After nearly two months of revision on the first third of my second novel, a crime/psychological thriller, I’ve come to an uncomfortable conclusion – that the crime in the story must be particularly shocking in order for  the novel to work.   I’ve tended to shy away from this and resort to more old-fashioned or “otherworldly” plots, but none of those plots have convinced me yet.  I think the first eight chapters as they currently stand read well; my struggles revolve around what happens next.  Future chapters, I feel, will need a back story plot that reflects the seriousness of the issues raised in earlier chapters.


4 thoughts on “Novel Writing and Crime Genre: A Not-So-Nice Plot

  1. Lawrence, you bring up an important consideration, perhaps more so regarding readers’ expectations: the element of shock. I would add the tendency toward brevity as a writing consideration—instant gratification culture. Thoughtful post.

  2. Thanks very much. I’ve found that the new (and more shocking) back story has helped me stay focused and explore other avenues in the plot.

  3. Over the past couple of months I’ve taken to watching reruns of “Criminal Minds” on ION television. It centers around a group of FBI profilers. It’s a fascinating show because instead of using scientific techniques which would mean nothing to me, they use Behavioral Analysis. The criminals they come across are astoundingly demented, deranged, psychopathic, socio-pathic, what have you. And their particular methodology yields an intriguing adversarial scenario. I.E. The more heinous the crime, the greater the effort to catch the killer due to an overwhelming sense of urgency.
    When it comes to crime, DON’T BE NICE!

  4. Thanks, tikiman. “Criminal Minds” sounds fascinating. The profiling bit I still need to get an angle on, but I can more or less picture the crime and the build up in the backstory of my novel.

    Hope your writing is going well.

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