Posted by Adam | Posted in Crime Fiction, Self-Publishing | Posted on 22-06-2013
Crime fiction is one of readers’ favourite genres, and with so many great crime novels out there, writers always need to look for ways to up their game. If you’re new to writing in the genre, where should you start? Here are some tips to give you some ideas and things to think about when writing great crime fiction.
- Set it in a distinctive place. Whether they’re set in a dark, brooding city or a pretty, small English village, most of the very best crime novels have distinctive sense of place.
- Edit like crazy. This applies to all genres, but it is especially important in crime fiction where plots are often complicated and need to be right. Only keep what’s necessary for your story – everything else can go.
- Learn how to plan. Whether you like extensive plans or prefer the minimalist approach, find out what works for you and go with it.
- Give your characters depth – including the villains. Remember that all of your characters are the main characters in their own lives. This means that they shouldn’t be two-dimensional cardboard cut-out types that do things just because they’re convenient for the plot, but rather should be multi-faceted and the driving force of the plot.
- Start and end with the characters. You might have an idea for a plot you want to explore, but don’t forget that it’s the characters that move it forward. They’re where the interest lies – in all fiction, not just crime fiction.
- Watch the news, read the papers. Real life events can be a good source of ideas and inspiration for crime fiction. It’s not just the crime stories either; almost any news story could have the seed of an idea that could be useful for a crime novel.
- Keep some information back. Mystery and suspense are vital for crime fiction, so don’t tell your readers everything at once.
- Get your research right. You don’t want to overwhelm readers by regurgitating everything you’ve learned through your research, but equally you don’t want the story to end up implausible because you’ve not checked your facts properly. It’s important to get the balance right.
- Let the readers do some work; they like to feel as though they’re one step ahead, and there’s no need to tell them absolutely everything when they’re perfectly capable of working things out for themselves. But surprise them too – part of the beauty of crime fiction is letting the readers think they’ve worked it all out, and then pulling the rug from under them.
What do you think?