SJ Wardell Blog

Well SJ Wardell agreed to write a quick post on how to write a crime novel. Wardell has written two successful crime novels and will share some of his secrets. So without further ado:


The most common question I find myself being asked is the one that goes, ‘How do you write a crime novel?’

I always begin to think, ‘Wow, where do I begin?’

Like any novel in most genres, and crime is no different, I believe that one must always start with an outline of where their story will start and where it will go – The setting or back drop can also lay an imperative role when plotting any Geographic’s. So setting a firm storyline foundation is the best place to start, for me anyway!

It is also very important to remember that crime does come in many different shapes and sizes, therefore, I suggest that you do a little homework before setting your storyline in stone – You do not want to write a novel that the critics label as, ‘Same as…’

When you feel you are ready to start putting pen to paper, please consider your characterisations – I always advise my students away from building one strong controlling main character, and steer them in the way of having more than one; that way the story and plot(s) does not have to revolve around one particular character, which will help you build up your flow and more importantly, the ease of the read for your audience.

The other piece of advice I can offer, is that you spend time on your research – Even though you are embarking on writing a crime fiction novel; there are readers out there who thrive on this genre, and for them it has to read as realistic as possible, or as close as you can get it. Most crime writers will help and offer advice, so do not be shy, but please remember, we are all busy people.


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