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Writing Excuses 12.16: Writing Crime Fiction with Brian Keene

Writing Excuses 12.16: Writing Crime Fiction with Brian Keene


Key Points: Crime fiction is hard to classify. Try bad things happening to people. Crime fiction, like any fiction, is for entertainment. The reader empathizes with characters they should not be empathizing with, and wonders why. Good crime fiction makes you feel uncomfortable. Normal human beings in terrible situations, and how they react, and how you as a reader react. How do you get people to empathize with the wrong people? Remember that they are people, too. Put that character in a very bad situation and see how they react. Research -- talk to people! Tell them "I am an author" and then ask questions. Get the reader to empathize with the character, then write the ending that fits. Be aware that readers have their own expectations, too.

Who shot the sheriff?Collapse )

[Howard] We are past out of time.
[Brian] I'm sorry.
[Howard] No, that's okay.
[Dan] We just loved listening to you and your words here. So, you said you had a writing exercise to throw out our audience?
[Brian] Sure. This week, instead of… Regardless of what genre you're writing, write something different. If you're writing romance, sit down and experiment with horror. If you're writing horror, sit down and experiment with a western. You don't even need to complete the story. But just work on it half an hour every day for this week, and focus on the character. When you're done, see if you can take that character and put it into the genre you're working on. It's a character building exercise.
[Dan] Cool.
[Brian] I think what you'll find is that regardless of genre, what matters are the characters you're crafting.
[Dan] I love it.
[Howard] Outstanding. Brian, thank you again for joining us.
[Brian] Thank you guys.
[Howard] Fair listener, you are out of excuses. Now go write.
[Brian] Go write.
Tags: character, empathy, genre rules, genres, horror

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