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Crime and Thriller Writing Summer School Short Course

Key information

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The ideal course for those looking to learn the fundamentals of writing their first work of crime fiction, including thrillers.

Why choose this course?

Gain a solid foundation in what makes a successful crime and thriller story and how to go about planning, plotting and writing one.

Course overview

An intensive week-long crime writing short course. Taught at our Central London campus, the course will include an in-depth look at what makes a crime novel and how to make your own writing strong, compelling and ready to submit.

Delivered over five days in a short intensive burst, you will learn the key elements of crime and thriller writing, including plotting, pacing, tension, characterisation and analysis of all the elements that give a book that page-turning quality. This highly practical course is suitable for both beginners and also those who have already started writing but need some direction.

After this course, students might also be interested in Short Story Writing, Novel Writing and Longer Works, and Writers' Workshop.

  • “ An excellent mixture of theory and practical advice ”

    Jennie Jones

    Former student

  • “ It met all my expectations ”

    Helen Adrian

    Former student

  • “ Structure of the course is excellent ”

    Hannah Moore

    Former student

What will I learn?

What will I learn?

You will learn a variety of techniques from creating characters that live off the page, to how to build a plot and how to use effective description. Other topics include building tension and pace into your writing; creating crime scene settings; and how to use research to bring veracity to your stories.

The structure of each day will be as follows:

Morning session 10:30-12:30, lunch 12:30-13:30, afternoon session 13:30-15:30.

a.m. – Introduction to crime fiction and thrillers
p.m. – Heroes, villains and victims: creating characters that live off the page

a.m. – Writing effective dialogue
p.m. – ‘Voice’ and point-of-view

a.m. How to plot your novel
p.m. – Handling pace and adding tension

a.m. – Writing settings that hook the reader
p.m. – Using description for tension and atmosphere.

a.m. – Editing your book
p.m. – Getting published

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Define what makes a crime story work.
  • Create believable characters that will live off the page.
  • Understand plot twists and how to use them to the best effect.
  • Use effective description in your writing.
  • Build tension and pace into your writing.
  • Create settings that evoke a strong sense of place.



English requirements

Delegates must have fluent written and spoken English.

Teaching & assessment

Teaching & assessment

There is no formal assessment for the course but students are expected to contribute to class discussions, complete any homework assignments and be open to giving and receiving feedback on their work in progress

Recommended reading

Recommended reading

Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2013

Someone Else’s Skin, Sarah Hilary, Headline, 2016

And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie, Harper Collins, 2007

Slow Horses, Mick Herron, John Murray, 2017

Tutor information

  • Caroline Green

    Caroline Green is an award-winning, best-selling author of fiction for both young people and adults. Her first book, Dark Ride, won the Waverton Good Read Award and the RoNA Young Adult Novel of the year in 2011.

    Cracks, Caroline's second book, was nominated for nine awards and featured on Radio Four’s Open Book as one of its teen reads of 2013. Hold Your Breath, her third, won the Oldham Brilliant Book Award for the Young Adult category. Writing as Cass Green, her adult debut The Woman Next Door was a Number 1 e-book bestseller. In A Cottage, In A Wood, her second adult novel, is a Sunday Times and USA Today bestseller. Her third, Don't You Cry, is out in September 2018.

    Caroline works extensively in schools teaching creative writing and is currently Writer in Residence at East Barnet School.