Crime Writing Beckons

If your cash is running out fast and you have an incessant need to write, why not turn to crime?

No! Not committing crime, but to writing about crime. Crime is all around us, and people want to know about it. Don't believe me? Turn on the five o'clock news, Lifetime TV or USA TV Network. You'll see true crime stories run rampant across television schedules. True crime on television is the number two genre (next to romance). And guess what? Someone has to write those movie scripts--might as well be you.

Many movies are adapted from books. Again, someone has to write those books. It's legal, profitable, and downright intriguing.

You ever wonder, when you're watching the news, "How could she be so stupid?" or "Didn't they know they were living with a maniac?" I do, it's only natural. In fact, I think we feel it could never happen to us.

But, crime can happen to any one of us. That's where true crime writing comes in. It answers the questions in story form.

For instance, we have learned that kids believe 'strangers' are ugly and 'scary-looking'--like monsters. But we know that's not accurate, so we teach our kids that a stranger can be good looking, well educated, and considerate. We can tell them about Ted Bundy (without the violence) and show them a picture if we really want to make the point. Many surviving crime victims often say that the person was so nice; they never suspected he could be capable of such destruction. We know this because we were told a story either in verbal, written, or picture form.

If true crime writing interests you, begin by searching local newspapers for stories. Don't search across the country, unless you are independently wealthy! Anytime you see an article that looks interesting, clip it and put it in your 'true crime clippings' file. If there are more articles about the same crime, then you know it is intriguing enough to warrant your attention. Still... it does not mean it is enough for an entire book. To discover the answer to that question will take research.

Do you have a fascinating criminal? Is the crime random, or was the victim chosen for a reason? Is the place of action special (was it at Disneyland, for instance)? Can you write about a totally different lifestyle than what we know? Is the criminal a member of MENSA? Is she dressed up as a clown when she commits her crimes? Is the victim the first woman space rocket engineer? Perhaps the victim is a deaf child. All of these facts increase the story's public interest and can take us into a world we have never been in before.

Are there subplots in the crime (not only did he murder his best friend, he also barged into his friend's family life and became like another son, then he robbed them one night, and then...). These questions will help you decide if you have a story worth considering?

True crime writing is lucrative and actually a challenging kind of fun. It is about combining journalism with novel writing. Nonfiction with fiction. If you have what it takes -- determination, time, and a strong stomach -- you can take up this as a career and soar.

About The Author

Nithya K is a India-based writer who specializes in writing fiction and has tremendous interest in writing non-fiction related to science, technology and other genre. She is also experienced in creating technical documentation. Basically a BE graduate with an MBA degree, her main focus is still writing. Nithya is also interested in Ghost writing of books and articles in the areas of business writing, technical writing, science and technology writing and fiction.

The author can be contacted at [email protected] and also invites readers to visit her webpage at www.geocities.com/tutor19us/index.html

In The News:

Here Come the Prose Police  The Chronicle of Higher Education
Marilyn's writing debut  Royal Gazette
Public Writing and the Junior Scholar  The Chronicle of Higher Education
The Heavy Unseen Labor of Writing Reference Letters  The Chronicle of Higher Education
Tinker, Tailor, Writer, Spy  The New York Times

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