Thursday, 19 January 2017

Different types of crime novels and settings

There are many different types of crime novels ranging from gritty gruesome, cozy comfortable to cops, robbers and gangsters, racy, action-packed thrillers, historical or contemporary crime novels, detective or private eye and many more variations in between.


Then there is the setting: the city, the sea, countryside, mountains, home or abroad. There is plenty of scope to work with and the type of crime novel you decide to write is often linked to the type of crime novel you like to read.

I write what have been termed as 'police procedurals' or 'detective novels' featuring my flawed and rugged detective Andy Horton. But I also write thrillers, In Cold Daylight and In For The Kill, and a variation on a 'private-eye' style crime novel but with lots of action in a new series featuring former Royal Marine commando, Art Marvik, introduced in Silent Running  Marvik has his second outing in Dangerous Cargo and I have written the third in the series. With Marvik I wanted a character who was not bound by the official rules of the law, like my detective, Andy Horton, but who was nevertheless on the right side of it and who goes out to solve complex crimes and catch ruthless killers.

Silent  Running also had to have all the hallmarks of my brand – a troubled  hero, the sea, boats, interesting and diverse characters and lots of action.  There are now twelve published in the Andy Horton series  set in the Solent area, with number thirteen Lethal Waves being published by Severn House in the UK in February 2017 and in the USA on 1 June 2017.

My crime novels have contemporary settings and are set around the sea. The Andy Horton crime novels are set in the Solent area and the Art Marvik novels along the South Coast of England. 

So here are a couple of pointers to help you get started or hopefully provide you with more guidance on writing a crime novel.

1. Choose your location/s - it can be real or fictitious but it must have atmosphere.


Listen and watch the video on choosing a location and the journey to becoming a published crime writer.

2. Choose your type of crime story - detective, thriller, private eye (you might find that as you write your type begins to choose you!)


I believe that you should write what you are enthusiastic about because it will show in your writing, and even if you don't have first hand experience of what you are writing then you will be keen to research it.  Read more on choosing what to write



 
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Also available as an ebook and on Amazon Kindle, Kobo and for loan from UK, USA, Irish and Commonwealth libraries

Thursday, 12 January 2017

What makes the crime genre so popular

Crime fiction is one of the best selling genres and the most borrowed from public libraries. So what is it that makes crime fiction so popular?  Well apart from being a cracking good read, in crime fiction we know that, generally speaking, justice will be done and the case will be resolved and that doesn’t always happen in real life.

In crime fiction the villain either gets caught or gets his/her comeuppance but in real life the evil and manipulative, the guilty can get away with it as in the case of the unsolved murder in my own family in 1959 that of my great aunt, Martha Giles.

Crime fiction can give us a resolution. It can also give us an insight into what makes people tick.

One of the reasons I believe crime fiction is popular is because people are fascinated by human behaviour. Sometimes we are warmed by the actions of others and at other times horrified and appalled by it.  I am interested in personalities, behaviour and motivation. What is it that makes people do the things they do? 

I also enjoy a puzzle to solve, a crime to investigate and a mystery to unravel  and that's what I enjoy writing.  I also like plenty of action and tension.

When reading a crime novel I like to pit my wits against the protagonist or the detective and see if I can solve the crime before he or she can. When writing my own police procedural crime novels featuring the rugged and flawed detective, Andy Horton I often don't know who did it, why, where or when  until I am writing the novel. As the characters begin to develop and their personalities and motivations become clearer then I begin to unravel the crime.

The same goes for my new series hero, Art Marvik. a former Royal Marine Commando, who becomes attached to work undercover for the UK's National Intelligence Marine Squad (NIMS).

Crime fiction covers so many facets of human nature.  The same for true crime. It’s a kind of voyeurism, the ghoul factor that causes people to stand and gawp at an accident or incident. Me though, I’m a real coward. I run a mile from reading true crime. Give me crime fiction any day where I can see that justice is served and my heroes triumphs!



