What the course covers
Module 1 – Firm Foundations
This module will give you the foundations you’ll need for the rest of the course. You’ll look at your favourite crime novel with analytical eyes, you’ll explore where ideas come from, and you’ll have a go at writing a few different story openings in contrasting styles. For your assignment, you’re asked to submit up to 1,000 words of the opening of a crime story – either your current work in progress or inspired by one of the exercises.
Module 2 – A Sense Of Place
In this module, you will explore the importance of place and the role of setting in crime fiction. You’ll look at iconic crime fiction locations and the way they impacted on the story, you’ll discover the functionality of setting as a writer, and you’ll create a sensory description of setting. For your assignment, you’ll bring all of this together in a 1,500-word crime scene.
Module 3 – Who Do You Think They Are?
This module focuses on writing character. You’ll go out and observe people in the real world, you’ll examine the delicate line between heroes and villains, and explore motive and credibility in crime fiction. Your assignment this week will be to introduce your main character to your reader, bringing together everything you’ve learned from this module.
Module 4 – Finding Your Way
In this module, you’ll look at some of the key techniques of all fiction: plot, point of view, and conflict. You’ll also look at techniques specific to crime fiction, including tension and pace, menace and suspense, and the way you manage time. For your assignment, you’ll pull all these together to write an engaging section of narrative.
Module 5 – How Far Will You Go?
This module tackles the difficult elements of crime fiction: murder, violence, and gore. You will find your comfort zone and explore why you read and write things you might find difficult. You’ll look at different perspectives, you’ll find the body in your narrative and you’ll also look at different types of crime fiction that aren’t centred around death. Rather than an assignment, you’ll submit a piece of work you’ve been struggling with or want feedback on and have a 1-1 tutorial with your tutor.
Module 6 – The Sense of an Ending
This module will be split between the creative aspects of bringing your story to a close, and some practical aspects of making your work as good as it can be and taking the first steps towards publication. You’ll discuss the perfect final chapter, you’ll tie up loose ends, and you’ll read your work aloud as an editing tool. You’ll also submit questions to an agent to find out about the next stage if you’re looking to publish your writing. Your final assignment will be the first draft of an ending of your work.