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Friday, June 17, 2016

Forensic Speaks: How to Write Realistic Crime Drama

By Kelly Bridgewater


As an avid suspense writer, I am always having to look ways to kill someone up on-line. What happens when you cut off someone’s arm? Does blood pour out? Does it dribble from the veins? What causes the blood to trickle out? Sounds funny. But as a writer, we all want to write stories that ring true with the readers. I don’t want some police officer or EMT to pick up my books and shake their head in disbelief, leaving a bad review on Amazon stating that I don’t do my research before writing the book.

During the 2014 ACFW conference, Jennifer Dornbush led a Capstone course that took all day to learn new things. She informed me and all the other students a whole bunch of ways to write crime stories that ring true with the audience. I still refer to those notes when I work on a crime scene in my novel.  

From Amazon

 Dornbush wrote a book entitled Forensic Speaks: How to Write Realistic Crime Drama. She gave away three copies during this class, and I was one of the lucky ones to win one. It is a great resource for any suspense writer who wants to make their stories ring true without having to actually go to an actual crime scene and figure out the answers to our questions. I don’t know about you, but approaching an EMT, firefighter, or police officer isn’t something I have done, but I really want people to believe what I have to write.

Her book is sectioned into different chapters like “Chewing the Fat with CSI’s” and “Coroner Chat.” There are also subheadings under these overarching titles like Types of Evidence and Exercises. Dornbush has also taken pictures from CSI, Fargo, and Dexter to prove what she has written on the pages.

This is like a dictionary or thesaurus for crime writers. You don’t really read the book, unless you want to, it is more of a resource guide when you want to show how the dead body looks after it has been beheaded or missing an arm. It informs the writer than the reader how long it takes before rigor mortis kicks in. It’s a great resource for any person who writes suspense or mysteries.

Do you have any other resources like this for historical fiction or contemporary novels? Share so we can start a lively discussion.

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