How to write the perfect crime story

This article is from a series of writing tips for kids. But, hey, we’re all kids, aren’t we? Otherwise how could we be writers?

Niall-Leonardby Niall Leonard

The crime novel, as a visit to any good bookshop will tell you, is a huge category, and I would never claim to know the definitive method of constructing and writing one; I can only go from my own experience of writing for TV shows like Silent Witness and Wire in the Blood, and the crime novel trilogy that started with Crusher.

The best place to start is with a story that fascinates you as a writer. If you feel excited writing it there’s a far better chance your readers will feel excited too. Real life is always the best source of stories, but never rely on newspapers or TV for the whole truth: journalists often omit inconvenient facts, or simply get stuff wrong, and TV writers constantly cheat and fudge reality to make their story work better, or to fit a timeslot or a budget. Recycling other writers’ work is not good writing any more than reheating a supermarket meal in a plastic tray is good cooking – research is essential if you want your tale to ring true.

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