Question Me a Crime Novel: Self-Study

Your Crime Novel from First Thought to First Draft

Question Me a Crime Novel is a self-study course for anyone who

  • wants to write a crime novel (mystery, thriller, suspense, etc.) but doesn't know where to start, or...
  • has written one or more books that feel flat or lacking in depth.

If either of these sounds like you, this course can help. You’ll learn how to

  • create a strong foundation for your novel
  • create memorable characters and a compelling plot
  • add depth and complexity
  • use background and sensory details to bring the world of your story to life
  • and much more

Based on the assumption that you are the expert on your novel, the system leads you through a series of open-ended, non-prescriptive questions and exercises that take you all the way from the seed of an idea to a finished book, or move you through a “stuck” spot in your story. Whatever your genre, whether you’re a pantser or a plotter, this nuts & bolts workshop will give you practical, step-by-step strategies to take you from the initial idea to a completed first draft.

You'll also receive a "Finish Your First Draft Toolkit," complete with tips for reaching the finish line, character creation questionnaires, timeline charts, and a downloadable 30-day planner.

Remember how I said this was a self-study course? Well, that doesn't mean you're adrift with no support. If you get stuck or have a question, you can always email me at, and I'll answer as soon as I can. 

But if you prefer more individualized instruction and more hands-on shepherding, you might prefer the premium version of this course.

Here’s what previous participants have to say:

“I’m at Starbucks with no writer’s block, thanks to you! I have a plan now! Sorry about all the exclamation points but I had been stuck for months and it’s so nice to be UNstuck!” Jan L.

“Yesterday’s workshop was so good. Every section was helpful….I attended [a well-known writing workshop] a few years ago, and they were perfectly fine, but compared to yours, they’re quite sketchy. My point is not to criticize them but to point out that you offer what fiction writers really need.” – Lynette I.


Course Curriculum

Module 1: Welcome and Overview

Module 2: Foundation Steps - What's Your Sub-Genre. and What Do you Know?

Module 3: Your Protagonist/Main Character

Module 4: Desires, Drives, Obstacles, and Conflicts

Module 5: Your Antagonist

Module 6: Anatomy of the Crime

Module 7: Supporting Cast

module 8: Settings

Module 9: Point of View

Module 10: Storyboarding Your Novel

Module 11: Ready to Write

Question Me a Novel Toolkit: 

  • Guidebook
  • Planner
  • Reward Chart

Jaden Terrell
Jaden Terrell

About the instructor

Jaden Terrell is a Shamus Award finalist and the author of the internationally published, Nashville-based Jared McKean private detective mysteries. She writes a series of author interviews for the International Thriller Writers' The Big Thrill online Magazine and is also a contributor to the Killer Nashville Noir anthology and to Now Write! Mysteries, a collection of writing exercises published by Tarcher/Penguin for writers of crime fiction. 

Terrell is a recipient of several awards for service to the crime writing community, including the 2017 Killer Nashville Builder Award and two awards for service to the Southeast Chapter of Mystery Writers of America (SEMWA): the 2009 Magnolia Award and the 2017 Silver Quill Award. 

A former special education teacher with thirty years of experience as a teacher and trainer, Terrell is a writing coach and consultant who also teaches workshops on the craft and business of writing fiction. Contact her at:

Ready to finally write your novel? 

Get your started now!

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