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Course Description

How do they do it?

Are you eager to pen the next big thriller? In this exciting workshop, you will learn how to devise a riveting and well-paced plot, how to create suspense, how to write convincing dialogue, and how to craft searing images that will awaken your readers’ imaginations and keep them turning the page. 

Writing Mystery will help you develop the skills necessary for writing effective mystery and thrillers by focusing on techniques for creating suspense, atmosphere, character development, tension building, and plot mapping. We will read classic mystery stories, and track the development of the genre over time, through the dark and macabre, the hard-boiled and action-packed. We will discuss the future of thriller writing as it pertains to contemporary publishing trends. As a class, we will workshop your own mystery fiction and discuss the importance and/or effectiveness of various genre tropes, such as red herrings, cliff hangers, twist endings.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Examine and discuss the genre of mystery fiction from both a technical and literary perspective, and from a Canadian perspective.
  • Trace the course of the mystery genre over time, and observe how it has adapted according to social, historical, and literary trends.
  • Examine what mystery fiction offers that sets it apart from fiction answering the question why write and read mystery? 
  • Practice writing techniques through weekly exercises and workshops.
  • Produce original writing that includes a mystery short story or a mystery novel in progress.

Course Topics

  • Origins of the mystery genre
  • Deductive logic in classic mystery fiction
  • Classic detectives and characters:
  • Narration in noir, hard-boiled and pulp fiction:
  • Subverting expectations and writing from the villain's point of view
  • Horror, thrills, and genre spills
  • Playing with convention in contemporary Canadian mystery
  • Writing and the publishing mystery.

Job Market Overview


Additional Requirements

  • This course is intended for adult learners
  • You may take this as an individual course or choose to complete the Creative Writing Certificate.
  • There are no prerequisites for this course.. 
  • As well as attending the scheduled instruction time you can expect to spend approximately five to ten hours on course readings, reading and responding to the work of others, creating your own writing for feedback and assignment requirements. The time spent on the course activities varies from student to student.


Assessment Item Weight
Workshops, writing exercises, and discussion 25%
Outline 20%
Rough draft 25%
Final Portfolio 30%
Total 100%

Please note that the course assessment is subject to change.

Sponsoring Partner

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.

Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in
Section Title
Writing Mystery
Remote Instruction
6:30PM to 9:00PM
May 09, 2024 to June 27, 2024
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
  • Virtual
Delivery Options
Remote Instruction  
Course Fee(s)
Tuition Fee $549.00
Potential Discount(s)
Section Notes

This course will be delivered remotely on Thursday evenings from 6:30 pm to 9 pm EST using CourseLink, your course website, and Zoom for live video conferencing. You will be required to participate in the live conferencing sessions each Wednesday evening.

You will have access to CourseLink on Wednesday, May 2, 2024, to download your course outline and begin your readings to prepare for the first Zoom live session. Further information will be provided after registration.

It is the student's responsibility to be sure you have the technical requirements to participate in this course including having available:

  • Webcam (Built-in or USB plug-in)
  • Headset or a Microphone and Speaker (Built-in, wireless or USB plug-in)

If you are new to online learning we encourage you to visit our Online Learning at UofG resource page.

Please view the Withdrawal and Refund Policy - Continuing Education Courses

If you require assistance contact our main office.

Students are responsible for purchasing any required textbooks. The required books may be available from your local library or you may purchase them from a local or online book seller.

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