Crime writing is no different than any other writing. Sure, you need a good mystery, a lot of tension; life and death situations, high stakes that keep readers turning the pages, and more, but in the end, it is — as any other writing genre is — all about characters.

You have to think up interesting, realistic characters. Create heroes, create co-protagonists and opponents. Give them lives, pain, aches. Make them people like you and me, with qualities – yes, but with flaws too. It’s important not to make them perfect. And then it’s all about getting your audience to care about them. Making sure that readers will connect with them. That is what will make them turn the page and keep reading.

Your story — whether it’s a war story with star-crossed lovers at its centre, or the amazing journey of a space-shuttle crew heading out to Mars — is just a channel for your characters to accomplish their emotional journey. Think of where they were and where you want them to be by the end of the story. Then find things to throw in their path, and indicators to help them know where to turn, and more things to throw in their path, and, slowly, build a story around their journey.

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