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from 7 Tips for Writing Crime Fiction, written for Writer’s Digest. 7. Backstory. Every single character gets one, including the guy who shows up once to deliver the mail. It can be as little as a sentence or as much as a subplot running through the entire narrative. The supporting cast is what makes a great…

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7 Tips for Writing Crime Fiction by Dana Stabenow (written for Writer’s Digest) 5. Never neglect setting.* It’s key to everything that follows. What does it look like, smell like, sound like, feel like? What effect does the setting have on the characters, and why? Once you figure out setting, you can figure out who…

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For centuries Hondurans have told their children the myth of the Lost City of the Monkey God, but myths are often rooted in fact, and in the early Oughts cinematographer and inveterate searcher for lost cities Steve Elkins starts looking for it. National Geographic/New Yorker writer and novelist Douglas Preston, in the way nosy journalists…

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7 Tips for Writing Crime Fiction by Dana Stabenow (written for Writer’s Digest) 4. Make your protagonist a hero, if not in his own eyes then in everyone else’s. A hero is better than you and me; that’s why they are heroes and why they deserve their own novel and you and I don’t. How?…

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7 Tips for Writing Crime Fiction by Dana Stabenow (written for Writer’s Digest) 3. Put your protagonist at risk. Physically, mentally, emotionally, any or all. Liam Campbell jumped out of an airplane (on purpose), was nearly flattened by a herd of walrus, and has been shot at and missed far too many times. We won’t…

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7 Tips for Writing Crime Fiction by Dana Stabenow (written for Writer’s Digest) 2. Love your creeps. Put the villain on display and do it early in the narrative. Get your reader invested in the character and then betray the hell out of both of them. Read the rest at Writer’s Digest here.

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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…

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Time. In crime fiction time is the essence of detection. If Whositz says “I was sleeping with my mistress when my wife was murdered” the first thing the detective on the case will do is verify that alibi. If Whositz is seen leaving his mistress’ house by the back alley in time to get home,…

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The sky is not the limit.

Another of Marshall’s entries in the series he calls “Power of Place,” this one involving looks through the geographical lens at maybe not the first countries or locations you might think of when you think of our planet’s future. There are some surprising discoveries. Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in alternative energy and, following in…

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