TIPS AND GRIEVOUS MISTAKES IN CRIME NOVEL WRITING
If you are planning to write your first novel and if you want to choose the most popular novel type with the best plot development as well as the best suspense techniques then there is only one option for you.
We are talking about crime novels. Crime novels are one of the most popular types of novels but crime novels can also be extremely difficult for someone who has never done it before.
There is a reason why crime novel writing mistakes are very common but it is also very easy to understand crime fiction mistakes to avoid.
There are so many things that can go wrong when you are writing crime novels and you can be wrong about criminal psychology or you can be wrong about crimes in description and so much more.
That is why instead of just talking about crime novel writing tips, we will be talking about novel writing mistakes to avoid as well such as plot inconsistencies or things like dialogue in crime novels etc.
We will talk about things like character development errors and how you should deal with writing suspenseful scenes so that you know exactly how building tension works.
So let us look at important tips about crime fiction and a few mistakes to avoid and we assure this blog will help you with your research for crime novels.
Let us start the blog from the very basics by understanding what are crime novels.
What Are Crime Novels?
Crime novels are one of the most popular genres of novels and a crime novel is a story that revolves around a crime as the central theme.
Crime novels can be detective novels about crime or even spy novels. Crime novels can be thrillers and they can even be psychological thrillers.
The primary thing to understand about crime novels is that there should be a crime in the plot and there can be resolution of the crime and a reveal.
Crime novels can follow a very common template that is very popular or it can even follow a very unique template that has never been seen before.
They are one of the most popular types of novels but there is so much that can go wrong while writing a crime novel.
So, let us look at a few tips to keep in mind and a few mistakes to avoid.
Tips To Keep in Mind While Writing Crime Novels
Always Do Research
Crime novels are one of the most technical types of novels because it is all about the details and not the emotion.
If you get your details wrong in the crime novel then nobody will simply read your novel because details are everything when it comes to crime novels.
When you are writing crime novels you must have a good understanding of forensics and how investigations work and you must have a deep understanding of whatever you put in the novel.
This means you should also understand how crime takes place and in order to do so the only thing you can do is research and read a lot of other novels but even more importantly read training manuals.
If you get hold of training videos and training manuals for police and detectives and even realistic documentaries then that will help you with your research.
If you want to do the best kind of research then you need to have contacts in law enforcement and detective agencies. This will provide you with the best kind of experience to write crime novels.
And if you are someone who already has a background in the law then it is even better.
Always The Imperfect Hero
If you want to write a crime novel and if you want to follow the trusted trends of time that are loved throughout the world then you should never write a black-and-white novel.
By black and white we mean that you should not write a novel where it is easy to identify the hero or the villain and side with the hero.
That is not how things work in real life because the hero has a little bit of a villain and the villain has their reasons to be a villain.
That is why you should always make sure that this is balanced so that you actually give room to your readers to think about it.
If you keep everything black and white then it will not stay a crime novel because everything will be predictable but if you keep the characters in the grey then it is going to improve the complexity by a lot.
A Nuanced Criminal or Villain
If you want to take your novel to the next level then all you need to do is to create a villain that is complex and not a simple criminal who is a bad person for the sake of being a bad person.
You can even do a better thing and make the circumstances the criminal which will make the plot even more complex.
You can show their human part and you can even show the part that makes them truly evil. For example, you can take any popular crime TV series and you are going to find that the criminals are a victim of circumstances.
This is because it is actually what happens in real life because no one is truly evil, they just find themselves in certain circumstances.
Keep Crime at The Forefront
If you are writing a crime novel then you should remember you are writing that because a lot of new authors make the mistake of keeping the crime as a side story.
They do not do it intentionally but they often start the story with different viewpoints and different events that are not directly related to the crime.
But you should always start with the crime and how the crime unfolds. You can take inspiration from the legendary crime novels of Sherlock Holmes because they always start with the crime or with a hint of the crime.
While you are free to do whatever you want but this is something tried and tested in the of crime writing.
Deal In Chapters and Locations
If you are writing for a printed publication and not a TV series then you should make sure that you have a solid location because it is just going to help the reader with the situation.
Having multiple dynamic locations is unnecessary and it is not going to help you with your story but it will make things more confusing.
That is why you should treat the location as a character and that will give you much more dynamic to work on because the setting is going to be essential for all the other events.
The complexity should not be in the locations but rather in the story.
Always Maintain the Tension
If you want to find out the fundamentals of a crime novel then one of the most important fundamentals is suspense because without suspense there is no crime novel.
That is why when you are writing a crime novel you should never give out the suspense before the climax because if you do that the readers will lose interest in the story completely.
That is why you should only reveal the criminal at the very end but leave a little bit of space for explanation.
That is why you are the filter and you should understand how much to let out and how much secret to maintain so that the interest of the readers is maintained.
Write Something You Enjoy and Know
You should not write something for the sake of writing in novel but you should actually enjoy it. When you are writing a crime novel you are in a very special position of knowing the entire story.
That is why you should only write on something that you know completely about and this is similar to the point about research.
If you do not have interest in a certain kind of topic but if that topic is very popular then you should not write about it just because it is trending.
This is because if you do not have an interest in the topic then you are more likely to make mistakes.
Mistakes can be forgiving in other kinds of novels but not in a crime novel because then you are more prone to loopholes.
Read, Read and Read
Inspiration is something truly magical and the best way for you to get inspiration is to read the very best and that is why we would always tell you to read some of the greatest crime novels in the world.
If you read classic crime novels then you are not only going to get the most practical tips about writing but you will also get to know so much about the crime world so that you will be better informed to write.
Every novel out there is inspired by something else and some authors even mention that and that is why there is no shame in doing so.
