Monday 6 March 2023

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: Petty Crime & Research


One thing that is always in the back of my mind when writing crime is how it's gonna look if I'm ever actually suspected of a crime. We've talked about search history, and that's well known, I think I could easily talk my way out of that. I have those contacts in the police that would, hopefully, vouch for my interest in crimes, especially grisly ones, but there's always the chance that I'd be suspected of something small, and the fact that I know so much about procedure and how it all works, the cops would dig deeper and think I was some criminal mastermind!

Of course I don't intend to commit any crimes any time soon, and I could just show them my books, and hope that they were happy with the depiction of their chosen career, but these are the things that your brain comes up with at 3am after six hours or sleep. You start to wonder, and worry, and then it all spirals down, if you're anything like me, to actual borderline panic. Ah, anxiety, how nice to have you join the party!

I have always been someone who was fascinated by crime. I don't know if that was the crime novels on tape that my mum would listen to on car journeys, or if it's just some part of me that likes the idea of knowing why people do certain things and watching the whole thing play out. Right now I'm in the midst of writing my first straight up crime/mystery for a long while. There are no paranormal elements, it's just a little touch of murder, and four teenagers trying to save one of their own after he's been wrongly accused. I'm loving every second of it, because it allows me to really dig deep into that part of myself that enjoys this kind of thing.

I know that might seem warped, but I promise you I am not the only one. After all, crime writers the world over feel the same way, and then there's all the true crime podcasts and shows, and all the many millions of people who enjoy watching them.

It seems that when things go wrong in our world, everyone, or almost everyone, wants to know the motive, the why behind it all. So it got me thinking about smaller crimes, like I've read a lot of things that talk about career criminals who start small, shoplifting or the like, and work their way up, and I just find that fascinating. I don't condone any kind of criminal act, and while it might seem like I romanticise them, I promise you that I'm pretty straight-laced about this kind of thing. It's not an urge to want to watch these things go wrong, but a keen sense of justice and escaping into a world where, usually, the bad guy is caught and everyone else can somewhat live happily ever after.

That's one of the reasons that I write the genres I do. I know that a lot of them are considered to be dark genres, and as a two-time attending author to the Darker Side Of Fiction, I'd agree that I'm very much a dark fiction writer. I've written lighter pieces, but I do find that I lean more that way. I don't know what that says about me, if anything, but I like to make sure that whatever I put my readers and characters through, there's some light at the end, some nod to the fact that the characters endured and are now out of the woods. Of course it's not always possible, but the intent is the same.

Crime is such a fascinating subject to me, but then again I would say that because I write crime novels, and I'm sure those who write historical feel the same about their chosen subject, and on with others as well. That's the point of choosing a genre and setting your story within it, that you will be delving deeper into the facets of that genre. I'll admit that a lot of my research over the years has made me even more curious about the inner workings of some of the people who commit both minor and major crimes, and I don't see that changing any time soon. It's just how I roll and I gotta be okay with that!

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

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