James Ellroy is the preeminent crime novelist of our time. As his just-released Perfidia rolls out, he talks to Co. Create about how to write immersive page-turners like his classic, L. Short, compact sentences hit in machine gun bursts.
My primary skill set is in nonfiction. But I am moving quickly back toward fiction, and hopefully back toward mystery fiction in the future, with a much deeper understanding than I had the first time I wrote something in that field.
Reply Garry Rodgers March 2, at Hopefully you and others get some good from these tips. Reply Curtis Manges March 2, at 8: I take free online courses for entertainment, and psychology and brain science is my favorite topic.
If it helps my writing, so much the better. Reply Brian Hoffman March 2, at A couple of other things: They are scientists and work in a lab on dozens of cases at time. Leave them in the lab. Second, be sure to get technical facts right. Fine, but the gun was a Glock.
Garry Rodgers March 2, at 1: Good point about the CSI people. I used the word gaffe. Sorry for not being clear. Reply Sue Coletta March 2, at Excellent post as usual, my friend. Reply Garry Rodgers March 2, at 1: I love watching Castle, but I wonder just how realistic the show is.
Reply Garry Rodgers March 2, at 2: Looks like I have to get out of my Canadian igloo more often. Reply Sue Coletta March 2, at 2: I love Castle being Castle.
Garry, for no other reason, watch it for the laughs. Sue Coletta March 2, at 2: Karen MacDougall March 2, at It was a very powerful message indeed.
I also appreciated your top 10 tips on writing believable crime stories. I guess what I am talking about is knowing how to strike a balance, when to know which details are important to conveying the message and which are less so. There is a limit to getting the minute details correct.When writing crime fiction, you should almost always start with the crime.
Click To Tweet. All narratives detail the complete story of one conceptual ‘item’. That item can be a person, an event, a relationship, a place, a belief, etc. In crime fiction, the conceptual item is the investigation of a crime.
Raymond Chandler’s shadow is a long one, especially when it comes to writing crime fiction. A “dame” walks into the peeper’s office. The private dick knocks on the door of a rich client. James Ellroy is the preeminent crime novelist of our time.
As his just-released Perfidia rolls out, he talks to leslutinsduphoenix.com about how to write immersive page-turners like his classic, L.A. It’ll also help you decide what kind of crime novel you’d like to write. (See Different types of crime novel) Tip 2. Don’t forget that the crime and the detection of that crime are the most important parts of the novel.
Everything else is simply there to throw the reader off the trail – subplots and red herrings. If you want to know how to write a mystery novel, you have to understand the conventions of the genre; you have to know what makes a mystery a mystery. Dean Wesley Smith, one of the most prolific mystery writers of our day, defines a mystery as a story that involves a crime or puzzle to be solved, and it must be solved by story’s end.
Writing crime fiction that transpires in a limited physical space is another effective way to create tension. Stephen King does this in some of his novels: in Cujo, a woman and her son are trapped in a car by a rabid dog, and in Gerald’s Game a woman is handcuffed to a bed.