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Author Topic: A few questions about crime writing...  (Read 1159 times)
Useful_Idiot
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« on: December 02, 2008 »

Hi Mark,

First things first, it's really cool you actually take time out of your schedule to answer questions on here, so thanks very much!  I'm attempting to write my first novel at the mo (a crime one, obviously) and have a couple of questions about research if that's ok!

1. Roughly how much research did you do on police procedures for crimes before you wrote Sleepyhead?  I found that the novel definately has the sense of realism, but without forcing unecessary amounts of the procedures down the reader's throat, which is the sort of balance I'm aiming for (if possible!). 

2. Was your research done through contacts/etc, or through book research, or a mixture of both?

3. Do you have to do a lot of research between each book to keep up with updates in procedures, forensic details, etc?

4.  How realistic do you think a story should be in terms of police procedures etc?  Do you think a book would suffer if there was a lack of procedural detail?

Any info you've got would be much appreciated, and thanks again!

S
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Mark
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« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2008 »

Hi Useful,

I did a fair amount of research for the first book, but without knowing any coppers or anything like that. I used the Internet and the Met Press Office and made such a nuisance of myself that they eventually assigned me a detective (who has since become  a good friend). I was a maniac about research for a while, but I have come to learn that it is all about deciding what you NEED to get right and what does not really matter. If something is crucial to the plot then you should make sure it's right or that what you are suggesting is possible. On the other hand I can live with a few emails pointing out that there isn't a branch of Starbucks in Brixton. It's a novel...

I think it's perfectly possible to write about a police officer without going into tons of procedural detail. I found it hugely liberating to move away from that with IN THE DARK and I think that the Thorne books will start to become less procedural as time goes on.

Hope that some of that helps.

Mark
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