1. picklzzz
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    picklzzz Senior Member

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    Help with starting crime story...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by picklzzz, Nov 28, 2011.

    I've never tried to write a crime story. Some of my stories have elements of crime, but that's not the main focus. I am stuck on what would be an interesting crime to write about. Murder - could be interesting, depending on who, what or where. But, what other crimes could I write about? I have a story on rape already, which I like, but I'd like some other type of crime to write about. Or, should I start from an interesting character and let the story flow from him or her?

    Any ideas would be appreciated!
     
  2. Prolixitasty
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    Prolixitasty Member

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    Write the nastiest cruelest and most violent thing you possible can. After that we'll discuss crime.
     
  3. Yasin
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    Yasin Member

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    I think it's easier to base a storyline around actual events. That doesn't mean copy it, it means use it and adapt it. It gives you are starting point.
     
  4. cheesecake
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    cheesecake New Member

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    Some random suggestions:

    Where to start?
    -crime scene with flashbacks here & there
    -the suspect/murderer/etc POV & tell it from their angel before the commit the crime or even after they done the crime & on the run
    -develop the victim(s) background, characteristics, so forth

    What's the crime?
    -murder (most popular), maybe mass murder
    -robbery (bank or resident)
    -lock-down (school shooters, inmates riot)

    I wrote a short story about a murder crime with the dead coming back as a ghost to assist in the case. Cliche? Yes. Been done before? Yes. Fun to write? Definitely yes!

    Hope that help you somewhat. Good luck!
     
  5. cheesecake
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    cheesecake New Member

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    Some random suggestions:

    Where to start?
    -crime scene with flashbacks here & there
    -the suspect/murderer/etc POV & tell it from their angel before the commit the crime or even after they done the crime & on the run
    -develop the victim(s) background, characteristics, so forth

    What's the crime?
    -murder (most popular), maybe mass murder
    -robbery (bank or resident)
    -lock-down (school shooters, inmates riot)

    I wrote a short story about a murder crime with the dead coming back as a ghost to assist in the case. Cliche? Yes. Been done before? Yes. Fun to write? Definitely yes!

    Hope that help you somewhat. Good luck!
     
  6. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    First of all, usually a hallmark of crime stories is that half the time things are not what they seem. Like sometimes what starts out as a bank robbery turns out it's a misdirect to assassinate some important someone or a means of getting revenge on someone. Don't let this get you down though. Don't think that all of your stories have to be insanely complex. But just know that maybe your idea that you eventually want to end up being a murder mystery (or preventing someones murder even)... you might be able to start it off as a robbery or kidnapping or another murder.

    Another note, the more complex stories tend to have more "crimes" than just the main crime the MC is investigating. Usually coverups of the original crime or a part of the grand scheme the criminal is trying to do. An example of the former (coverups of the original crime) would be if for example you have a robbery of some kind that was executed by a group of people. Maybe as the story goes on, you uncover one or two people in the group... but in your attempt to find them to interrogate them... it turns out someone killed them presumably to prevent them from talking. The same could be said about a witness to the crime. An example of the latter (grand scheme crimes) would be if you had a guy that was killing off random people and you have to figure out what the connection is between the people. And maybe it turns out the whole thing is a guy getting revenge over something that happened in the past.

    Crime "Ideas":
    Murder
    Rape/Assault
    Kidnapping
    Robbery

    But yeah, usually it's the style more than the actual crime. You could write nothing but robbery stories and each of them could be completely unique. Same with each of the other categories. I would actually suggest if you really want to get a feel for how crime plots are done... start watching crime shows. I'm pretty much a crime show junkie (Psyche, White Collar, CSI, NCIS, The Mentalist, Castle, etc) and I bet I've seen pretty much every style that is possible. Now, I would also read a book or two in the genre to know how they write it because you can't write a crime novel like it's a TV show.
     
  7. dizzyspell
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    dizzyspell Active Member

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    Agentkirb is right. In crime, the style of your work is very important.

    Are you going to be writing a cozy mystery? A police procedural? A thriller?

    The differences between these sub-genres are marked and worth thinking about. Cozy mysteries are generally focussed on the unravelling of a mystery (usually a murder), while a thriller will throw your protagonist into action. This action usually centres around a larger mystery, often a conspiracy. It's worth noting that, in a thriller, the action is usually as important as the crime.

    The protagonist of a crime novel is also very important. Is your protagonist an amateur sleuth or a hardened ex-cop?

    Different MCs lead naturally into different sub-genres of crime. If you think of Lee Child's Jack Reacher thrillers, it's pretty obvious from the main character's unique skill-set that there'll be action involved in his adventures.

    What crime you should actually write about depends largely on what sub-genre you're writing in. As I mentioned before, a cozy mystery will often involve a murder. A police procedural novel will almost always take a regular case and make it personal to the protagonist.

    So my advice is just to read a wide variety of crime novels. Work out what styles and sub-genres you like, analyse the elements that make each of these styles successful and then start writing. :)
     
  8. picklzzz
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    picklzzz Senior Member

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    Thank you both for these suggestions. I really have to research more on the different types of crime stories and go from there. I do watch a lot of crime shows and have read many crime books, but so far, nothing has appealed to me as far as something I could come up with or make work. I'll definitely have to put much more thought into it. Thanks again!
     
  9. Devrokon
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    Devrokon Senior Member

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    Start with a really interesting crime and then work your way from there. Look in the newspapers for inspiration.
     

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