The 2018 Crime Writing Courses Guide

Is your New Years Resolution to improve your writing? Maybe its to start a brand new story? Or even to attempt your first ever work of fiction?

The following eleven courses provide the foundations of crime and creative writing, so that you can be assured you have the basics ready to create your own masterpiece.


Professional Writing Academy – ‘Writing Crime Fiction’

A four-week online course covering idea development, character creation and how to inject suspense into your writing. You will need to dedicate 5-7 hours per week during the course.

The syllabus:

Session 1: Settings and the senses
Session 2: Writing compelling characters and creating suspense
Session 3: All about research
Session 4: Write your own crime story

Tutor: Author Tom Bromley and a guest speaker

Cost: £295pp

Next course: 29th January 2018 or email here to find out the next available dates.


Cardiff University – ‘Writing Crime Fiction’

A 10-week part time course on the basics of writing crime fiction, meeting once a week at the University for the two-hour workshop. Further reading and working on your writing is done in your own time during the course.

The syllabus:

Week 1: Crime fiction – the hows and the whys.

Week 2: Choice of murder weapon – genre characteristics.

Week 3: Plotting the perfect crime.

Week 4: Detectives, traditional and otherwise.

Week 5: Criminals – the other side of the coin.

Week 6: Whose crime it is anyway? Thinking about point of view.

Week 7: Withholding evidence – showing not telling, and tension.

Week 8: Witness testimony – dialogue.

Week 9: Working out the details – research.

Week 10: Just one more thing: An opportunity for questions and course review.

Tutor: Katherine Stansfield

Cost: £165pp

Next course: 15th January 2018


Crime and Publishment – ‘Crime Fiction Writing Course’

A residential weekend held in Scotland where you will learn how to research effectively, market your story and get one-to-one help with your work-in-progress.

The syllabus:

Genre Expectations: Russel D. McLean

Getting to the Heart of the Story: Craig Robertson

Knowing your Characters: Michael J. Malone

Social media for Authors: Paul Teague & Graham Smith

1-2-1 Surgeries: Various Speakers

Synopsising your Novel and Preparing your Pitch: Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books)

Pitch your Novel: Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books)

When: 9th-11th March 2018

Where: Gretna Green, near Lockerbie

Cost: £295pp which includes course, hotel and food


Arvon Writing Course – ‘Crime Fiction: The Mysterious Art of Murder’

A full week of workshops, readings, exercises and one to one tuition with up to 15 other students.

When: 21st-26th May 2018

Where: Totleigh Barton, Devon

Tutors: Crime authors Andrew Taylor and Louise Welsh, with guest speaker Mark Billingham

Cost: £770pp which includes course, hotel, food and drink


Futurelearn – ‘Start Writing Fiction’

A free eight-week online course for complete beginners looking to start writing fiction.

The syllabus:

Week 1: Starting to Write Fiction

Week 2: The Habit of Writing

Week 3: Writing is Editing

Week 4: Building Your Story

Week 5: Creating Convincing Characters

Week 6: Developing and Portraying Characters

Week 7: Reading as a Writer

Week 8: Your Final Story

Next Courses: 5th March 2018, 3rd September 2018


Scribble – ‘Writing for New Writers’

A free online course completed over 14 weeks. This one is better suited for those who want to improve the structure of their writing: grammar, sentence and paragraph structure, tenses and more.

I’d really recommend it for absolute beginners who have never written a fictional story.


Writers Police Academy

A programme of educational and hands-on experience so that writers can better understand law enforcement, firefighting and forensics. This could include learning how to drive a police car, dog handling and shooting a gun.

Check out last years’ schedule here. I’m desperate to go to this!!!

When: 9th-12th August 2018

Where: Wisconsin, USA

Cost: TBA in February


Creative Writing Now – ‘Endless Story Ideas’

A free online course you can start anytime, consisting of three emails received over three days. In fact, the whole website is a smorgasbord of advice, tips and other courses to help you learn.

The syllabus:

Lesson 1: Character Ideas

Lesson 2: Conflict Ideas

Lesson 3: Setting Ideas


The Crafty Writers – ‘Creative Writing Course’

A free course hosted completely online which teaches you the basics of creative writing. You can skip to the lessons that most interest you by clicking the links below, or start at the beginning and work your way through.

There are a ton of exercises and lots of recommended further reading, this course is well worth your while.

The syllabus:

Releasing your Creativity

How to write a short story

Writing from a point of view (POV)

Bringing your writing to life


Writing dialogue

Poetry: how to write poems

Markets, competitions and opportunities


City Lit – ‘Crime Writing: An Introduction’

This day course provides crime writing basics at a good price. You will undertake various exercises and come away knowing how to critique others and positively receive criticism for your own work.

City Lit also provide a lot of other writing courses for you to check out.

The syllabus:

  1. Where do ideas come from?
  2. Why crime?
  3. Beginnings
  4. Point of view
  5. Character and conflict
  6. Plot schema
  7. Setting and atmosphere
  8. Evaluation and review

When: 9th June 2018

Where: Keeley Street, London

Tutor: Crime author Gerry Byrne

Cost: £59


Creative Writing Now – ‘Write a Successful Mystery’

This 8-week course is taught entirely by email and promises to teach you the tools to make your mystery story stand out.

The syllabus:

Week 1: Introduction to Mystery Writing 

Week 2: Background Stories 

Week 3: Investigation 

Week 4: Rules of the Game 

Week 5: Puzzle Pieces 

Week 6: Structure and Movement 

Week 7: Sleuths, Sidekicks, Villains, and Victims 

Week 8: Setting and Color 

Tutor: Nancy Strauss

Cost: $26.95



Over to you

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve taken any of these courses! Let me know of any others I’ve missed in the comments below!

Leave me a reply!