Visit Pauline Rowson's website for more 


Where to buy

Pauline Rowson's books USA

Pauline Rowson's books UK

From your local bookshop

Also available as an ebook and on Amazon Kindle, Kobo and for loan from UK, USA, Irish and Commonwealth libraries

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

How to write fiction

When it comes to writing fiction it is often said that you should write what you know, but I don't agree.  I believe that you should write what you are enthusiastic about because it will show in your writing, and even if you don't have first hand experience of what you are writing about then you will be keen to research it.

I find researching for my detective Andy Horton crime novels and the Art Marvik Marine Mystery crime series fascinating including all the forensic bits! I also believe in writing the kind of novel you like to read because not only will you enjoy the experience but again it will be apparent in your writing.

When you embark on a writing career it is not always obvious what you want to write. Some people begin with short stories, others throw themselves into a novel. But just as in painting when it takes the artist time to find his or her style so too is it the same for the writer.  This often happens by trial, error and experimentation.

When I first started writing I began with writing historical sagas. Over time I found that a criminal element kept creeping into these sagas and I also discovered that I preferred to write from the male point of view. It was a while before it dawned on me that I should be writing crime novels with a male protagonist. It should have been pretty obvious because I have devoured crime and thriller novels for years and am a great crime fiction fan. But that time spent writing wasn't wasted, I learnt a lot along the way.

The key to finding what you want to write about is simple, write and experiment, but most of all enjoy it.


 
Visit Pauline Rowson's website for more


Where to buy

 Pauline Rowson's books USA

 Pauline Rowson's books UK

From your local bookshop

Also available as an ebook and on Amazon Kindle, Kobo and for loan from UK, USA, Irish and Commonwealth libraries

Monday, 2 January 2017

What comes first plot or character?

The answer is that the two are so interlinked it is difficult to say what comes first.  The characters drive the plot but in order to create the characters you must have an idea what the plot is about.

In my case, in respect of the Andy Horton mystery series of novels, this is usually a location and a victim, and along with that I will have a theme that I wish the crime novel to explore. Once I have this I then begin to create and develop the key characters, outside that is of my regular characters who appear in the police procedural novels featuring my flawed and ruged detective, Andy Horton.

I start developing my characters using spider grams. I draw a circle and put each character in the centre of that circle and then I throw out lines and ask a series of ‘open’questions about each of them.

For example, if I have the victim in the circle I ask questions such as who is he? How did he get where he is? Why would someone want to kill him? Who killed him? How was he killed? What’s his background, family, education, experience? What’s his occupation? How old is he? Where does he live? What’s his personality? What does he look like? What has shaped him? How are the victim’s family, friends and others going to react? How do they see this character? What’s my main character (in my case my detective, Andy Horton) going to do next?

I draw up character profiles for each of the main and secondary characters, some might be sketchier than others. But that doesn't matter because once I start putting dialogue into their mouths and have them walking around and interacting with people they come alive and I can then begin to flesh out their characteristics and motivations. I can add to my notes and my storyboard/plotline  as the characters’ actions start to drive the plot.

The surprises, twists and turns all spring from the characters' motivations and as I write I find ideas occurring to me that I hadn’t previously considered. I sometimes also discover that someone I thought was going to be a minor character turns out to be much more interesting and a major character can become boring and sometimes unnecessary, if that happens then I cut him or her out.


As I write I ask myself what will this character do in this situation. What will he/she do next? I throw out more lines around that spider gram. I continually ask questions about each character and answer them as the novel progresses. I shape and reshape them. I put them in difficult or unusual situations, and as I do the story unfolds and the tension builds.

 Read more articles on Pauline Rowson's wesbite



How to write a crime novel - turning overheard conversations into compelling novels



 

Visit Pauline Rowson's website for more


Where to buy

Pauline Rowson's books USA

Pauline Rowson's books UK

From your local bookshop

Also available as an ebook and on Amazon Kindle, Kobo and for loan from UK, USA, Irish and Commonwealth libraries