7 Tips for Writing Crime Fiction

(written for Writer’s Digest)

by Dana Stabenow

I only wish I’d had this list when I began writing, but thirty-seven novels later I do have a few things figured out. I don’t follow all these rules slavishly. I say begin with the murder but…often I don’t. Every writer does things differently, so don’t take how someone else writes for your template. I could add that many writers do things differently in different books but that will just make you cry so I won’t. Try everything below once, keep what works for you, and trash the rest.

!. Begin with the murder. Get into the victim’s head as they die. Make it as real and as awful as you can. This invests the reader with sympathy for the victim no matter how horrible they were in life and lends that much more urgency to your protagonist’s quest to find the murderer. It will make finding the killer that much more urgent for the writer as well.*

*Who would be you.

Read the rest on Writer’s Digest here.

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Dana View All →

Author and founder of Storyknife.org.

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