Tips For Writing Crime Fiction
Crime fiction is one of the most complex genres out there. You have to create multiple characters, who are all possible suspects, while hinting at many clues throughout the story. While having to manage all the small details in the clues, you also have to keep things interesting. Putting everything together nicely is not an easy task. If you stop to think about it… why do readers like crime fiction so much? Because crime fiction is complex!
There’s always a sense of mystery keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. There are personal struggles that could leave your readers emphasizing with a killer. Anything goes when it comes to crime fiction! With many different perspectives, it’s a roller coaster of emotions. Most of all, it’s the sense of mystery. Crime fiction readers have the tendency to question everything you throw at them. With such skeptical readers, you can use all the help you can get.
In this post, I will go over a couple of things you should especially look out for when writing crime fiction.
Make The Crime Interesting
A murder won’t cut it in this day and age. A murder is something anybody can wrap their head around. The crime should make your reader have to re-read the sentence. The crime should straight up shock them. An interesting crime will make for interesting characters, thus an overall fascinating story. A typical murder scene doesn’t have any personality. The crime needs to stand out.
Think about the antagonist. What is a crime your antagonist would commit that no other person would even think to commit? What makes your antagonist so misunderstood? The crime committed should reflect your antagonist's view of the world. It should reflect your criminal's personality. If your story’s murder is dull, there is no drive in the overall plot. It would just be a typical case.
Think about how much attention serial killers get. Why do you think they receive so much attention? Because what they do is shocking. Their crime stands out and grabs people’s attention. Everybody will want to get to the bottom of the case and find out the ‘why’. What was the killer’s motivation? People don’t like to hear about serial killers in the real world, but they sure do like to read about them. I never thought I’d say this, but learn from them. There are millions of unique crimes that have never been thought of, use your imagination.
The Story Is Driven By The Crime
Every character, scene, and action are all directed towards solving that one crime. Wouldn’t the story be more impactful with a crime that isn’t dull? Two detectives solving a case for a murder is your typical cliche crime story. Two detectives solving a case for a man who murders civilians by throwing television sets off of rooftops, now you got yourself a story! You don’t see television-wrangling murder stories too often.
Making the crime more specific pulls your reader into it. This gives you the opportunity to give your book a ‘get lost in the detail’ quality. When it comes to crime fiction, detail can never hurt.
Give Your Characters Color
Everybody has their own story, mistakes, and motivations. Your characters shouldn’t be any different. Nobody likes cookie-cutter characters. Readers will see right through that. That’s why it’s your job to give your characters color. Give them backgrounds that pull heart-strings. Allow your readers to empathize with characters, even the murderer.
Without empathy, your readers won’t be able to connect with your story. You need to create dynamic characters who live with complicated circumstances. More importantly, they have to be relatable. Make your reader choose sides. A villain may see himself as the hero, and the hero may end up being the villain. Keep your readers thinking about the characters and what can happen to them. Keeping them on their toes will make for an engaging story.
Without dynamic crimes and characters, you end up with a mediocre story. Don’t be like the rest, stand out! Always keep the sense of mystery, your readers will thank you. A predictable crime story is never fun to read or watch. You know you’ve sat through one, predicting all of the scenes with impeccable accuracy. Feel motivated to make your story something truly unique and colorful.
I hope I was able to change your perspective at least a little. If you have any thoughts to share, be sure to comment down below :)
ABOUT THE BOOK
Vale Investigation (book #1)
Date Published: August 1, 2018
When a mysterious beast savagely mauls random residents of Cold City, the police assume that these are the killings of a rogue wolf. But experienced private investigator, Bellamy Vale, is unconvinced.
Ordered by Death herself to investigate, Vale has no choice but to obey for his boss is not someone to disappoint—if he wants to keep breathing, that is.
With friend and computer hacker Zian, interfering journalist Candice Kennedy, and homicide sergeant Melanie Ramirez by his side, Vale has no choice but to end the killings or face the wrath of the demon who literally holds his life in her hands.
Hostile Takeover is a fast-paced, edge-of-your seat paranormal mystery that will leave your heart racing, and have you looking over your shoulder.
I was having a bad day.
The ugly thug facing me readied himself for the next swing. “What did you say, bastard?” His red-splattered knuckles were ready for the next round; my body wasn’t.
“I’m haffin a fah fay,” I managed to repeat through a mouthful of saliva and blood.
That made Julian Ragazzo, former welterweight boxing champ and top bodyguard to the city’s prime Italian Mafia family, smile. His wet beard glistened with sweat beads around stained teeth. Glad one of us was happy.
I took stock of the damage Ragazzo had already done. Broken nose, check. Split lip, check. Swollen eye, check. Broken rib, double check, and the list went on and on. It could have been worse. The injuries, though painful, weren’t enough to put me in the hospital. Sure, I’d hurt for a week or four, but I’d live to tell the tale outside of a body cast. I knew that, and Ragazzo did, too. This was a game we’d both played before … not that I’d gotten any better at it.
I caught a reflection of myself in the glossy surface of a cabinet door. My messy mop of brown locks was matted with blood on one side and the five o’clock shadow had a hard time concealing a fast-bruising chin. One eye was swollen shut and the other had a pale blue, haunted orb dancing amidst a sea of red veins. I was a mess, and not a hot one.
I closed my good eye and waited for the next blow. The bodyguard didn’t disappoint. A second later, he delivered a power punch and I saw stars. It didn’t help that I was tied to a chair and my already sore shoulders screamed in protest at the added strain. In a noise that only I could hear, my body cried out, ‘How in all the hells was this part of the plan?’ Fair question—it wasn’t.
In truth, there may have been a few glitches here and there. Like those two extra guards at the office building’s back entrance, plus that wrong turn I took on the fourteenth floor. Yeah, okay … the plan was just as screwed as I was.
Ragazzo followed up his haymaker with another kick in the guts. It would have ripped a scream out of me if I’d had any breath left for it. Instead, my lungs just took in short, choppy gasps I couldn’t control.
“Well, well, well … look what the cat dragged in,” taunted an Italian-lilted voice.
I recognized the lazy drawl and opened my good eye to confirm my suspicions. Sure enough, Alonzo Vitorini, Cold City’s resident wannabe kingpin, stood near the entrance in a dark-green pinstriped suit. Shit, looking at his ugly get-up hurt worse than any of Ragazzo’s blows.
Vitorini sauntered into the room, smiling as he noticed my stare. “Like the suit?” he asked, doing a little pirouette to show off this walking insult to fashion.
I wasn’t going to reply, but the second my eye caught sight of the finishing touch, a pair of black-and-white spectator shoes, my mouth kicked into gear on its own.
“Al Capone called,” I wheezed out. “He wants his brogues back.”
Vitorini laughed, the corners of his muddy-green eyes wrinkling. Not sure if he was laughing at the crack or the fact that he was going to kill me for it in another minute or two.
About the Author
Cristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, in Greater Geneva, where she still resides.
She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.
She is the author of the Neve & Egan Cases series, which features an unlikely duo of private detectives in London: Ashford Egan, a blind History professor, and Alexandra Neve, one of his students.
Currently, she is hard at work on her Urban Fantasy series Vale Investigation which chronicles the exploits of Death’s only envoy on Earth, PI Bellamy Vale, in the fictitious town of Cold City, USA.