Hello, I'm Jason Instrell, the author of Mist- Path of a Killer, the first in a series of crime books based on DI John Miste – a Leicestershire detective. This is my first crime book, however I've been writing for a number of years, but mainly just in my spare time as a hobby. For me, writing a good crime book is about being true to the person you’re writing it about. I never thought that I would be able to do this, but once I started, I couldn't stop. I was once told, if you wake up in the morning and all you think about is writing, you’re a writer. Follow your heart…
Here are my Top 10 Tips for writing a crime series:
Use knowledge of the area that you live in to create a working zone during your preparation. Not all writers do this, but I feel that it works well for me.
Planning is key. I always tend to have the starting point and the ending – I then slowly develop the middle of the book. In this case, I had book two already in my mind.
Have the lead characters ready, if you have these you’re half way there.
Don't force the story; just let your mind slowly roll with it.
Don't base the plotline on any other books; instead use your own mind to create the story. I never base my writing on anyone else's work. I start with a blank page and my notebook, and I play the story in my mind and basically write what I see. For me, I write using images that I see in my head.
Do plenty of research! With crime books, it helps to study how the police operate and how criminals behave. Watch documentaries on killers and their behaviours. This worked for me and I enjoy this type of writing because it's more in-depth and you can keep it close to the truth.
I base my writing on fact and fiction, blending both together to create the story. I am inspired by parts of my life and my local setting, mixed with good old fiction.
Try to be as descriptive as possible. You want to make the reader feel every word. I wanted to achieve this, and I hope I have.
Most importantly, have a good imagination; this always helped me. Don't give up on an idea. Sometimes I can write and not know where the plot will take me, but this starts to develop as my mind gets into the story.
Where does the lead character name come from? This is a key question and it can develop from anything you feel suits the image of the person you have. I wanted a strong lead name and “John Miste” came before the name of the book; as crazy as it sounds this name just came to me and I rolled with it. Sometimes if an idea sounds crazy, roll with it. Your first idea is always the best! I then used his name for the book but dropped the "e" at the end, so it's Mist as in Fog, which is how a crime can be. But, it still links to John.
I hope this helps you all, good look with all your future writing. If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything. The world is full of inspirational ideas!