Return to Content How to pace a crime novel If you want to write gripping, gritty police procedurals or other crime fiction, knowing how to pace a crime novel is essential. An effective crime novel must keep the reader turning pages while revealing enough information to make the narrative flow at a cracking pace. Here are some suggestions for pacing your crime novel, as well as pitfalls to avoid: There are multiple ways to approach a mystery in crime fiction.
Return to Content Writing crime fiction — 7 elements of gripping suspense Suspense is a critical aspect of writing crime fiction. All the elements outlined below can help to increase suspense over the course of your novel: Conflict Suspense arises from conflict.
Before you can effectively create suspense throughout your crime novel, you need to have a handle on its central conflict. The main question of your novel might be answering who the murderer of a character was.
You can use this question and the tension it creates as a starting point for building suspense. Branching out from your major conflict, there may be smaller conflicts that also create tension.
The investigator may interview two suspects, for example, who hate one another. Each might imply that the other may have been involved. Suspense may be built around efforts to cover up unsavoury facts about the deceased.
Suspense may also be generated as the investigative protagonist gets closer to the answer since this places her life in danger. Time Unfolding your novel within a tight time frame is one of the best methods for building suspense. There are a few pitfalls to be cautious of in a time-focused approach to writing crime fiction.
One is that effective suspense requires some let-up. The same thing can happen with fiction. Giving your protagonist a short period of time to solve a problem is an excellent approach to building suspense but be sure to create contrasts. Downtime gives readers a chance to catch their breath.
It can even lull them into a false sense of security as you prepare the next surprise that will leave them even more interested and invested. The other issue you must deal with is the implication of having something unfold in a short period of time. If your protagonist is on the run for 48 hours, is there time to eat or sleep?
If not, what effect will this have? Giving your character a limited amount of time to solve a problem is a great way to build suspense, but you can place constraints on your character that increase tension in other ways as well: Other limits 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: You can challenge your character in other ways, too. What happens if your protagonist is in a foreign country where they cannot speak the language, or has run out of money? By reducing the options available to your main character, you will build suspense.
If you have created several plausible suspects, the reader may become particularly engrossed when the protagonist is alone with any of them. You might plan your red herrings so that there are a number of potential alternatives answers. If you just have one red herring, the savvy suspense fan might see it coming, but if you include multiple ones, you can keep readers guessing.
Red herrings do not just relate to murder suspects.
Almost anything can be a red herring including a piece of information or a situation. For example, you can create a series of red herrings as a protagonist is walking down a street at night. The protagonist might think a man is following her but he ends up entering a local restaurant.
Red herrings can work with other elements to increase suspense: Foreshadowing, atmosphere and mood Foreshadowing involves suggestions of things that may happen.
It may be direct or indirect. The storm is a suggestion of the terrible experience the protagonist will have when a crime is committed at the house.How to pace a crime novel If you want to write gripping, gritty police procedurals or other crime fiction, knowing how to pace a crime novel is essential.
An effective crime novel must keep the reader turning pages while revealing enough information to make the narrative flow at a cracking pace. May 01, · Plant some clues! Whether you're writing crime or ghost stories, you need clues as to what is actually happening.
in crime novels, they should be very subtle, like a cigarette butt at the crime scene, or a misplaced item that can't easily be moved%(40).
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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’.
Authors writing crime fiction must create strong motivation for readers to invest in seeing suspenseful setups through to their conclusion.
Itching to start writing your crime novel? Sign up today and use our easy novel-writing process and enjoy helpful critiques as you progress. To write a crime novel, of course, you need a crime. The murder story is as old as the Bible (if you count Cain and Abel) and the crime I chose to kick off Crusher.
Next you need a protagonist to unravel the mystery – not just whodunnit, but why.