Tag Archives: crime novel

Crime Novel/Murder Mystery Setting

My work in progress is a crime novel/murder mystery. It is set in both Orlando and at a fictional resort I created that was inspired by my family’s resort near Kissimmee, Florida. I posted this link on my Facebook page (there’s a little thingy you can click on to the right over here if you have not joined that club yet, JSYK), I am posting it here also. My apologies if you feel you are being spammed, but we’re a proud bunch.

If you have not seen this already, you may enjoy. Most of my followers know my family has a nudist resort here in Florida. This article Ted Hadley, my cousin, posted on the website, is a good history of the Cove, although my Aunt Pete gave me a slightly different history. I could add more to the story…like how my hometown reacted when I let the cat out of the bag that Uncle Jim had a nudist resort instead of a Standard Oil Company in Florida. It’s a cool article if you’re into history, comes with photographs. Thanks to my artist friend Dave Winarchik for bringing this to my attention.

Jim Hadley was my mother’s mother’s brother.

Check it out!



Transsexual Crime Scene Ponies and Other Such Stuff


Illustration by Tres Maxwell
Illustration by Tres Maxwell

Chapter Ten and 21006 words. This is my first crime novel.  It is a lot of fun to write. It exercises both wit and intelligence. It is not without challenges though. I decided to list them here. I am open to suggestions BTW.

  1. I am worried that my characters are going to come across as talking heads.  It is difficult to have serious conversations and exchanges of information while at the same time inserting observational clues into the narrative without giving too much away to the reader.
  2. I have a character that is funny, but I don’t really want her to be cheesy or corndoggy, because she is also smart and deep. (She’s probably going to be anyway…that’s just what it is.) She’s a stereotypical character. I can’t help that. It’s who she is. She is inspired by real life people I know.
  3. It is hard to write funny stuff without making fun of people, which is one thing I want to avoid, if possible. (At least not come across as deliberately hurtful.)
  4. Keeping convoluted plot details straight in your head gets tricky.
  5. Balancing action and idleness while keeping up a steady pace that quickly pushes the story forward is more complex than it sounds.

These are my five whines of the day. And it stormed off and on all day, so I didn’t get to swim (that’s my excuse).

Any suggestions? How was your day?

Questions for Readers to Aid With WIP


I have a few quick questions for readers:

How long do you like for your chapters to be?

This is a crime novel that I am putting together.

I am hoping for it to become a series, so the word count per book probably won’t be as long as a stand alone book would be.

I have read some James Patterson, Jonathan and Faye Kellerman recently and find most of the chapters to be short and numerous.

Some of these books have as many as 44 chapters, but still having the same numbers of pages per book as other books with fewer chapters.

Do you like for each chapter to cover just one scene, or do you like two or three scenes in one chapter?

I am using Scrivener for setting up the novel, so scenes are easy to move around.

With my last book, a Historical Fiction/Faction novel, the chapters were very long, 20-30 pages, often with numerous scenes in one chapter, but it covered many years, not just days or weeks. In paperback it has come to 430 pages, 98,000 words. (286 on a reader).

Some people complained that the chapters were too long.

Do you get bored or tired of reading books with long chapters, even if fleurons are used to break up scenes?

Do you feel, as a reader, that shorter chapters are easier to get through?  Do you prefer just one scene per chapter or does it depend on the flow of the story?

This is a new genre for me and genre writing and rules can be very different.

Page counts can be tricky.  The word count per page is typically 350 words.

Word counts for scenes are usually about 1500 to 2000 words (about 5-6 pages).

Some people feel short chapters can be too distracting.

Would you want your chapters to be 2000 words (5-6 pages), or would 6000 words (or would 15-20 pages) work for you?

I am shooting for an 80,000 word count novel.

That would give me just shy of 230 (paperback) pages, maybe a little more.

If it goes as long as 100,000, it would make it roughly 286 pages.

Would you feel like you are getting your money’s worth at 80,000 words or would you want to see at least 100,000?

Any ideas, thoughts, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Need for Objective Eyes: Prologue: Crime Novel


Independence day, 2005

Maria touched the diamond pendant on her chest, adjusted the rear view mirror, and drove to the nearest 7-11. Not wanting to wake the children, she pulled the car far around to the left side of the store in the last parking space next to the dumpster. She would only be a few minutes, they would be fine. She rolled down the windows a crack and locked the doors. The store was having a slow night for a holiday, and there was no one at the gas pumps. When she rounded the corner, the clerk was standing at the front door smoking a cigarette. He opened the door for her, tossed his cigarette away, and came inside.

