Writing About Crime Scenes

Writing About Crime Scenes

Sep 07, 2021

I am in the process of reading a book called Howdunit to learn how to write crime and police procedure in my novels. This week I learned about processing a crime scene. Some it the info in the chapter I already knew from watching so much Law and Order and CSI (name your city). You pose an interesting question about how we can insert important crime scene details into our writing while not boring the reader.

I had not considered the fact that I might bore my readers “to death. Hmmm, murder by boredom, I wonder if that is a felony? Well, if I was preparing to write a crime scene part to my story, I would first stat by following the recommendation of first checking local code to make ensure regional accuracy. I would also try to stick the standard “universal” homicide investigations basic procedures as they will most likely be standard across the board

Keeping in mind that most homicides that get solved are solved in the first 48 hours and

In most homicides the victim knew the killer, I would follow the 6 steps in the Howdunit book.

1.    Secure the scene

2.    Find eyewitnesses

3.    Photograph the crime scene

4.    Search for latent prints

5.    Gather evidence

6.    Remove body

As I approached this, I would take care to keep things interesting and not do an info dump. I was reading the Church of Dead Girls for next week’s Blog post and wow; the beginning of that book is one big info dump.

To keep things interesting, I would most likely manage the details through character dialogue. I would make the characters interesting, maybe there is conflict there to pull in the reader. Then I would slowly mix in pertinent details that bring the crime scene to life.

At the beginning there could be a couple of officers securing the crime scene with police tape and maybe yelling on someone who is walking where they should not. There might be the need to push the crowd back.

Another office would be in charge of meeting with eyewitnesses and having a conversation with them where they describe what they saw. As that is taking place, another officer of consultant walks by taking pictures of the crime scene. In the background someone is kneeling by a door dusting for prints.

I think that while this is all taking place there could be either playful banter or conflict between the characters or both. This is how I might build this type of scene to keep from info dumping and boring the reader.