R.W.R. McDonald on developing the Crime Fiction Lab

We asked R.W.R. McDonald to tell us more about the new online course Crime Fiction Lab he has developed with Katherine Kovacic.

FWA: Please tell us what you’re planning to offer.

RWR: The five-week course dives into the elements of Crime Fiction, discussing the sub-genres and rules, exploring the various types protagonists and the ways crime stories can be told. From victims and villains, clues and red herrings, to settings, we will examine these elements as they relate to crime writing.

FWA: Who will benefit most from participating in the course and how much crime writing should they have done in the past?

RWR: This will benefit beginners all the way to emerging. We ask that participants come to class with a minimum of a crime fiction story idea as over the weeks we want to examine the various elements of crime writing and apply it to their own stories. For those participants who already have a work in progress this course can help as a reviewing tool by investigating each particular crime element of their story.

FWA: Who will you be teaching with (I’ve heard Katherine Kovacic will be participating) – as co-teacher?

RWR: I will be co-teaching with Katherine Kovacic (my old Faber classmate and writing BFF). Katherine was short listed for the Ned Kelly Awards last year and is now the author of three crime fiction books.

FWA: Will there be crime writing guests? Who?

RWR: We are very excited to have Craig Sisterson, crime reviewer, founder of the Ngaio Marsh Awards and champion of Australian and New Zealand crime fiction. Craig will speak to the class about what makes a great crime story as a reader, as well as discuss setting. Also… we have a double guest panel of best-selling crime authors Sarah Bailey and Chris Hammer to discuss police procedurals and journalism in crime fiction, along with any writing questions the class may have.

FWA: Will it be fun? Any special teaching events/techniques employed?

RWR: It will be fun. Crime fiction delves into the darkness so we definitely want to have humour to help offset that. Each class will be varied, we definitely don’t want our participants to be stuck staring at a screen for two hours. There will be class writing exercises, the sharing of insights and class discussion, along with teaching the week’s module. There will also be plenty of examples from both Katherine any myself of personal writing experiences and tips along the way. PLUS the fabulous special guests above.

FWA: Can you offer any clues for the fans about the new Nancys’ instalment coming next year?

RWR: It takes place four months after The Nancys ended, in April, with the gang back together in Riverstone for the one year anniversary of Tippy’s father’s death. That night a terrible event happens in Riverstone which rocks the town. Soon after The Nancys are approached by a paying client to reform once again. But sometimes a band doesn’t stay together…

Thanks to R.W.R. McDonald

Crime Fiction Lab with R.W.R. McDonald and Katherine Kovacic is a new online five-week course.
5 August – 2 September 2020
Full course details here.