Creative Writing and Publishing
This course in Crime Writing is delivered in three weekend course units, with self-directed study and a final submission of 5000 words fiction. It is delivered by two of the country’s best and most successful writers of crime fiction, Domenica De Rosa (Elly Griffiths) and Lesley Thomson.
The course seeks to bring together all the key components of good crime writing into one continuing programme and to offer an insight into the writers’ toolkit necessary for developing skills and building your confidence.
Each weekend unit will be based in the inspirational environment of West Dean College’s historic rooms. It is aimed at writers who wish to commit to an extended programme of study without having to make a significant time commitment and who will benefit from a cohesive course that offers focus on the key elements of successful crime writing. It also offers a potential pathway to those interested in applying for the College’s Higher Education programmes in Writing and Publishing.
This course is designed for writers who want an extended and cohesive course on crime writing. It offers a deeper and broader raft of teaching designed to enable the student to take on a piece of longer fiction. At the end of the third unit students will be asked to submit the first 5000 words of a Work In Progress for marking and feedback from the tutors.
On successful completion students will be offered an interview for the MA in Creative Writing and Publishing should they want to continue their studies and project. The MA is set up to facilitate the production of a completed novel.
You will be introduced to the key skills and knowledge that underpins successful crime writing. These will include the organisational skills required for plotting, character development and narrative technique. You will also be introduced to constructive and focused critical reflection of your work and support the development of rewriting/drafting skills.
The course will offer a stimulating and varied learning environment to enable writers to develop their skills around voice, style, point of view, pacing and prose. Writing exercises will be used along with discussion, textual analysis and a review of the ‘golden rules of crime writing.
It will facilitate constructive critical thinking/reflection and cover editing, dialogue, suspense, and narrative drive: key skills in successful crime writing.
Contextual and critical studies
The course will offer insight into the traditions, theory and responsibilities of the crime writer. Enable you to make clear authorial and editorial choices about your developing work.
The first unit will include:
This second unit will include:
The third and final unit will include:
At the completion of the course students will submit the first 5000 words of a piece they have developed on the programme for feedback from the programme tutors two months after the final unit.
On successful completion students will receive a Certificate of Completion and be offered an interview for the MA in Creative Writing and Publishing should they want to continue their studies and project. The MA is set up to facilitate the production of a completed novel.
Please bring your usual writing equipment, notebook and pen, and/or laptop
For standard Terms and Conditions please refer to our Short Course T&Cs, specific Terms and Conditions include a commitment to attend all three weekend course dates listed and no alternative course date can be offered for any that you are unable to attend. Therefore no refund can be made for the course fee for any weekend you are unable to attend.
Explore and expand your work in a uniquely immersive environment with its own connections to art history. Our School of Arts students enjoy specialist studio spaces dedicated to painting and drawing, sculpture and tapestry and textile-based work as well as exceptional exhibition space.
Course fees are payable in advance of study.
Course fee: £1044 (non-residential, payable in one instalment covering all three units – payable by 17 November 2023).
Accommodation for a weekend course, including dinner and breakfast, is currently available from £213 (single occupancy). Please see accommodation costs specific to the dates of each unit.
Second year MA Creative Writing and Publishing student Eve Kenworthy talks about her experiences on the course during the last term, the guidance and support provided by the course tutors and dreams of her future as a writer.
By Pam Hamilton, MA Creative Writing & Publishing student
On the first day of my MA in Creative Writing and Publishing at West Dean College I was terrified. It was two decades since I’d been in formal education, I was worried the tutors had over-estimated my potential, and I was scared of the other students. I had spent my career in the corporate world and felt like a fraud....
A blog post by Mark Radcliffe, Subject Lead MA Creative Writing & Publishing.
I have a new novel out on March 2nd called Three Gifts. It is about a boy given the opportunity to trade in years from his own – as yet unlived – life, in exchange for his mother being cured of cancer. It is I think, a happy book. I may be wrong, it is hard to tell at this point. Find out more
For National Writing Day, MA Creative Writing and Publishing alumnae Jenny Browning and Emma Ward share what they are currently working on, reflections on their time at West Dean College and how they continue to pursue the dream of becoming published writers.
By Eve Kenworthy, MA Creative Writing and Publishing student Imagine the perfect place to study creative writing. It might be a grand house filled with creative people. You could be in an oak paneled library with large windows facing manicured gardens, towards the rolling Sussex countryside. From your desk you can see sheep safely grazing under a blue cloudless sky. Eight other students c...
By Sara Bryce-Gordon, MA Creative Writing & Publishing student, Second Year
Lesley Thomson's first novel Seven Miles From Sydney, (ed: Jeanette Winterson) was one of London’s City Limit’s Books of the Year in 1987. Recent novels include The Companion (June 2022), and The Mystery of Yew Tree House (September 2023).
ELLY GRIFFITHS wrote four novels under her own name, Domenica de Rosa before turning to crime with The Crossing Places, the first novel featuring forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway. The Crossing Places won the Mary Higgins Clark award and five novels in the series have been shortlisted for the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year. The Locked Room (Ruth #14) was number one on the Sunday Times bestseller list. Elly also writes the Brighton Mysteries, set in the theatrical world of the 1950s. In 2016 Elly was awarded the CWA Dagger in the Library for her body of work. Her first standalone mystery, The Stranger Diaries, won the 2020 Edgar award for Best Crime Novel. The second, The Postscript Murders, was shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger. Elly also writes a children's mystery series, A Girl Called Justice. Elly teaches on the creative writing MA at West Dean College and on the crime-writing MSt at Madingley Hall, University of Cambridge.