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tips for crime writers

If you write mystery, suspense, or thrillers (or just love to read them!), then you’ll want to check out ProWritingAid’s free Crime Writer’s Week scheduled for April 19-23. Whether you’re crafting a police procedural, a whodunnit, or a good old-fashioned mystery, you’ll learn how to keep readers turning the pages.

Attend live virtual sessions with bestselling authors, including Karin Slaughter, Lisa Gardner, Ian Rankin, Peter James, Fiona Cummins, and more. You’ll also get insider publishing advice from Katherine Armstrong, the Deputy Publishing Director for Crime Fiction at Simon & Schuster, attend workshops on writing and editing your novel, and learn from real police advisors to help make your book truly authentic. If you’re a crime reader and not a writer, you’ll get an inside look at the behind-the-scenes of the research and writing process.

Monday’s Sessions

The Elements of a Crime Novel: From Planning to Plot
Presenter: Bestselling Author Leigh Russell

Every genre requires a unique approach, and crime writing is no different. In this session, internationally bestselling crime author Leigh Russell will take you through the key elements of the crime writing process.

Crime Writing: Secrets of the Genre
Presenters: Anne Hawley and Rachelle Ramirez of Pages & Platforms

Do you have an idea for a crime novel but don’t yet know how to structure it? Got some bad deeds, clues, and some scenes that don’t really work together or entertain? In this webinar, you’ll learn the crime story essentials.

Tuesday’s Sessions

Crime Scene Management, Police Interviewing, and Covert Tactics
Presenter: Police Advisor Graham Bartlett
Retired detective, bestselling author, and advisor to over 80 crime novelists and TV writers, Graham Bartlett can help your WIP ooze authenticity. Learn how the police use mobile phones, vehicles, CCTV, and social media in their investigations, as well as authentic police interview techniques.

Insider Advice on Getting Published
Presented by: Katherine Armstrong, Deputy Publishing Director, Crime & Thriller Fiction at Simon & Schuster
This session is intended to demystify the publishing process for writers, give advice on how to get published, and answer any questions you might have about traditional publishing.

How to Edit Your Crime Novel with ProWritingAid
Presented by: Hayley Milliman, Head of Education at ProWritingAid
It doesn’t matter how many hours you spent meticulously crafting your crime novel’s plot. If your writing isn’t clear and effective, your readers won’t engage with it. That’s where editing technology can help. In this workshop, we’ll dive into how to use ProWritingAid to make key edits to your crime manuscript.

Wednesday’s Sessions

The History & the Mystery: Selecting and Creating an Authentic Setting for Crime Fiction
Presented by: Fiona Veitch Smith
Author Fiona Veitch Smith will share tips on how to research and build your historical story’s world and the importance of selecting the right investigator within the constraints and possibilities of the period.

Thriller Writer Panel Discussion with Steve Berry, Lisa Gardner, Ian Rankin, and Karin Slaughter
Presented by: International Thriller Writers (ITW)
Author and ITW Executive Director K.J. Howe will be hosting four of their members for a lively discussion around the joys and pains of writing thrillers. Expect great tips and life lessons from these popular writers as they discuss their writing journeys so far.

Common Police Mistakes Made by Crime Writers and How to Avoid Them
Presented by: Police Advisor Graham Bartlett
Graham will be back again to share the most common errors that authors get wrong in their crime novels. Who really runs a homicide investigation? When does a missing person report become a murder enquiry? Find out the answers to these and many more bloopers that could spoil your next bestseller.

Thursday’s Sessions

Debut Dagger Awards Longlist Announcement
Presented by: Crime Writers’ Association
For over two decades, the CWA has been encouraging new writing with its Debut Dagger competition for unpublished writers. The submissions are judged by a panel of top crime editors and agents.

How to Market Your Self-Published Crime Novel
Presented by: Nick Stephenson, Author and Founder of Your First 10k Readers
Marketing your book comes down to mastering three key things: traffic, conversions, and scaling up. With the right systems in place for these three things, you can grow your readership and sales without spending your entire day “worrying about marketing.”

Interview with Author Fiona Cummins

Fiona Cummins is the award-winning author of Rattle, The Collector, and The Neighbour. We’ll be chatting to her about breaking into the world of crime writing, and what it’s like to see her fourth book, When I Was Ten, being adapted for television.

The final day of Crime Writer’s Week is available to ProWritingAid Premium subscribers only. We’ll be hosting an editing deep dive, an interview with bestselling author Peter James, and finishing the week with a police expert Q&A. If you don’t have ProWritingAid Premium yet, don’t worry! Crime Writer’s Week participants will receive an exclusive discount in their confirmation email when they sign up.

Friday’s Sessions

How to Edit Your Crime Novel
Presented by: Hayley Milliman, ProWritingAid’s Head of Education
As nice as it would be, writing your crime novel isn’t over when you type “The End.” In fact, the actual work is just beginning. During the editing process, your novel will go from rough first draft to thrilling final manuscript. In this workshop, Hayley will walk you through the most important edits you should make to ensure your book is publish-ready.

Interview with Author Peter James
Peter James has become synonymous with plot-twisting page-turners. He has won over 40 awards for his work and achieved 17 Sunday Times Bestsellers to date. Learn from the master what it takes to write gripping crime novels that keep readers hooked.

Police Advisor Q&A
Presented by: Police Advisor Graham Bartlett
This is your chance to bring YOUR questions about police work and crime scene investigations to Graham Bartlett, retired detective, bestselling author and advisor to over 80 crime novelists (including Peter James).

Sign up once to get access to every event. You don’t have to attend every event, or attend live—all webinars will be recorded and sent out the following day. So, even if you are not able to make certain dates/times, it’s still worth registering to get the recordings.

 

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