Sometimes, crime does pay.

Sometimes the darker the narrative, the more juicy the plot, the more fun the crime novel can be.

Writing is hard and finding your way through the words takes an immense amount of time, but with these tips, you might be able to help make your novel more about crime, and less of a punishment.

Make it exciting

The worst crime a writer can commit is to be boring. If a crime novel turns out to be boring there’s a very high chance it is because the writer was bored while penning it. Write what excites you. Do that and that excitement will come across on the page and excite the reader.

Grab the reader and don’t let go

In any story, the opening sentence, paragraph, page or chapter can be vital and crime writing is no exception. Start your story off like a shotgun blast in the middle of the night.

In a crime novel, make the first line set the scene for the rest of the novel and effuse the mystery from the get go.

Have a crime

Seems obvious, but if you are writing a crime novel bad and awful things need to happen. A crime novel without a crime isn’t a crime novel. The bad guy in a story never knows he’s the bad guy. In his story, he’s the good guy. Your protagonist is only as strong as the forces of antagonism they are up against. Give them something to go up against.

 Don’t write likeable characters

It’s more important to have interesting characters than likeable ones. Characters that make mistakes, characters that think fast and think badly, flawed characters are going to power your novel. Make your characters interesting enough, not necessarily likeable, in order to keep your reader turning the page.


A killer ending us just as important as a killer opening. The reader has been good enough to purchase your novel and read it all the way to the final pages so give them an ending with a punch.

Great endings give the reader what they want but not in the way they expect it. It reads easy but it’s not. Think of the ending as a mini three-act structure with twists and turns, reversals, setbacks and new plans. And make the ending count.

We’re massive crime novel fans here at, so if you have a criminally good story in the works, let us know and we can talk through a range of publishing and editing packages with you.