Moniack in a Month – Crime Writing

Moniack in a Month - Crime Writing

Date(s) - Thu 30th Sep - Thu 4th Nov, 2021
6:45pm - 9:00pm

Moniack in a Month – Come Over to the Dark Side: Crime Writing with Karen Campbell   What’s on the surface and what lies beneath? Whether it’s prising open closed doors, shattering facades, unearthing secrets or reaching beyond the uniform, crime fiction can be your key to exploring truth, society and what makes us human. From concept to conclusion, we’ll learn about the building blocks and tools you need to write your novel. On this course, we’ll look at developing plot, character, place and pace to make your story sing– plus you’ll get an exclusive ‘Cop Clinic’ – an insider’s guide into what makes the polis tick! Remember, there is light and dark in everyone…  


Moniack in a Month: Crime Writing includes

  • 4 stimulating online workshops
  • A tailored one-to-one tutorial
  • An introductory welcome session
  • A final Ceilidh session – sharing of work Contact and support from a community of writers via Google Classroom
  • Support from a Moniack Mhor host


  • Thursday  Sept 30                        6.45pm – 8.15pm Welcome Session
  • Thursday  October 7                              6.45pm – 8.45pm Workshop 1 Steering through the Dark
  • Thursday  October 14                  6.45pm – 8.45pm Workshop 2 The Plot’s the Thing
  • Thursday  October 21               6.45pm – 8.45pm Workshop 3 Light and Shade
  • Thursday  October 28                  6.45pm – 8.45pm Workshop 4 Polish and Prepare
  • Thursday  November 4                7.00 pm– 9.00pm Ceilidh

Tutor biography:

Karen Campbell is a fiction writer, originally from Glasgow, and now living in Galloway. She has been the recipient of an SAC New Writer’s Award and a Creative Scotland Artist’s Bursary. Before turning to writing, she was a police officer in Glasgow, and then a press officer with Glasgow City Council. Her novels range from writing about the police, to refugees and asylum seekers, social issues, politics and Italy in World War Two. Her eighth novel will be published in Spring 2022. 

Karen has devised and led workshops for Scottish Refugee Council, Amnesty, EIBF, Wigtown Writers’ Conference, Scottish PEN’s Human Rights schools project, Scottish PEN’s ‘Many Voices’ project, the Scottish Association of Writers, and local authorities across Scotland, as well as mentoring with the Wigtown Festival Company.  

Karen is currently Writer in Residence at Dumfries and Galloway Council, working on Here Is Our Story – a collection of short fiction and monologues about the experiences of Council staff during COVID.  

Thursday September 30      6.45 pm to 7.45 pm     Welcome session

Welcome to Moniack online! During this session we all get to meet up and introduce ourselves to Karen and each other. We’d like to ask everyone to tell us where you’re from, what you’re writing about, what you hope to get out of the month and something about the writers and writing you admire the most. There may also be a short not-very-serious exercise to help us on our way. And perhaps a little homework…

Thursday  October 7        6.45pm – 8.45pm     Workshop 1:Steering through the Dark.

Why Crime? What does it offer? What can you do with it and where can you go? More importantly – who is guiding your reader on their journey? And who will you meet on the way? In this workshop we look at inspiration, character, and voice – getting it right, and getting under the skin of your characters – including the ask anything you like Cop Clinic!

Thursday  October 14       6.45pm – 8.45pm    Workshop 2: The Plot’s the Thing

Plot, Pace and Story – we look at how these elements weave together to form your narrative arc, and how subplots, back-plotting, and carefully placed false starts and sleeping dogs can ignite and excite. Where and when you set your story, the descriptions and atmosphere you build, the uniqueness of your voice, the authenticity you create in terms of language, procedure, research  – or just making sure the rules of your own wee universe  make sense– all add up to something greater than the whole. Indeed, it’s where the magic begins!

Thursday  October 21       6.45pm – 8.45pm   Workshop 3: Light and Shade.              

We need nuance in our writing.  Especially in crime, twists and turns, unexpected perspectives, the unearthing of hidden secrets and plausible unpredictability all add to the drama of the piece. And, harking back to character – nothing is more vital than nuanced characters. We all contain multiple versions of ourselves, so why shouldn’t the folk who people your crime fiction do the same? Taking inspiration from ourselves and real life, we’ll play the ‘what if….?’ game to push and pull your story to deeper depths – and richer rewards.

Thursday  October 28       6.45pm – 8.45pm     Workshop 4: Polish & Prepare

Murder those darlings! Here, we’ll look at the all-important editing process, and also talk about how you move forward with your work. Slicing away at your creation is hard – but crucial.  Editing is about honing what it is you’re trying to achieve with your novel, as well as sharpening the shape, pruning excess weight, tightening the tension and ensuring continuity so that your novel hits all its highs and lows.

Thursday November 4   7.00 – 9.00pm      Sharing of work Ceilidh Congratulations on completing your month. We hope you’ve enjoyed the time and found some skills to help in your creative life. Now’s the time to celebrate with a glass or cup of whatever you fancy, and show-off your own work. Each writer has the chance to read from their own work – no more than five minutes please.


This course is now fully booked. Please contact us on or 01463 741 675 to be added to the waiting list.

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