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Further Adventures in Writing Crime Fiction

This course is currently unavailable for booking

There are currently no upcoming dates available for this course. Be the first to know when new dates are announced by joining the mailing list.

Are you keen to write engaging, plot-driven crime fiction?

You will explore strategies for structure, the role of twists, the power of setting, shaping secondary characters, and using narrative time.

Developed as a continuation of Writing Crime Fiction and also as a standalone for more experienced writers to hone their craft, this course will give you the opportunity to build a portfolio of new writing, and to develop synopsis-writing skills which may be useful when seeking publication.

For students who already have an idea for a novel-length crime story, the module will provide strategies for taking this work forward, and for those who wish to develop their crime writing skills but don’t yet have an idea in mind, the module will help generate new plots.

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered through ten workshops, which will include regular peer and tutor feedback.

Class sessions will be supplemented by resources available to students via Learning Central.

Syllabus content

  • The relationship between place and plot: how setting shapes, drives and reflects action
  • Plot structures: rising and falling tension, twists vs. reveals, endings
  • Devising detectives in response to plot themes
  • Secondary characters: who are they? What do they do?
  • Strategies for using narrative time: flashbacks, real time, summary
  • The challenge of exposition: how to convey the ‘facts’ of a case
  • Selling our stories: researching the marketplace, pitching work to agents and editors

Coursework and assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved.

Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning.

Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

For assessment, you will produce approximately 1800 words, made up of two 600-word fiction extracts and a 600 word synopsis.

Work will be graded to a numerical scale, rather than the pass/fail format used in Writing Crime Fiction.

Reading suggestions

  • James, P. D., Talking About Detective Fiction (London: Faber, 2010)
  • Rzepka, Charles J., Detective Fiction (Cambridge: Polity, 2005)
  • Scaggs, John, Crime Fiction: The New Critical Idiom (Abingdon: Routledge, 2005)
  • Symons, Julian, Bloody Murder: From the Detective Story to the Crime Novel (London: Penguin, 1992)
  • Winks, Robin W., Detective Fiction: A Collection of Critical Essays (Prentice-Hall, 1980)

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.