THE TRIALS OF A CRIME WRITER: PLANNING THE PERFECT CRIME
When writing crime, one of the first things you'll be thinking about is what that crime is. Now depending on how much you plot and plan, you might already know the ins and outs of your story, as in who does what when, and why they do it, and whether or not they're gong to get caught and how. I don't generally plan all that much when it comes to my crime and mystery books, but I do, generally, have some idea who's done the crime and why.
But over the years of being a crime writer, and as an avid reader of the genre, I do sometimes wonder just how many times a writer has created what might be the perfect crime, the one that you don't get caught doing. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not about to suggest that we all put our heads together and go on a killing spree! I'm simply thinking outside the box here and wondering just how much thought does go into the plotting and planning of these fictional crimes.
Personally, like I said, I don't plot it out much, but I have had to revise a book where plotting might have made matters easier. I don't do it beforehand because that's just not the way my writing or at least, my drafting brain works. I find that if I put too much thought into it, I end up losing the urge to write the story and no one wants that. If that works for you, then great, I can only come at this from my revision stages because that's when I, generally, will work on a better and more detailed outline to allow me to go through the revisions easier.
So what goes into the perfect crime? I thought I'd give you some of my writing tips, and give you a glimpse into the thought process behind it.
#1 THE MOTIVE MATTERS
As with most things crime related, there has to be an actual motive. When it comes to fiction, it's rare that someone will hurt someone else without a reason for it. To be honest the same could be said for real life, but I don't have any experience with that so I couldn't tell you how true that is. If you want your killer to be believable then you need to make sure they have a pretty good motive. If it's too weak, readers will question whether or not they would be driven to murder, and if it's too convoluted, it might just seem like there was a better way to do things.
#2 THE VICTIM MATTERS
I don't mean that your victim has to be a perfect person, everyone has flaws, and sometimes it can be fun to play around with a victim that no one likes, and therefore searching for the real killer can be really really difficult. But there has to be a reason that the killer chose this person to kill. If they're a victim, their loss must be something that can be felt throughout the story. I know some crime novels to a flip between then and now, and that can be a great tool to play with if you're wanting to do that, but to make readers want to read more, you need to make sure you've chosen the right victim.
#3 THE METHOD MATTERS
Of course, some crimes are going to be harder to trace. If it looks like it can be written off as natural causes, then you're home free, but since that's harder and harder to do, it might just be that you choose a method that allows people to really wonder how they died. Poison, depending on the type, can be something that's hard to pick up, especially if it's something that disperses quickly, or even is naturally occurring in the body. However you choose to end the victim's life, you need to be clever in your methodology.
So there we go, those are my three big things when it comes to planning the perfect crime. I think that a lot of the time, people forget one or the other, and while the point of the majority of crime novels is to solve it, you can be clever in how you go about doing so. Any way you look at it, it makes for interesting reading and exciting writing!
Any questions? Lemme know in the comments below!
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