Maria quickly grabbed the items she needed and made her way to the counter. The clerk rang up her purchase and she left the store holding a big bag full of groceries, a gallon of milk, her purse on her shoulder, and her keys in her hand.

A car had pulled up alongside of the BMW. She made her way not noticing if the car was occupied or not. She stepped between the dumpster and the BMW, and began fumbling to get her key in the door. It was an old Beamer without remote access. She managed to get the door open. Then she heard a kind voice, “Here, let me help you with that.”

“Sure,” she said, half muttering some sort of expression of appreciation as she handed over the carton of milk and the bag. She didn’t notice the gloved hands or think of them as odd in Florida in July. She turned to her car, leaned in, and flung her purse onto the car seat. She started to turn back to retrieve the items from the kind stranger.

She heard the bag tear, the crash of the plastic container, and felt the cold milk hit her bare legs. Startled, she looked around to see the silver blade glinting in the dark of the night as it came up to her chest. Shadowed by the figure, she saw no face. First the pressure, then the sharp pain, someone had her by the right shoulder; the pressure again and again. Oh, the pain! She pushed away against the door; was trapped, and too weak to fight. She wanted to scream, but found herself voiceless. There was no time to think. It happened in a flash. There were too many shadows swirling in her mind. Wanting to fight, she felt her grip tighten on her keys, her nails digging into her flesh, but the pain in her chest was sudden, intense, like a fiery hot coal exploding in her heart. It was blinding, this pain. Crippled by it, her hands relaxed. She dropped the keys. The perpetrator held to her. The scent of sensuous cologne and her own blood filled her nostrils; hard and heavy breathing in her ear. There was heat from the breath on her face, warmth, wet and trickling, now gushing down her abdomen, onto her thighs, and then nothing.



“It’s been pure hell. We’ve been the prime suspects for three years. It was a vulgar crime. The children lay sleeping in the back seat while the criminals abducted, murdered, then urinated on their prey, leaving her dead body on the front seat of the BMW in a pool of blood. Torn grocery bag, busted gallon of milk, loaf of bread, donuts, cereal boxes scattered between the dumpster and the car. It appeared that she had fought them off furiously. Upon the supposed safety of her vehicle, she had attempted to find refuge there in escape. The perpetrators of this crime were brutal, far more hostile in their display of enmity than I could have been. Though, there were tormenting times when I thought myself to have conjured them, to have called them up from deep sub consciousness. Eerie, it was, to see the photos of her sprawled there on the car seat looking so helplessly frail. She was stabbed seven times in the chest. Dreadlocks lay loosely in a right hand that was once so tightly clinched in fight that her own nails marked her palm. Her wedding ring was missing from the left hand. Her purse and cell phone were gone. The diamond pendant she wore around her neck had been taken. There was some talk among authorities that she had been sexually assaulted, as well, but it was such a difficult scene to imagine in the side parking lot of a 7-11 at near midnight. DNA from hair and urine samples taken at the scene matched, but did not match the semen sample, giving rise to the notion of at least two, or more, abductors. None of them were either one of us.”


  1. Does it make you want to read more?
  2. Is it cohesive enough between the actual murder and the suspect’s recollection of the police report information.
  3. Did it leave you with questions?
  4. What do you feel you need to know now?
  5. It is 800 words.  Too long or too short?

Crime Novel WIP Help Needed

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As many of you know, I have had two works in progress, an autobiography of sorts and a crime novel/murder mystery.  I have decided to focus my energies on the later.  My husband reads two to three books a week in this genre, but we have a minor disagreement on how to proceed with the crime drama/murder mystery.  I need your thoughts on this dilemma.  He tells me, of course, the ultimate decision is mine on how to proceed, but I need your feedback, so I will pose the question here.

If and when you read crime fiction/murder mystery, or watch a show on TV like NCIS or Criminal Minds, do you like to know who the bad guy is before the protagonist does, or do you like to wait until they solve the crime and be surprised?

I like helping the good guys figure it out and exploring options in my head.  I don’t like it when authors or movie directors show glimpses of the bad guy in advance.  It spoils the intrigue for me.  It takes away the fun and makes watching the good guys come to the right conclusions less suspenseful.  It removes the element of challenge, which is part of what I like most about such shows and reading.

My husband, who really enjoys both, likes to have some background into the bad guy’s life. He wants to see him set up the crime and see how the good guys work to find out what he already knows.  My husband feels that it does not spoil the read to have the backstory on the bad guy/criminal, but offers insight into his behavior which can lead the protagonist down the right road to making clever decisions.  He says that a lot of his favorite books center around the bad guy’s history.

I am at a point in this writing where I have to make this decision soon.  So, what do you think?  Want to see the bad guy set up the crime, or want to wait and be surprised?