Digital Course: Writing Gripping Crime Fiction

Tue 5 September 2023 - Tue 10 October 2023
Tutors / Jacob Ross & Helen Sedgwick
Guest Reader / Mary Paulson-Ellis
Course Fee / From £249 per person
Genre / Crime and Thriller
Language / English

Over six online evening sessions, and individual feedback sessions with experienced tutors Jacob Ross and Helen Sedgwick, you will learn how to structure and elevate your crime writing. From the comfort of your own home, you’ll learn about the many facets within the genre, from the horror and gore to the touching moments which capture your heart. The course will ensure a better understanding of how to plot your concept into a compelling and original narrative as you analyse the building blocks of a successful crime novel. The interactive and supportive workshops will look at how to form an intricate structure which avoids the common pitfalls and obvious twist and turns, how to create those all-important round characters, how to escalate your dramatic writing and embrace conflict, and how to create the perfect setting and tone for your perfect crime.  

The course will include interactive workshops, readings, group discussions and one-to-one tutorials. Acclaimed authors and experienced tutors, Jacob Ross and Helen Sedgwick, will be on-hand throughout to inspire, challenge, and support you in bringing out the very best in your ideas and writing. 


Course structure:  

Week 1: Tuesday, 5 September  

Tutors: Jacob Ross and Helen Sedgwick 

18.30 – 18.50: Introduction to the course and tutors from a Tŷ Newydd staff member 

18.50 – 21:00: Workshop with both tutors (one-hour each) 10-min break between workshops. 


Week 2: Tuesday, 12 September 

Tutor: Jacob Ross 

18.30 – 20.00: Workshop 


Week 3: Tuesday, 19 September 

Tutor: Helen Sedgwick 

18.30 – 20.00: Workshop 


Week 4: Tuesday, 26 September 

Tutor: Jacob Ross 

18.30 – 20.00: Workshop 


Week 5: Tuesday, 3 October 

Tutor: Helen Sedgwick 

18.30 – 20.00: Workshop 

20.00 – 20.10: Short break

20.10 – 21.00: Guest Reading

Guest Reader: Mary Paulson-Ellis 



Week 6: Tuesday, 10 October 

Tutors: Jacob Ross and Helen Sedgwick 

18.00 – 19.00: Closing comments from tutors, explanation of tutorials given by Tŷ Newydd staff,

19.00 – 19.15: Short break 

19.15 – 20.00: Group readings to celebrate some of the work written over the past few weeks.

Following the course, writers will submit 1 short sample of work for feedback. Direct and bespoke feedback will be given during a 25-minute tutorial with one of the tutors a month or so after the course ends. Time slots for these feedback sessions will be allocated closer to the time.  


Jacob Ross

Jacob Ross is a novelist, short story writer, editor and creative writing tutor. His crime fiction novel, The Bone Readers (Inpress Books, 2016) won the inaugural Jhalak Prize in 2017 and was selected for the BBC's 2022 Big Jubilee Read. His recent crime novel, Black Rain Falling (Sphere, 2020), has been listed among the best crime novels in 2020 by The Sunday Times.His literary novel Pynter Bender (Fourth Estate, 2008) was published to much critical literary acclaim and was shortlisted for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers Regional Prize and chosen as one of the British Authors Club’s top three Best First Novels. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has been a judge of the V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize, the Olive Cook, Scott Moncrieff and Tom-Gallon Literary Awards, The Commonwealth Short Story Prize and The Scottish Book Trust Award. Jacob is Associate Fiction Editor at Peepal Tree Press, and the editor of several collections of short stories. 

Helen Sedgwick

Helen Sedgwick is a cross-genre author of literary fiction, science fiction and crime. Her debut, The Comet Seekers (Harvill Secker, 2016), was selected as a Best Book of 2016 by The Herald and her sci-fi novel The Growing Season (Harvill Secker, 2017) was shortlisted for the Scottish Fiction Book of the Year. Most recently she has written a folk horror crime trilogy, The Burrowhead Mysteries (Point Blank press), consisting of: When the Dead Come Calling (2020), Where the Missing Gather (2021) and What Doesn’t Break Us (2022). In 2021, she was awarded the Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship to write an interplanetary science fiction series about rebuilding after environmental collapse. Before becoming a writer, Helen was a research scientist with a PhD in physics from Edinburgh University. She lives in the Scottish Highlands with her partner, their daughter, and an ever-increasing number of chickens.

Guest Reader

Mary Paulson-Ellis

Mary Paulson-Ellis lives in Edinburgh where she writes across the genres of crime, historical and literary fiction, exploring the world of people who die with no next-of-kin. Her critically acclaimed debut, The Other Mrs Walker (Mantle, 2016) was a Times bestseller and Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year. Her second, The Inheritance of Solomon Farthing (Mantle, 2019) was long-listed for the McIlvanney Prize for best Scottish crime novel and a Historical Writers Association Gold Crown. Mary’s short fiction and non-fiction have featured in the Guardian and on BBC Radio 4. In 2019 Val McDermid selected her as one of ten compelling LGBTQ+ writers working today. She has an MLitt in Creative Writing from Glasgow University where, on graduating, she was awarded the inaugural Curtis Brown Prize for Fiction. Emily Noble’s Disgrace (Mantle, 2021) is her third novel. 

Online Booking

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