Guest post: Michael Fowler on Getting Started on Your Crime Novel (course).


As many of you already know, I attended Crime and Publishment in Gretna a couple of weeks ago. As a Creative Writing tutor, it’s been a long time since I’ve been on the other side of the classroom, so to speak. But as a writer, it was invaluable. It gave me time to think about my own writing as well as immersing me in an environment where everyone was thinking and talking about writing.

If you would like to give a Creative Writing course a go, Michael Fowler is here to talk about his course Getting Started on Your Crime Novel, which will take place during Spring Bank Holiday – Tuesday 31st May  to Thursday 2nd June. For more information, or to book your place, email Michael

Vic x

The idea of running a crime writing course was first mooted following a joint author talk with Danuta Reah in 2014, upon learning of her creative writing teaching background, and that prospect took a giant leap forward when I met up with Alison Taft at one of her creative writing retreats.

I have to confess, right from the outset, that my knowledge of writing crime novels has come from ‘How to’ books and so, although enthused to be part of this, equally, I felt somewhat out of my depth, especially given Danuta and Alison’s background. Nevertheless, I set about the programme’s development with a great degree of excitement because we had identified that a must would be an input on crime and procedure – my area of knowledge.

From the outset we agreed we wanted to give those attending the component parts of writing a crime novel, plus provide them with knowledge of how to prepare for the publishing market. We also determined that police procedure and forensics, via a crime scene scenario, would be built in.

The hook for the course came thanks to Darren Laws, CEO of our publisher, Caffeine Nights. He agreed to read the best three submissions from those who attended.

The first course ran last April and 15 people attended. The class included a Forensic Anthropologist, whose CV included advising Kathy Reichs and Anne Cleeves on their books, and who has proved to be a great contact for my latest DS Hunter Kerr novel, and a writing fan of Danuta’s, who travelled all the way from Germany.

Over the three days the writers provided some great material and each of them spent individual time with us discussing their projects they were working. Since the course has ended two of them have gained publishing contracts and two have been given the opportunity to pitch to Darren Laws.

Our next course takes place during Spring Bank Holiday – Tuesday 31st May  to Thursday 2nd June. This year’s programme contains everything you need to develop plot and character, create dramatic tension and write a compelling opening chapter, on the novel writing front, and within the  publishing element, will be sessions on writing a synopsis and how to pitch to a publisher. The entire event will be centred around a real-time murder. (In actual fact the incident is loosely fashioned on a murder investigation I was involved in back in the early 1980’s.)

The venue is The Stables, High Melton College, which nestles within the picturesque village of High Melton, 5 miles from Doncaster and only a couple of miles from junction 37 of the A1.

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