Why we read crime fiction
We are curious creatures. The dark side fascinates us. We love to listen to secrets. We like uncovering lies. But more than that, we want to find out how, and why, we act the way we do.
Real life is a strange shade of grey - at best. Sometimes it’s comforting to read a story that’s black and white. In crime fiction, the protagonist is often admirable and heroic, and it’s easy for us to dislike the antagonist who has committed a crime. Unlike real life, justice is often served in crime stories because the genre (mostly) promises a good ending for the hero. We read crime to feel that the world is a safe place and that villains get caught in the end. These stories are cathartic for us. We do not get tired of them.
by Tom Gauld
Five Reasons to Write Crime Fiction
- Crime fiction is one of the few genres that crosses gender. Publishers like to reach the broadest audience possible.
- Crime fiction accounts for more than 40% of all fiction books sales. (Source)
- It’s lucrative and it’s easily translated into film and television. Did you know that Thomas Harris was paid $10 million for the film rights toHannibal before the book was even published?
- If you establish a name for yourself, you will have a loyal following of readers who want more of the same.
- Most importantly, you should write in this genre because you love reading crime fiction.
Crime fiction includes police procedurals, legal thrillers, medical thrillers, spy novels, caper stories, mysteries, private investigator tales, psychological thrillers, forensic thrillers, suspense novels, and parodies. (Find out more about Sub-Genres in Crime Fiction.)
Who writes crime fiction?
Many of the best-selling novelists of our time write crime fiction. Think of Tess Gerritsen, John Grisham, Dennis Lehane, Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell, Lee Child, John Connolly, Gillian Flynn, David Baldacci, Jeffery Deaver, Michael Connelly, Janet Evanovich, Stephen Leather, Kathy Reichs, and Patricia Cornwell.
How do you write crime?
14-17 October 2013 (Four Consecutive Weekday Mornings) in Johannesburg
2,9,16,23 November 2013 (Four Consecutive Saturday Mornings) in Johannesburg
2-5 December 2013 (Four Consecutive Weekday Mornings) in Johannesburg (and Cape Town)
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© Amanda Patterson
Amanda is the founder of Writers Write. Her signature course, Writers Write, specializes in the teaching of fiction writing.
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