Great Resources for Crime and Mystery Writers

We know that crime and mystery writers are always looking for resources to check the accuracy of forensic details and crime scene investigation procedures.

  • Criminal Psychology
  • Forensics and Evidence Analysis
  • Police and their Procedures
  • Poison and Antidotes

Here is a great list of resources – although they are mainly from the USA, they are interesting and helpful to South African writers as well.


Amanda’s 17 Questions: Jenny Crwys-Williams

Date: 7 August 2008
Place: Nice, Parkhurst
Book: Penguin Dictionary of South African Quotations

1. Who is your favourite hero of fiction?
Atticus Finch

2. What is your most treasured possession?
My photographs

3. Which living person do you most dislike?
The bully boys of the world

4. What is your greatest fear?

5. Who or what has been the love of your life?
Reading. Books. The Journey.

6. What is your greatest regret?
That I haven’t written a novel that has taken the world by storm.

7. If you could choose to be a character in a book, who would it be?
Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada

8. Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?
Winnie the Pooh, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Cold Mountain

9. What is your favourite journey?

Ten day walk from Monte Merano in Tuscany on an Etruscan Trail

10. Cats or Dogs? Which do you prefer?

11. What quality do you most admire in a women?
Women who don’t sleep with other women’s husbands. Women who aren’t catty. Entrepreneurial women.

12. Which book that you’ve written is your favourite?
In the words of Nelson Mandela – A Little Pocketbook

13. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Just do it

14. What are your favourite names?
Names that have a meaning

15. What do you do as a hobby?
My lifestyle is my hobby. I am busy living. Gardening. Writing. Photography. Cooking. Reading. Walking. The journey.

16. What are your top three books?
Shakespeare’s Tudor Books, The Lord of the Rings by J R Tolkien, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Sue Monk Kidd.

17. Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?
From a conversation, a newspaper cutting, a sentence in an article. It’s a process.

Amanda Patterson, 7 August 2008

See more pictures on The Write Co Website.

A Night at the Opera – the Pictures

Amanda Patterson and Nicci Stewart of The Write Co

Well, you heard all about A Night at the Opera?

Now see the pictures of the Gala Night at the Russian opera in Johannesburg with The Write Co.

Winners of The Write Co Short Story Competition

1st Prize: Up in Arms by Ilva Pieterse

A Writers Write course – valued at R4 500, or gift vouchers for The Write Co valued at R4 500, your story published in The Write Co Newsletter

2nd Prize: Action Approved by Richard Greensmith

1 year’s subscription to The Write Club, worth R1 800

3rd Prize: Raw/Hide by Amanda Paulsen

4 hours with one of our personal writing coaches, worth R1 400

Read all the Stories on The Write Company Website

The Judges

Morné Malan – Winner of The Best Debut Novel 2007 and a winner in the S A Pen short story award

Anthony Ehlers and Darrel Bristow-Bovey

Anthony Ehlers and Darrel Bristow-Bovey

Darrel Bristow-Bovey – Columnist, award-winning novelist, SuperZero, best-selling non-fiction author, writer of scripts, screenplays and short stories.

Susan Greenhalgh

Susan Greenhalgh

Susan Greenhalgh

Anthony Ehlers – Head of Creative Writing, The Write Co’s Romance & Writers Write facilitator

Amanda Patterson

Amanda Patterson – The Write Co Founder, author of Writers Write 1, Writers Write 2 , KISS – the Art of Writing the Short Story – and Rewrite your Future

Morné Malan

Morné Malan

8 Great Tips from Top Authors

Here are some great tips from authors

1. Set production goals. John Grisham wrote his first books while working 70-plus hours a week. His goal was to pen one legal- sized page every day. Stephen King writes 1,500 words every day.

2. Write because you like to write. You won’t accomplish much if you don’t like the process. Isaac Asimov claims that he likes his own work: “I can’t wait till I write something so I can read it.”

