|Not su much whodunnit as whereisit?|
Last week I shared my decision to switch genre — not, in fact, a particularly difficult thing to do, given that the writing of one type of novel shares very many of the requirements of another. Of course there are differences in the formula and the readers’ expectations, but the similarities are greater. If you ca create plausible characters, if you can structure plot, if you can rack up the tension and produce a satisfactory ending…it doesn’t really matter what genre you write in.
As I’ve said before I do read a lot of crime, although I avoid anything too grim and gory. And writing romantic suspense requires many of the key elements of any crime novel. With this in mind my research into crime writing of this week was a refresher rather than going in cold. Much of it is things I knew but had never thought about — such as what, exactly, constitutes a crime novel. And, under the definition that the genre encompasses everything that revolves around a crime, I’ve already written three.
One thing that did strike me is that there seems to be a split in the how-to-write-crime ranks. One camp champion the plot as the driver of the novel, with its twists and its turns and increasingly desperate (it seems to me) ways to kill someone. The second focuses on the characters of hero and villain, especially in longer series of novels.
Anyone who’s read one of my books will know exactly which is my dog in this fight. It’s character for me, all the way. The limitation of the romance genre was that the relationships between the two main protagonists have to be tied up at the end of the book, and moving into a different genre frees me from this. This allows me to plan a series of relationships which extend over several books, and which aren’t required to have that element of romantic love. Friendships can wax and wane, professional partnerships forged and fractured, in a realistic time frame.
I’ve begun with my two main characters and I know how their relationship will develop over what I hope will be the first three books in the series. And I’ve decided where to set my books. I’ll tell you that next week — but in the meantime, in true detective tradition, I’ll offer you just a tiny clue with the picture.