PIs in Novels
by Colleen Collins and Shaun Kaufman
now open for 2009 classes!
Quick Studies on the Shady Side:
Tips and Techniques for Writers Developing Sleuths
Writing the PI Genre (copyright 2007 Colleen Collins)
Class descriptions: This year we
designed a series of quick-study courses that typically take one
week (two classes/week) that focus on specialized areas of investigations.
Handy info for writers developing sleuths or villains, and interesting
tid-bits for readers who want to better understand some of the
tricks of their favorite sleuths in books/movies. Below is our
class schedule, including dates, costs, and registration deadlines.
June 22-29, 2009: Surveillance 101 ($15.00)
An overview of surveillances, from stationary to mobile to electronic,
plus pointers on the legalities of surveillance. One week, 2 classes,
questions answered by email in-between.
>>Registration deadline: June 20, 2009
July 20-27, 2009: Finding Missing People 101
Tips for finding people, from researching the Internet to interviewing
witnesses to digging in trash. One week, 2 classes, questions answered
by email in-between.
>>Registration deadline: July 18, 2009
August 10-24, 2009: Skips, Lies, and Videotape
How a sleuth finds the missing, nails the fraudulent, and obtains the proof.
Topics include skiptracing electronically vs. on foot; fraud investigations
from white collar to black market; and venues for obtaining proof, types
of proof, direct vs. circumstantial evidence Two weeks, 4 classes, questions
answered by email in-between.
>>Registration deadline: August 8, 2009
September 21-28, 2009: Your Cheatin' Heart: Infidelity
From signs of a cheating spouse to techniques
and tools for catching a cheater. One week, 2 classes,
questions answered by email in-between. >>Registration
deadline: September 19, 2009
October 19-26, 2009: Crime Scenes, Homicides, & DNA
An introduction to crime scenes and homicide investigations (topics include
key tasks covered by law enforcement, a general introduction to estimating
time of death and types of wounds, and how a PI might be called upon to
aid in a homicide investigation). Class concludes with a discussion of
DNA, its testing, how it might be deposited by a suspect, and how it’s
used in court proceedings. One week, 2 classes, questions answered by email
>>Registration deadline: October 17,
November 16-23, 2009: Surfing the Web & Digging
for Dirt ($15.00)
Ways a sleuth uncovers data, from Internet/database searches to getting
down and dirty in someone's trash. One week, 2 classes, questions answered
by email in-between.
>>Registration deadline: November 14,
December 14-21, 2009: Trials 101 ($15.00)
Writing a story with a courtroom scene and need to add some realistic touches?
Or perhaps you're fleshing out a trial attorney, or maybe just want a handle
on a few terms for when your protagonist makes a court appearance? This
class is an introduction to trials (U.S. legal system), outlining the key
players in the courtroom, the history of trials, a few reasons why trials
happen (as well as some wrong reasons trials happen, which could provide
great story conflict), and ends with several examples of outstanding trials
in books and movies. One week, 2 classes, questions answered by email in-between.
>>Registration deadline: December 12,
Bios: Colleen Collins is a PI by
day, a multi-published author by night. Her articles on private
investigations have appeared on various sites on the Internet as
well as in PI Magazine, NINK (Novelists, Inc.), and other publications.
Her accomplishments as a PI include uncovering bogus identities,
locating an abducted child, catching cheating spouses, and taking
videos of an injury claimant throwing a burning fastball. A member
of the Private Eye Writers of America (PWA), Mystery Writers of
America (MWA), and Romance Writers of America (RWA), she's written
20 novels for both Harlequin and Dorchester and has spoken at conferences
and workshops (Pikes Peak Writers, Colorado Gold, Left Coast Crime)
about writing private eyes in fiction.
Shaun Kaufman has worked in and
around the criminal justice field for nearly 25 years, as a former
trial attorney and a current investigator. He's published articles
in PI magazine, the Denver Law Review, and authored numerous briefs
for the Colorado Court of Appeals, Colorado Supreme Court, and
the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Shaun is a popular speaker at
conferences, entertaining and educating writers with his insights
and expertise about investigations, crime scenes, how PIs effectively
testify in trials, and more. His father always told him to be a
writer, not a lawyer.
Classes will be conducted via a yahoogroups loop
set up for the class.
here (or go to "Click to Register") for registration
form. All class attendees must submit a completed registration
form along with a payment by PayPal * or by
* If paying by PayPal, go to "Pay
Note: Non-US Residents Must Pay by PayPal (sorry, all non-US checks, money
orders, and postal orders will be returned).