Return to Content Writing crime fiction — 7 elements of gripping suspense Suspense is a critical aspect of writing crime fiction.
So you want to write crime novels and thrillers and make a living doing it. My first bit of advice is to put pen to paper while still working your day job.
It all started when one of my partners complained bitterly to me about the behavior of one of our colleagues. Give yourself some time when pounding out your first novel. I particularly love legal crime thrillers. As a trial lawyer, that was the obvious choice for me.
I believe our system of justice works beautifully most of the time. Whichever type you choose, make sure you thoroughly research the relevant non-fiction aspects of that sub-genre.
For example, if you write police procedural thrillers, you need to know the protocols, jargon, and historical background. Or how about a terrorist bomb plot or Ted Bundy type of serial killer? These are familiar plot templates.
Even if these details never make an appearance in your novel, the personal history of each of your characters informs their choices and behavior throughout.
Give readers at least one person to root for. Steadily reveal things about your characters as the plot progresses. Make your readers care deeply about the protagonist and despise the antagonist. I introduced Alex Stone in my short story Knife Fight. Wonder if the Supreme Court will figure out the same thing when they decide the cases on gay marriage and marriage equality.
Modern readers have become accustomed to the intellectual stimulation given by a plot of mind-blowing complexity that delivers a gauntlet of impossible-to-predict twists and turns.
People want gritty stories that pull them into their convoluted, dangerous world. Make certain that the blood and guts serve the plot.
Otherwise, that stuff is just gratuitous and underestimates your readers. When editing your book, cut out needless words, sentences, paragraphs, and entire chapters, if necessary. The thrill of crime fiction comes from the relentless, white-knuckle pace of the plot.
As hard as it is, always resist the urge to fall in love with your own words…off with their heads! What are some of your favorite crime thriller novels?
How about memorable characters?It’ll also help you decide what kind of crime novel you’d like to write. (See Different types of crime novel) Tip 2.
Don’t forget that the crime and the detection of that crime are the most important parts of the novel. Everything else is simply there to throw the reader off the trail – subplots and red herrings. Writing crime fiction that transpires in a limited physical space is another effective way to create tension.
Stephen King does this in some of his novels: in Cujo, a woman and her son are trapped in a car by a rabid dog, and in Gerald’s Game a .
Oct 02, · How to Write Crime Stories In this Article: Article Summary Outlining the Plot Writing the Story Community Q&A Like many authors, crime writers sometimes get an itch to break the conventions of the genre and create something unique%(23).
Beginner Tips for Writing Crime Novels • Choose the type of crime novels to write – cozy, hardboiled, police procedural and thrillers, legal or otherwise.
I particularly love legal crime thrillers.
As a trial lawyer, that was the obvious choice for me. I believe our system of justice works beautifully most of the time. Never start with a description of the weather. In a crime novel, if you open with the description of the weather I’m going to think that the weather killed somebody.
(3) Have a crime. If you are writing a crime novel bad and awful things, sourced from the madness of your soul, need to happen. If you want to know how to write a mystery novel, you have to understand the conventions of the genre; you have to know what makes a mystery a mystery.
Dean Wesley Smith, one of the most prolific mystery writers of our day, defines a mystery as a story that involves a crime or puzzle to be solved, and it must be solved by story’s end.