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February 22 2016

crimefiction
Who Killed Little Johnny Gill? by Kathryn McMaster

Here are my top ten strategies for writing crime fiction and thrillers that will please the reader and earn publishers start groping for his or her chequebooks.


crime fiction

1) Know the market.
Read very widely. As numerous authors as possible, less many books. If you've read one book by Patricia Cornwell or Linwood Barclay, then proceed. You know their shtick. Determine what else is out there. This means also reading the classics, learning the history of the genre, and reading lots of fiction in translation too. What's more, it means reading the kind of non-fiction. If you're writing political espionage thrillers, as an example, you need to know the political, military and security bacground If you do not, your readers will - and will also be caught out.

suspense

2) Understand in which the leading edge lies.
The largest names (eg: Coben, Rankin, Reichs) usually are not the most current. They built their reputations in years past. Try to locate the sexiest (biggest selling, most praised, state-of-the-art, prize winning) debut novels. That is what editors are buying today. That is the market you're competing in.

3) Don't just trot out the cliches.
You've got a serial killer have you? A terrorist bomb plot? Be tough yourself. These things are tired old cliches. They're able to work if you handle them in a new or dazzling way, however the old ways are no longer enough.

4) Get complex. Your plot probably needs a brain-aching level of complexity, as well as a surprising number of well-planned, well-executed twists. Because modern crime authors have become really good at developing complex but plausible plots, and also, since modern thriller writers are getting to be so adept at delivering an endless chain of impossible-to-see-it-coming twists, you can not afford to be under devilishly clever yourself. With rare exceptions, simple no more sells.

5) Keep with the darkness.
Your book have to be dark and tough. That's your entry ticket towards the genre. What you do there may be very varied, but cute, cosy crime is a very limited market now. In order to write cosy crime, then expect a little readership and meagre sales.

6) Don't forget jeopardy.
Crime novels now are also thrillers. It's not OK for the detective to resolve the mystery and explain everything to a hushed and respectful audience. On the other hand, (s)he's got to stay in fear of his/her life. It's got to be white knuckle along with intellectually satisfying.

7) Focus on character.
Crime and thriller plots are typically forgettable, and often feel very samey anyway. Characters, on the other hand, never leave us: Holmes, Marlowe, Elvis Cole, Hannibal Lecter. If you find a strong character, and do everything else reasonably competently, then you definitely quite likely have fiction that'll sell.

murder mystery

8) Write well!
Bad writing will almost certainly kill your chances of success. And quite right too. It's not necessary to be flowery. It's necessary that you be completely competent.

9) Be economical.
Thrillers must be taut. Check your book for needless chapters, your chapters for needless paragraphs, your paragraps for needless sentences, along with your sentences for needless words. Then do all of it over again. Twice.

10) Be perfectionist.
Good isn't good enough. Dazzling will be the target. Being tough with ourselves is the essential first ingredient. Getting someone else to be tough with you is quite possibly the second.

I said ten tips, didn't I? What, here's an eleventh:

11) Don't surrender.
Be persistent. You overcome doing. You'll improve. Take into consideration building your skills, engaging with all the industry, or getting editorial advice. All of the things will increase your maturity as a writer. Now write that thriller, polish it - and then sell it. Best of luck!

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl