Lesson 1 – The Craft

When to start writing crime novels, it is useful to first ask what makes a book into a detective story. Five rules of detective writing helps to create the right feeling. But of course there is nothing that says you have to follow the rules. They can, however, be useful to know, so as to avoid pitfalls like to throw in a person towards the end turns out to be the killer. Or that it makes it too easy for the reader to figure out who the villain.

Five important rules
1. All the clues need to be made accessible to the reader.
2. The murderer must be introduced early in the book.
3. The offense must be serious. No one wants to read a book about someone who stole a neighbor’s tulips.
4. The reader should be able to actively seek a solution and find it, do not accidentally fall over it at the end of the book.
5. There should be a known number of suspects and the killer will be found among them.

Start by writing a synopsis
For it to become a detective story required an intrigue. An experienced writer can perhaps devise a scheme and then sit down and write the book right away, but if you’re writing his first detective novel should start by writing a synopsis. It is a text that in a few pages tells the plot of the book and introduces the main characters.
To subscribe a synopsis with a clear red line, you should be able to answer the following questions about the four M: a: the murderer, the motive, the means and possibilities. Do you have them ready for you so it is easier to lead the reader astray.

Who is the murderer?
Why killed he / she?
How assassinated he / she?
When murdered he / she?

Exercise
1. Write down the different scenarios based on the four M: a. Fol- lowing shows an example. Try to find as many murderers leads, motive, means and opportunity you can. It’s a great way to kick start your imagination!

Killer: Wife – woman in her fifties with a taste for the good life.
Feature: Money – the husband has found a new woman and want to marry. The wife would lose access to her husband’s money.
Moderate: Arsenic – she was poisoning his food. Opportunity: On several occasions during the six months.

2. Read any detective story and boil it down to a synopsis on two sides. Like a detective novel you’ve read earlier so that you know it and now you can see it with new eyes. Imagine all the time on the structure of the story and try to find the common thread. Also be sure to get the four M: a.

Book recommendations
Two books that challenge the thesis of what a detective actually get is: Patient 67 by Dennis Lehane and perfume of Patrick Suskind.

You may also find it useful to read the Writing by Stephen King, How to write crime novels by Isobel Lambot, Writing mysteries teries by Sue Grafton, pp 9-14 and 77-88 and How to write mysteries of Shannon’s O’Cork 1-34.

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