and listen to a sample of learning materials.

To try your taster session, please get in touch and we’ll send you a link.

When you do this we’ll also sign you up to our newsletter. We never share your details with other people and we’ll only get in touch once in a while to tell you about nice things – such as news, events, competitions and offers. (You can unsubscribe if you decide it’s not for you.)

What our students say...

I had a great time doing this course and it was wonderful to meet all my fellow students. Thanks to all their input and comments on my stories; I feel I have learned a lot. I’d like to say a special thank you to Tom, whose guidance throughout the course was invaluable.


What our students say...

Great course, really planned well to cover elements we can use in all our writing. I am most grateful for Tom’s insight, encouragement and helpful suggestions for making my writing stronger.


What our students say...

I understand now when I read something why it might feel a bit lackluster – crime, for instance, doesn’t breathe without setting.


What our students say...

This course has helped me to find my voice again. It has been really good to experiment with a new genre and I have found it a challenge, albeit an exciting one.


What our students say...

I have enjoyed the course very much. There is always knowledge to gain from writing, whatever the genre, and I feel I have learnt a great deal from these sessions. Also, I very much appreciate the student critiques and tutor feedback. Top advice is valuable and always welcome. It’s such a shame the course has come to an end. See you all in the Alumni area.


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