Writing Crime Fiction

w/ Ashley Kalagian Blunt and guests including writers Chris Hammer and Sulari Gentill

Successful crime fiction writers may find their work on bestseller lists and even making the leap to movie and television screens. The writing can be hardboiled, action-packed, even philosophical in nature, making crime fiction a diverse genre. This course will take you through the fundamentals of crime fiction, while affording you space to develop your own craft.

Wednesdays 6.30pm – 8.30pm (AEST), 15 May – 19 June 2024

Autumn sale price: $560/$476 alumni
(Normally $620 / $ 527 alumni)

Crime fiction can be as much a mystery to writers as it is to readers. While the reader tries to figure out ‘Whodunnit?’, the aspiring writer might ask ‘Howdunnit?’ In this 6-week program, the author Ashley Kalagian Blunt will reveal exactly how she does it in her popular novels.

Working together you will explore crime fiction sub-genres and the rules they operate by – which rules you can bend and which you can break. You will explore the various types of protagonists and antagonists. Structure is essential, so you will be shown the ins and outs of plotting and planning effective crime fiction.

Throughout, the focus will be on helping you develop your own work, whether you are coming into the class with the glimmer of an idea or have a substantial work already in progress. Weekly class exercises will help you push ahead.

By the end of the course you should have gained an understanding of the important elements and techniques of crime fiction, while having had the chance to develop and extend your writerly skills. In the final session – the denouement – you will have the chance to hear from a leading publisher of crime fiction to gain a better understanding of the Australian market.

Your course includes:

  • A complimentary copy of a recent A&U crime fiction publication
  • On completion of the course, alumni discounts on future Faber Writing Academy courses and books from the Allen & Unwin website.

Writers you'll be working with:

Ashley Kalagian Blunt

Ashley Kalagian Blunt is the number one bestselling author of Dark Mode, an internationally published psychological thriller. Her earlier books include How to Be Australian, a memoir, and My Name Is Revenge, collected fiction and essays, which was a finalist in the 2018 Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award. Her writing appears in the Sydney Morning Herald, Overland, Griffith Review, Sydney…

Chris Hammer

Chris Hammer is the author of two non-fiction books and three crime fiction novels. His non-fiction works , The River and The Coast were published in 2010 and 2012 and constitute a blend of travel writing and narrative non-fiction. Chris’ debut crime fiction novel, Scrublands, was published by Allen & Unwin in 2018, and is a worldwide best seller. It won…

Sulari Gentill

Sulari Gentill is the author of the multi- award-winning Rowland Sinclair Mysteries, a series of (currently) ten historical crime novels set in 1930s Australia.  Her widely praised standalone novel, After She Wrote Him, won the Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Novel and was short-listed for the Davitt Award. Most recently, she published the award-winning and…

Course outline

Session 1: Wednesday 15 May: Introductory Session: Sub-Genre, Rules, Means, Opportunity and Motive

  • Introductions, course outline and goals
  • Outline of the crime fiction genre and sub-genres
  • Means, Opportunity and Motive

Session 2: Wednesday 22 May: Main Character and Plot

  • Who is your crime fighter – or are they the criminal?
  • Main character: from small details to the big picture
  • Is your story plot driven or character driven?

Session 3: Wednesday 29 May: Victim, Villain and the Supporting Cast with guest writer Chris Hammer

  • Who is your first victim?
  • Who is your villain?
  • Your supporting cast: suspects, lies and alibis

Session 4: Wednesday 5 June: Structure and Narrative Drive 

  • How do you structure your story?
  • How do you keep readers turning the pages?

Session 5: Wednesday 12 June: Setting and Evidence with guest writer Sulari Gentill

  • Setting as a character
  • Clues, red herrings and types of evidence
  • Police procedurals and journalism in crime fiction
  • Ask a crime writer Q&A

Session 6: Wednesday 19 June: Research and Where to From Here? With guest publisher Robert Watkins

  • Researching: forensic science and crime scene investigation tips
  • Where to from here? Associations and competitions
  • Class discussion on taking your story forward
  • Hear from a leading publisher about the crime fiction market

How to Book

Purchase Includes 10% tax

To secure your place in Writing Crime Fiction you can choose to pay the full course fee ($560/ $ 476 alumni) or the deposit ($220/ $187 alumni).

If you pay the deposit only, two further payments of $170/ $144.50 alumni will be required, the first by 26 May and the second by 9 June 2024. Payment instructions will be sent closer to the time.