20 Things A Crime And A Novel Have In Common

20 Things A Crime And A Novel Have In Common


Writers Write is your one-stop writing resource. This post is about 20 things a crime and a novel have in common.

I have written a few posts on Crime Writing, from All About Writing Crime Fiction – Five Reasons to Write Crime – to 10 Deadly Poisons – a crime writer’s resource, to The Human Body After Death.

When we read about a crime, or hear about one, we can’t wait to find out the details. We are obsessed with people’s motives. We are vicarious detectives who take a serious interest in the motivation, execution, and solution of crimes.

This got me thinking about how similar solving a crime is to writing a novel. I think authors are all amateur sleuths at heart. There is a reason that you can plot a novel and ‘plot’ a murder.

Why writing a novel is like solving a crime

You need:

  1. A motive (beginning)
  2. A crime (inciting moment)
  3. A crime scene (setting)
  4. A criminal (antagonist)
  5. A victim (love interest)
  6. A detective (protagonist)
  7. A profiler (genre)
  8. A sidekick (sidekick) or friend (confidant)
  9. Desire for justice (story goal)
  10. Suspects (characters and body language)
  11. Witnesses (back story)
  12. Forensics (description)
  13. Investigative skills (plotting)
  14. The means and opportunity (conflict)
  15. Clues (plot points)
  16. Red herrings (red herrings)
  17. Evidence (exposition)
  18. A confession (ending)
  19. Justice (denouement)
  20. A lesson (theme)

Can you think of any others? Please share them in the comments section below.

TOP TIP: If you want to learn how to write a book, sign up for our online course.

by Amanda Patterson

© Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. Seven Important Crime-Writing Guidelines
  2. Crime Writing for Beginners – An Infographic
  3. Five Fabulous Tips for First Time Crime Writers
  4. Nine Examples of Sub-Genres in Crime Fiction