Category: True Crime

Conflict, Suspense, Terror: When Is Too Much Too Much?

Almost the first thing a budding writer learns is the importance of conflict—internal, external, situational, relational. Conflict is what creates story. As Donald Maass famously says, “The cat sat on the mat” isn’t a story. “The cat sat on the dog’s mat” is a story. Suspense is created when the outcome of conflict is unknown or delayed. This is a gross simplification, of course, but if the tension on the page isn’t felt by the reader, the conflict falls flat. Suspense taken to the extreme creates terror. I read once that out of all the living creatures on earth, human beings are the only ones who like to scare themselves. We pay money to watch horror films and buy books that scare the living daylights out of us. If you need an example, check out Emilya Naymark’s recent blog on påskekrim , Norway’s obsession with reading crime novels at Eastertime. But when is too much too much? Some years ago I discovered a thriller writer who will remain anonymous (well known, very skilled) and began reading her series featuring a female medical examiner. I knew I was reading scary stuff about violent crime and serial killers, but the writing was […]

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Påskekrim (Easter Crime)

Now here’s a tradition I can stand behind! Apparently everyone in Norway goes over to the dark side the week leading up to Easter and reads massive amounts of crime and true crime, as well as watching every possible crime show.

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Poisoned Beauty

Women have been poisoning themselves in the name of beauty for thousands of years. From deadly nightshade to lead, here are a few beauty tips from the past (that should stay in the past)

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It’s A True Story, I Swear

The acronym BOATS stands for Based on a True Story

What real-life story would you like to see fictionalized on page or screen? Maybe a story inspired by a weird fact? History? The odd guy who lives down the street? The woman three doors down who only leaves the house on Thursdays?

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The Mighty Pen

A couple of years ago, back when we could do such things, I went to see a band at a Brooklyn nightspot. In performing what I thought would be a cursory rummage through my bag, the bouncers found my pens. All two dozen or so of them.

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