3. Write for yourself. Barbara Kingsolver offers this sound advice: “Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”

4. Write about subjects, passions and characters you care about. “Only write from your own passion, your own truth. That’s the only thing you really know about, and anything else leads you away from the pulse — yours or anyone else’s.” —Marianne Williamson

5. Devise a sensible routine. Quit when you’re tired, but don’t quit because you give up. Find your own rhythms, methods and rewards. “Always stop the day’s work when you know exactly what your next paragraph will be when you start up again the next day. It also keeps your mind ’writing’ even after you’ve put down the pen, typewriter, computer or whatever.” —William Hefferman

6. Perfect your craft. Work and rework each paragraph. Pay attention to how other writers rewrite and polish. Garrison Keillor suggests, “When in doubt, read it out loud. This helps you find deadwood and lame writing and get rid of it, which is all the more important if you use a computer. Computers seem to lead to flabby and tone-deaf writing, and we pay dearly for the convenience.”

7. Abandon your excuses. Ralph Peters -“There are no shortcuts – no substitutes for experience and hard work. Roll up those sleeves, pal!”

8. Cultivate your skills. Writing is a lifelong endeavour, a craft that can always be improved and rediscovered. “I have lost count of the times I’ve seen the flow of a story spoiled by an ugly sentence, and the times that what was printed could not possibly have been what the writer (or editor) thought was meant.” –Robert Jordon

Endorsed by Amanda Patterson and Sarah Bullen


Please note that Entrance is R30 and not R50!

Spiros Cafe (4mer Nandi Nice)

Directions – Take da (Durban rd) N3

Off-ramp on Barry Marais (Vosloorus), turn right

Go pass 2 sets of robots

A Police station will be on your right

Complex after the Police Station

37 Published Authors for The Write Co

Amanda Patterson, founder and CEO of The Write Co, created Writers Write, one of the most successful creative writing courses in South Africa, almost five years ago. Lizet Engelbrecht is the 37th student of the course to be published.

Lizet Engelbrecht recently received the good news that her Afrikaans romance novel, entitled Sewe dae, has been snatched up by NB Publisher’s popular Melodie imprint. The book is set to hit the shelves later this year.

Sewe dae,” says Lizet, “has all the ingredients of a compelling love story for the woman of today. The protagonist is Esméralda Smit: a strong, career-focused woman who thinks she has everything made with a successful lecturing job, financial security, and no desire whatsoever for romance. But then, owing to the influence of her best friend Sonja, the headstrong Esméralda gets involved in a charity project, and who strolls into her life but the successful businessman Pierre Vaz? Irresistible blond fringe … scrumptious grey eyes … will Esméralda be tempted?”

This budding author completed Skrywers Skryf via correspondence in 2007. This is the Afrikaans version of The Write Co.’s extremely successful novel writing course, Writers Write, which has produced no fewer than 37 published authors to date. “Every potential author should consider doing this course,” comments Lizet. “And believe me, I have tried all the self-help books out there: Leslie Wainger, Sol Stein, Stephen King and others. But the first truly helpful guidance came from Skrywers Skryf.” Lizet also emphasises the great value of the detailed personal attention and feedback which she received as part of the course.

Skrywers Skryf facilitator, Morné Malan, translated the content from the original English and adjusted the focus specifically for the Afrikaans market. He is positive about the value of both Skrywers Skryf and Writers Write for first-time authors. “If you’re passionate about writing a novel, all you need is the right tools and a little encouragement,” he says. “Lizet is proof of that. Our courses get back to the basics of good writing: a strong plot, intriguing characters, dazzling dialogue and original descriptions.”

Writers Write is presented monthly as a series of four workshops on Saturdays, or as eight evening workshops during the week. Depending on enquiries and bookings, Skrywers Skryf will be presented again in October. Both courses are available immediately per correspondence, and are presented entirely via e-mail.

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For all enquiries about The Write Co.’s courses, please e-mail

For more information about The Write Co and its facilitators, visit