Comma Press
Comma Press: Writing Short Crime Fiction Course

Comma Press: Writing Short Crime Fiction Course

I’m so excited to be teaching a new online writing course for Comma Press starting in May. You can book tickets for it here.

About the course:

This online writing course will give you the skills to write a great crime story. You will practice crafting memorable characters, writing believable dialogue, and bringing the world of your crime story compellingly to life using research and atmospheric settings. We will talk about finding the right pacing for your stories as well as ways of enhancing tension using clues, suspense, twists, and turns. We will begin short crime fiction projects and discover effective ways to develop them, discussing how to move forward with your writing after the course. The final session will help you polish your best piece of writing for publication in a Comma press eBook anthology.

During this course, you will learn how to:

  • Craft memorable characters that leap off the page.
  • Use the techniques of mystery and crime fiction.
  • Build atmospheric and immersive settings for your stories.
  • Create believable dialogue and compelling character conflict.
  • Plot short crime stories using suspense, twists & turns.
  • Make your work tight and taut by editing.

Course Schedule

Session One – Thursday 23rd May 2024


  • What makes a good crime story?
  • Different subgenres, tropes and devices.
  • Asking ‘what if’ makes the ordinary exciting.

Session Two – Thursday 6th June 2024

Crafting Compelling Characters:

  • Invent memorable & compelling characters.
  • Detectives, villains, heroes and antiheroes.
  • Whose story is this? Find your POV & voice.

Session Three – Thursday 20th June 2024

The suspense is in the details:

  • Clues, crime scenes and procedure.
  • Using detail to create atmospheric settings.
  • Researching your world to make it feel believable.

Session Four – Thursday 4th July 2024

Plot & pace, tension & twists:

  • Finding the best pacing for your story.
  • Heighten tension using story beats.
  • Working twists and turns into a plot arc.

Session Five – Thursday 18th July 2024

Dialogue, Subtext & Conflict:

  • Suspense-building dialogue with subtext.
  • Conversations that propel your story forward.
  • Dialogue, conflict, clues & character.

Session Six – Thursday 1st August 2024

Editing & polishing your story:

  • How to choose your best story for the eBook
  • What to look for when editing your work.
  • Questions for current and future projects.

Book a place