Crime writing

As a crime novel, a thriller first of all belongs to narrative prose like the normal novel. The main difference lies in the topic, because a crime story is about a crime and its enlightenment. Crime is divided into two large groups.

First, there is the classic, analytical thriller

In such thrillers, the crime, which is usually a murder, is placed at the beginning and in the course of history, the crime is reconstructed and the perpetrator determined. The main character in such a thriller usually plays a detective, which is why these thrillers are also referred to as detective novels.

On the other hand, there is the thriller in the broader sense

Into this group belong thrillers in which the reader knows from the beginning who the offender is and how the deed was carried out. In these thrillers are then the crime itself, the education or the background of the act in the center. If an author wants to write his own thriller, he should first deal with the tools for crime literature.

Instructions and tips for writing a crime story

Crime writers usually do not work with a rigid guide, but with some tips and tricks. Ultimately, for the crime writer, that means that he can learn to write the thriller and that the more he deals with it, the easier it will be for him to write.

It is only partially possible to create a general guide for a thriller. But some key points apply to all thrillers and some basic elements are used in many thrillers.

The history

Before the author can start writing his thriller, he first needs a good story. A thriller is characterized by its limited circle of people and the realistic representation of the scene and the course of events. For the author, this results in two consequences. On the one hand, he finds ideas and the stuff for his thriller, however regrettable it may be, often in reality.

Newspapers, magazines, television programs, news and court reports often report in great detail about crimes, their background and perpetrator profiles. In addition, books provide a lot of ideas and suggestions, although not necessarily other thrillers are meant, but especially those books that reveal only at second glance, that they also tell of crime.

As an example, the Bible is mentioned here. The other consequence for the author is that he has to research his thriller. Since a thriller should be as realistic as possible, the author must know what he is actually writing about. This means that he has to find out about the milieu in which his thriller plays, he should know the anatomy of man and acquire knowledge about the methods of investigation and the interrogation tactics of criminology. Of course, the details must also be correct. For example, if the victim is to be poisoned, the author should know what the amount of poison is.

If the idea and all the required information are available, the author should clarify some fundamental questions. First, he should specify what kind of crime thriller he wants to write. In the classic thriller, neither the detective nor the reader knows who the culprit is and do not know the sequence of events yet. This variant makes it a bit easier to maintain the suspense until the end.

The other variant are thrillers, where the offender is known from the beginning. This is not about finding the culprit, but about the background of the crime or the Enlightenment. The tension then arises, for example, by deception maneuvers and the cat and mouse game of the offender with the police. Another important decision is to tell from whose point of view the thriller, whether from the perspective of detective, from the point of view of the perpetrator or from the point of view of an observer.

The elements at the thriller

Once these decisions have been made, the author can resort to some of the essential elements of thriller writing:

Suspense and tension

A mystery thrives on suspense, with the crime thriller distinguishing between two types of tension. Suspense refers to the suspense that is to be maintained from beginning to end, thus causing the thriller to captivate readers and make them read the book full of excitement and curiosity to the end. Tension usually the tension points that are used specifically and temporarily provide for palpitations and goose bumps.

The closed room

A very popular trick in thrillers is the closed room, behind the doors of the crime happens. Since the doors were locked, nobody could actually enter or leave the room, yet the crime has happened. This element is often combined with the fact that it gradually turns out that none the originally suspect comes as a perpetrator in question.


This term describes an action that ends at its peak and leaves the reader with many unanswered questions. Most will know cliffhanger from television series that end in the most exciting moment and thus make the viewer look at the next episode. Cliffhangers are also a popular tool in thrillers to bring suspense to history.

Red herring

This is a distraction maneuver designed to mislead the reader on the wrong track. The reader receives clues that seem to be important in clearing up the crime or finding the culprit. Later, it turns out that they were logically explainable but just wrong tracks. 2019