Writing about Murder: Really Useful Links by Lucy O’Callaghan

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Lucy O'Callaghan

Lucy O’Callaghan

Murders on TV shows and in movies can feel very real but writing murder scenes in a novel is very different and can be hard to do effectively. It is important to realise that most murderers don’t kill someone because they’re crazy. This does happen sometimes, but it is more likely that a character’s backstory has a huge influence on their actions. A killer’s backstory along with a combination of triggers can create a perfect storm leading to violence.

I have put together some articles and podcasts about how to write about murder effectively.

  1. 10 Tips on How to Write Believable Crime and Murder Scenes | Live Write Thrive

This article is from Gary Rodgers, who spent years working as a homicide investigator and a forensic coroner. He gives the writer great advice on what to keep in mind and has ten top tips for writing believable crime stories.

  1. Understanding The Essentials Of Writing A Murder Mystery (standoutbooks.com)

There are a few cast-iron conditions that authors need to respect when writing about murder. Here it is recommended that you plot backwards. The answer to the mystery needs to feel like realisation, not revelation.

  1. Things About Death, Dying, & Murder Writers Need To Know – Springhole.net

This is a fascinating article about what writers need to know about death, dying, and murder. Topics such as stabbing someone is not as simple as it looks in the movies, and dead bodies are not easy to make vanish, are discussed along with plenty of other things for the writer to consider.

  1. How to Write a Murder Scene | Read to Write Stories

Watching a murder on screen is very real, and it’s harder to create the same feeling when reading about a murder. It’s difficult to replicate the speed of a gunshot or the blind, chaotic feeling of a fight. Here they take a scene and break down what works well. Using simple sentence construction to convey the choreography and keeping the information plain is advised. A writing exercise is given along with four tips to do it well.

  1. Writing a Murder Mystery: 10 Motives for Murder featuring JC Gatlin — What Is That Book About

Motives for murder are explained in this article, including revenge, obsession, and the need to protect personal status.

  1. Murder Mystery: Crafting an Intriguing Puzzle of Justice (storygrid.com)

Your violent character must represent something greater than themselves. What does the murderer represent? What does the protagonist represent? Lots of tips and advice from the story grid about this.

  1. The Making of a Murderer | Psychology Today

This article is very interesting when considering the backstory of your character. What has happened to them in the past that has contributed to them becoming a murderer? What causes a hurt child to become a violent adult?

  1. Murder On… – Listen to All Episodes | Arts & Culture | TuneIn

Murder One is the podcast of Ireland’s international crime writing festival. Best-selling crime writer Sam Blake presents some of the world’s biggest authors talking crime, crime fiction, and true crime.

  1. How to Craft Impactful Character Deaths — Well-Storied.

This podcast encourages the writer to ‘use death as an impactful narrative tool rather than a momentary source of drama.’

Reading deep into this genre will help you immensely as a writer. Listening to true crime podcasts can also help, not only with ideas but with how the crimes played out. I hope this week’s column has been helpful. As always if there are any topics you would like me to cover, please get in touch.

(c) Lucy O’Callaghan

Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31.

Facebook: @LucyCOCallaghan

Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

About the author

Writing since she was a child, Lucy penned her first story with her father called Arthur’s Arm, at the ripe old age of eight. She has been writing ever since. Inspired by her father’s love of the written word and her mother’s encouragement through a constant supply of wonderful stationary, she wrote short stories for her young children, which they subsequently illustrated.
A self-confessed people watcher, stories that happen to real people have always fascinated her and this motivated her move to writing contemporary women’s fiction. Her writing has been described as pacy, human, moving and very real.
Lucy has been part of a local writing group for over ten years and has taken creative writing classes with Paul McVeigh, Jamie O’Connell and Curtis Brown Creative. She truly found her tribe when she joined Writer’s Ink in May 2020. Experienced in beta reading and critiquing, she is currently editing and polishing her debut novel.
Follow her on Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31. Facebook and Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

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