Author — The Silent Sound. Believe me when I say this… I wrote quite a few.
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.
In one approach, the mystery concerns the protagonist uncovering the perpetrator of a crime. The reader is just as much in the dark as the main character, and finds out details as the main character does.
In another approach, the reader is given information up front, such as who is responsible for the crime. Whatever approach you are using in your own crime novel, smart pacing is crucial for reader engagement. In both types of novels, you will need to intersperse explanatory information with enough incidents driving the narrative forward to keep your reader engaged.
In both cases, you will need to steer clear of a few pitfalls: The info dump In an info dump, you give the reader a block of information all at once.
Often it is more information than the reader can take in and remember for later developments. Sometimes, you may need to resort to the info dump while writing a first or discovery draft, as the details you include can be a reminder to yourself to deliver key information at specific stages of your story.
If you do leave these chunks of expository information in temporarily, be sure to clean these up and integrate the information more seamlessly into your story when writing subsequent drafts. You will encounter this sometimes in film, television and novels when characters use these exact words to introduce a piece of information: Having one character tell another character something can be a great way of relaying important facts to the reader as well, but it needs to be in a realistic scenario and conversation instead of a contrived, forced-sounding one.
Too much information up front This is not the same thing as an info dump. An info dump is a lot of information in one paragraph or short section, whereas giving too much information up front may involve stretching this information across an entire chapter or two. It will still be too much for the reader to take in at once.
Pace your novel effectively by revealing just a little bit at a time and allowing the reader to take in any new facts and key plot developments before moving on to more.
Too little payoff Make sure you are giving the reader rewards along the way. Crime fiction is not just about how you deliver information, however.
A crime novel may not be particularly action-oriented always, but it still has elements of action and other incidents that build the plot and drive it forward.
Structure is vital to effective pacing in a crime novel. Whether you tend to write detailed outlines, make a few notes ahead of time or write with no outline at all, you will need to think about structure as you work on your story and decide how to pace a crime novel that will satisfy readers.
There are some common pitfalls with placement of narrative incidents to avoid as well: You do, but some writers interpret this as meaning that every novel or scene should begin with chaotic action.
Beginning with a gunshot or a chase scene or something similar is not necessarily a ticket to immediate reader involvement, and can also make what follows feel anticlimactic.
If handled with skill, beginning in the thick of action in medias res can work — you should have a purpose for doing so, at least.
Solving problems too easily It may sound formulaic, but the tried-and-true rule of threes is a valid principle to fall back on to create effective pacing that creates rising tension.
In this story structure, a character makes two unsuccessful attempts followed by a third successful attempt to solve a problem. Revealing the answer too early Be sure that whether your crime story revolves around the identity of the perpetrator or the reason for the crime you do not reveal so much that your reader is able to predict the end easily.
Play fair with your readers, but scatter red herrings as well to keep them guessing. A red herring is a character or story event that seems significant but is only there to distract the reader from the main reveal.
With the above potential pacing pitfalls in mind, you can begin to structure your crime novel around the skillful release of information. What are some of your favourite crime novels that show how to pace a crime novel expertly?
Tell us in the comments below.Feb 20, · It has been part of our nature since the start of the history. Because of that, movies, games, Crime is everywhere and everyday. How to Write True Crime Stories. "I am writing a crime true story that happened in the mid-Sixties.
Tips on writing a crime novel. Thinking of writing a crime novel? Good choice – it’s currently one of the nation’s most popular genres! But, this also means that the competition for publication is fierce.
Oct 02, · How to Write Crime Stories. In this Article: Article Summary Outlining the Plot Writing the Story Community Q&A Like many authors, crime writers sometimes get an itch to break the conventions of the genre and create something unique%(23).
Other less successful, contemporary authors who are still writing have seen reprints of their earlier works, due to current overwhelming popularity of crime fiction texts among audiences.
One example is Val McDermid, whose first book appeared as far back as ; another is Florida -based author Carl Hiaasen, who has been publishing books. 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.
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.