Mystery & Thriller Writing Course.


So you want to write a thriller. This training course shows you – the novice writer – how to develop from mystery thriller reader to mystery thriller writer. The home study learning process takes about a year. When you graduate your first whodunit thriller should be completed, or almost. Put it on Amazon and see how many people buy it!

Each of the eight tutorials teaches you something new, something exciting and something important.

Your personal tutor will guide you with constructive feedback and helpful advice as you move along the journey to being a successful mystery thriller writer. Remember, every successful author was once a novice writer, just like you. 


If you have made a start at writing a novel and given up in frustration, welcome back. No new writer should struggle alone. It’s much easier when you follow the steps prepared for you – just as you would a roadmap. It’ll take you to a worthwhile destination. Being a writer!

Independent publishing on Amazon or Smashwords or Lulu is now an exciting new option.

In this course, you’ll learn how to write all kinds of thrillers: detective; police procedural; private eye; investigative journalist; legal drama; courtroom; psycho killer; techno-thriller; industrial conspiracy; spy thriller etc. (Vanda Symon studied with the Institute. See her books here.)

You choose which style you will write.

You decide whether to set your stories in a New Zealand setting or in some foreign location. Let your own specialised knowledge and life experiences provide believable descriptions of the situations and places you write about.

Get Brochure.

Complete the short form below to download the prospectus.


The Enrolment Application is contained within the download and is also available online.
Please email ( or call if you have any questions. Toll Free: 0800 80 1994 International: +64 9 272 3974.


More Testimonials

You Receive.

  • Tutoring from New Zealand industry experts

  • Course books, folder and stationery pack

  • Printed copies of all course materials

  • Cutting edge eLearning systems for online learning option

  • Access to online forums to network with other students and tutors

  • Support from admin staff to help you through the learning experience

  • Training from a trusted distance learning institute with over 30 years of experience

Tutor Profile.

Writing has been a life-long passion for Joanna, with a first chapter book published in serial form in the Nelson Evening Mail when she was nine followed by high school prizes for poetry and essays. She has written everything from articles for trade and interest journals, interpretation panels and brochures on historical, environmental, and cultural topics, to award-winning fiction and non-fiction books that range from social and environmental history to historical and adventure novels for children, young adults, and adults.

Mentoring and supporting other writers has always been part of her writing life, including critiques for writers during thirty years’ experience as an editor/writing tutor for the Forest Research Institute and Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research, student mentoring for Hagley Writers’ Institute, and for the last five years has been a mutual critiquer of historical fiction with a small peer group of international writers.

Joanna has been short-listed six times in the Children’s Book of the Year Awards, twice winning her category. Two of her non-fiction titles for adults won New Zealand Awards in History, her historical novel Shifting Currents was short-listed in the 2021 Heritage Book awards, and Riccarton and the Deans family was a finalist in the 2016 Heritage Book Awards. Joanna was the 2009 University of Otago College of Education Children’s Writer in Residence.

Joanna Orwin

What You'll Learn.

1. Writing The Mystery & Thriller Story

2. Research

3. Plotting

4. Character Construction

5. Dialogue

6. Non-Fiction Murder Mysteries

7. Editing

8. The Publication Process

NZIBS Writing Blog.

More Blog Articles


We have been operating since 1991 and have thousands of graduates all over the world. Our courses are conducted by correspondence. You decide when and where you study. The course material (including books) is sent to you, and you submit your assignments regularly. You don't have to take time off work or travel to classes.