Monday, 8 September 2014

The Perfect Crime Story

Crime fiction writer Niall Leonard, who writes television scripts and books for teens and young adults, has some interesting advice on how to write the "perfect" crime story.

Photo courtesy of  The Guardian
First, he suggests starting with a story that fascinates you as a writer so you can convey this enthusiasm to your readers. Second, he recommends a lot of research so your stories will ring true to life and be "far more interesting than anything you could dream up at your desk". His third point is not to drown your story in details. Remember that you're entertaining, not lecturing your reader. His other points include the importance of a protagonist in unraveling the crime, and the identification of motive(s). Also, he suggests that the killer should operate in plain sight of the reader from the beginning of the novel. He or she may have a rock-solid alibi, but it's through the actions of the characters that the mystery should be revealed rather than through the introduction of the killer at the end of the story like a deus ex machina. It's the writer's job, he contends, to hide the clues leading to the ultimate revelation of the killer as the book progresses.

And his final word of advice? " Perseverance, patience and resilience are essential." Even the most successful of today's crime novelists, he notes, took years to establish their reputation.

Leonard's advice is, of course, commonsensical, but it never hurts to remind ourselves of the basics of crime fiction writing.

For the full text of the article, please see

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