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Genre focus: Crime, mystery and suspense

How to write a killer crime novel 

I’m going to level with you – I’m not the expert on writing crime fiction. Fortunately, we have internationally bestselling crime author Harry Bingham on our team, who really IS the expert. This newsletter features brand new content and Harry’s top tips on how to write a frightfully good crime, mystery or suspense novel.  


WEBINAR: Reading like a writer – USA (Exclusive for members) 


TODAY! In the first of many USA-edition webinars, we'll unpick the inner workings of brilliant books with Lynn Steger Strong. A masterclass in syntax, word choice, and how, from the first sentence, the writer is teaching us what is to come. 


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This week at Jericho Writers: 


REPLAY: Building your crime novel (Exclusive for members) 


A good crime novel is tightly plotted, formal in construction – yet needs to deliver at least one major detonation of surprise. In this workshop, we work on identifying and assembling the elements that go into a crime novel and uncover techniques that work across all genres. 

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BLOG: Tips for writing crime fiction and thrillers 


Harry Bingham’s top ten tips for writing crime fiction and thrillers that will please the reader and make publishers reach for their cheque books.  


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WEBINAR: In conversation with Ruth Ware (Exclusive for members) 


27 November. Join international bestselling crime thriller author Ruth Ware for an evening in conversation, covering everything from writing, to publishing, to film, TV and translation. 


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On Writing Crime Fiction (by Harry Bingham) 


Crime fiction is a beautiful genre, simultaneously formal and elastic, dark but joyous, grave but full of laughter. (And corpses.) 


And for me, two things stand at the very centre of any crime novel. The first is the protagonist, usually the detective. Get this right – Sherlock Holmes, Tom Ripley, Lisbeth Salander – and readers will flock to any new novel or story without especially caring about the setup of that new story. All that matters is that the character walks again. 


The second element of the crime novel is a little more delicate in construction. It’s the dual view you need to deliver: the crime situation as understood by the police and the actual truth of the situation. The first view needs to look compelling and persuasive to any ordinary reader. If the coppers at Scotland Yard are just idiots, there’s no huge pleasure in seeing them thwarted. On the contrary, the reader needs to feel that the police-view of the situation is the complete truth… while also knowing that the detective is seeing more and further – and from the same set of clues. 


This method of construction works perfectly well for the kind of crime novels I write – regular police procedural bounded by a murder at one end, and a denouement at the other. But they work well for pretty much any other type of novel that includes both a mystery and an investigation. So Gillian Flynn’s ‘Gone Girl’ wasn’t a classic detective novel – the protagonists were the criminal and her victim. But the joy of the novel was that it painted one convincing view of reality in the first half of the book (the ‘police view’ if you like), then demolished that view in the brutal second half of the book. A glorious achievement. 


Do you use this method in your writing? Who are your all-time favourite detective characters? Join the ‘Crime, Mystery and Thriller’ group in the Townhouse. 


Harry B 



Plus, don’t miss: 


New members welcome webinar (Exclusive to members)  


30 November. New to Jericho Writers? Put your questions to the team and meet other members in this friendly webinar. No question is too big or small! We’ll also give you a sneak preview about what’s coming up in 2021... 


Self-Edit Your Novel tutored course bursary closes 29 December 


Every quarter, we give one space on the life-changing Self-Edit Your Novel tutored course with Debi Alper to a deserved under-represented writer. To bag a free spot on January’s course, submit your application before 29 December.  


Manuscript Assessment  (Discounts available for members) 


Our most popular editorial service matches you to your dream editor and gives you tailored feedback on your work. It doesn’t get better than that.

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Genre focus: Crime, mystery and suspense
How to write a killer crime novel  I’m going to level with you – I’m not the expert on writing crime fiction. Fortunately, we have internationally bestselling crime author Harry Bingham on our team, who really IS the expert. This newsletter features brand new content and Harry’s top tips on how to write a frightfully good crime, mystery or suspense novel.   WEBINAR: Reading like a writer – USA (Exclusive for members)  TODAY! In the first of many USA-edition webinars, we'll unpick the inner workings of brilliant books with Lynn Steger Strong. A masterclass in syntax, word choice, and how, from the first sentence, the writer is teaching us what is to come.  MEMBERS - REGISTER NOW NON-MEMBER