Fiction Writing Made Easy

#75: Crime Genre Conventions

December 06, 2022 Savannah Gilbo Episode 75
Fiction Writing Made Easy
#75: Crime Genre Conventions
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Show Notes

In today's episode, I’m covering the conventions of the crime genre. This includes the character roles, settings, and events that need to be present in a crime story in order for it to work and satisfy fans of the genre. Here’s a preview of what’s included: 

[01:30] Crime stories are all about the quest to either solve or commit a crime. So, these stories start with a crime, build with an investigation (or a completion of the crime), and end with identifying and bringing the criminal to justice (or not).

[05:15] 1. There’s a crime with at least one victim that launches the investigation.

[06:15] 2. The protagonist is intelligent and determined to solve the crime. 

[08:15] 3. There’s an equally smart or crafty antagonist who seems to be a step ahead of the protagonist the whole time.

[09:15] 4. There is a closed circle of suspects, each with a credible motive and a reasonable opportunity to commit the crime.

[10:30] 5. There’s a MacGuffin (or a very specific thing the antagonist wants).

[11:30] 6. A sidekick character who acts as a sounding board for the protagonist.

[12:25] 7. There are clues and red herrings that help (or hurt) the investigation.

[13:40] 8. There’s a ticking clock by which the protagonist must solve the crime.

[14:37] 9. There’s a speech in praise of the antagonist that shows their brilliance.

[15:48] 10. There’s at least one shapeshifter character.

[16:42] Key points and episode recap

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