You can even put a dedication in your novel stating how some novels inspired you to do so and maybe your novel will inspire someone else.
Serious Mistakes to Avoid While Writing Crime Novels
Never Skip on Research
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to skip on research for your novel because if you skip on research then you stand the chance of creating loopholes.
Now there are genres out there where loopholes are tolerable because they do not form the structure of the plot.
But loopholes in crime novels can completely destroy the plot and the entire basis of the novel and people will simply not read your novel if it has any loopholes.
That is why the best way to avoid that is to be perfect with your storytelling and perfect with your technicalities.
We have already mentioned how you can do your research but we would also like to tell you that when you are doing research you can make a simple mistake.
You can only think that research is all about books and literature and all about reading manuals but that is not the thing.
Research is also going out into the world and listening to people and talking to police and detectives and simply exploring the world of crime.
It is going into slums and talking to people and understanding the mentality of the people where a lot of crime takes place.
Never Reject Part Two
Another thing you must keep in mind when you are writing a crime novel is that this is a particular genre that works extremely well with sequels.
You can pick up some of the most popular crime novels in the world and you are going to find that they have sequels. That is why you should always be open to the idea of opening up your novel to a second part.
It will not only make sense economically but it will make sense from the point of view of the story and the readers because if they really like something they would want another part.
But the mistake beginner authors make is that they do not leave any space for sequels because they write the first part and they think it is going to be the only part.
They might probably change their mind after their novel becomes successful but they simply do not have any space for sequels after that.
That is why you should always think about the future and leave some space for sequels.
Shortcuts With Editing
Crime novels are very technical which means there are more chances you are going to make a mistake in crime novels than any other kind of novel.
Those mistakes are only going to get noticed in the editing stage of the process. That is why in order to make sure you have the most perfect novel; you should never skip multiple rounds of editing.
If you can afford the time then you should also do proofreading. This is going to be the step after the editing and just before the publishing because if you have the time for it then you should never skip this step, especially for a crime novel.
If you are not confident with the proofreading then you can even hire an outside it to do it for you and supervise it closely.
The biggest enemy of crime novels is going to be a predictable story because the entire point of a crime novel is for people to keep guessing.
If people cannot guess the ending or the plot then you are successful at writing the novel. But if people are able to guess the story exactly then you should rethink the novel.
This is actually a very simple metric for measuring whether you have a successful crime novel or not. You should have your close friends and your loved ones or even your colleagues read it.
You should give them a section of the novel or maybe the first few chapters. If they are not able to guess the ending then you are successful.
If they can tell you exactly what the ending is going to be then you should revaluate your novel.
One of the problems with this genre is that people unintentionally replicate classic crime novels after they have read them.
It is one thing to draw inspiration from another novel but people make the mistake of completely copying the novel unintentionally because of how inspired they get from reading other crime novels.
They use stereotypical settings and they use a similar character structure and plot structure. Now if you have picked up something like that from an obscure novel then you might have a better chance of getting away with it.
But if you have picked it up from someplace familiar like Agatha Christie or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle then people will be able to spot it easily.
That is why you should keep the story as original as possible and if you can do that while drawing inspiration from the greatest novels then there is no harm in it.
Instead, you can draw inspiration from real crime in the world and real plots and combine them and that is one way to stay original.
Apart from all that, you must also keep in mind that the pacing of the novel should be perfect and you should also make sure you spend some time on subplots.
We hope this blog has been helpful for you to understand how to write crime novels and how to not write crime novels because both are important.
And we really hope you are able to pen down your crime novel and that it becomes a bestseller. While we cannot help you write your novel but we can definitely help you reach your readers.
We are Orange Publishers and we are a legacy publishing company with one of the finest reputations in India. We do everything in-house. We do the printing as well as publishing and even the marketing and the copyright of the novel for our authors.
Additionally, even do book cover designing and all the basic necessities of a legacy publisher.
We welcome you to visit our website and check out everything we do and we would love to publish your crime novel and any other kind of novel.
Common Crime Novel FAQs
What makes a novel a crime novel?
A novel can be called a crime novel when the central theme of the novel revolves around crime. It can be a single crime or it can be multiple crime stories.
A regular novel will not be set around a crime and there might be crime involved in a regular novel but it will not be the basis of the novel.
But when we talk about a crime novel, it is going to be the only reason the novel exists, its central theme.
What are the steps to write a crime story?
There are no standardized steps to do it but there are a few important things to keep in mind. If you want to write a crime story, you need to understand how crime works and in order to do that you need to have excellent research.
This means reading books about crime and talking with people who deal with criminals and also talking to criminals if it is possible or watching documentaries.
It is also very important that you understand the psychology of the criminal and for that, you can also do a little bit of studying about criminal psychology.
If you do not do that and try to write a crime story then the story will not be very realistic.
What are the genres of crime novels?
There are a lot of genres in the world of crime novels. There is the popular thriller and then there are things like spy thrillers. There is a subgenre called historical crime fiction and then there are psychological thrillers.
Crime novels can also be about a robbery or a heist and it can be about a serial killer. You can even have a crime novel about how the police work and the novel can be from their perspective. The novel can also be from the perspective of a detective.
A legal proceeding thriller is also a crime novel. Basically, there are multiple subgenres in the world of crime novels.
How many pages should a crime novel be?
It is completely up to you how many words you want to write and how many pages you want it to be but let us give you an average estimate of page count for crime novels.
If you want to write a short novel then it can be as low as 200 pages and there are good examples of those kinds of crime novels.
If you want your novel to be medium sized then you are looking at somewhere around 300 pages.
But if you want to write a novel that is considered long then it will be anywhere over 400 pages with novels even being up to 700 pages.
It all depends on what you want to do.