Writing a crime fiction novel – or any novel – is no easy feat, and even successful published authors work to hone their craft and improve their skills. Luckily, there are lots of resources to help, from free seminars to workshops to full-fledge classes that will help you improve everything from grammar to plot structure to dialogue. If you’re working to become a better crime fiction writer, here are a few suggestions to help you get started.
Attend a writing workshop at your local library. Many public libraries offer a full schedule of workshops and classes that are open to the general public and are sometimes even free of charge. Workshops often last anywhere from one to six weeks, and programs can teach you everything from how to polish your prose to developing believable characters to finding the right setting for your story. Talk with your local librarian or check your public library’s class schedule for writing workshops that will meet your needs.
Take a seminar conducted by a published author. While seminars are usually shorter than workshops and will probably include a fee, the information you’ll get from a published author can be invaluable. Not only will an author have encountered many of the same creative obstacles you’re facing, but he can also offer insider’s advice – like how to avoid certain writing pitfalls or how to develop your own creative process.
Join a writers group in your community. One of the hardest tasks for many writers is forcing themselves to just sit down and write. By joining a local writers group, you’ll have other writers to keep you accountable. Every meeting, you’ll have to show up with your new chapter or scene, so you’ll be more like to put something down on paper. Sharing your work with other writers is also a great way to become a better crime fiction writer. Your writing group will inspire you, offer suggestions, and provide constructive feedback to improve your great American thriller.
Enroll in a writing class at your local community college. If you’re serious about honing your skills, put your money where your mouth is and pay for a class at a nearby community college. Take an English course to brush up on grammar, study the work of other crime fiction authors, or find a creative writing class and start your own novel. With a professional instructor, homework, and the support of other classmates, you’re sure to walk away with a new set of skills and a new sense of purpose.
Writing itself is a creative process, but there are plenty of technical aspects you can learn – from solid storytelling to sentence structure – that will help you to become a better crime fiction writer. Even reading your favorite Lou Mason thriller can give you ideas on how to improve your skills. Take advantage of the resources around you to become the best mystery writer you can be!