how do I make my detective story credible?

by Steven Tindall
(Lakeside, CA)

Question: How do I write a credible detective story?

I'm stumped on how to write a credible detective story without violating the law of copyright.

Answer: It shouldn't have to be said that you should not violate copyright laws, nor is there any good reason to.

If you want to make your detective story credible, you need to do research.

If you're lucky enough to know some police detectives or private detectives, consider interviewing them for information on current police procedures. Even if you don't know any, phone some up and ask if you can interview them.

There are also plenty of books you can turn to for information on the subject, including textbooks used at police academies. Nonfiction books under the category of true crime may be informative as well. It couldn't hurt to browse through the Criminal Code either.

Depending on your story, you may find other topics that need researching, for instance: firearms, poisons, medical information, criminal psychology and behaviour, forensics, etc.

Writers' Digest publishes a whole catalog of books to help writers, including some specifically geared to mystery and crime fiction writers.

Of course, if you are writing a historical crime novel, you may need to research the history of investigative methods to find out what procedures and resources were available for your period.

The more you know, the more credible your story will be.

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