3 Things Authors Need to Know About True Crime Literature
True crime is a popular genre in literature. When readers wish to read suspenseful stories based on real life, they usually turn to true crime literature. In this genre, the authors commonly examine actual crimes and detail the actions of real people when creating their narratives. The most common crimes tackled in true crime stories include drug trafficking, sexual abuse, and murder.
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote is considered to be the first true crime novel ever published. Since its publication in 1965, true crime novels have continuously burgeoned in literary world. The Witness by Wanda Draper is a true crime novel that brings a new dimension to the genre. Its story revolves around the conviction of a murderer and the search for justice. As a Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, its author, Wanda Draper, aims to explain to the readers a different angle that is commonly overlooked in many true crime stories – the role that key circumstances of childhood play in determining adult criminal behavior. Overall, The Witness by Wanda Draper pieces together shards of personal circumstances and critical life events to reveal how the past has a great impact on the future of a person.
If you are an author who wish to write thrilling and remarkable true crime stories like Truman Capote and Wanda Draper, then the rest of this article is especially for you. Below are three of the most important things that authors need to know about true crime literature.
Writing true crime necessitates mental toughness
Writing true crime involves researching and interviewing people who have suffered horribly, seen terrible things, and undergone intense mental breakdowns. These people have been victims of crime – they may have been subjected to violence or may have lost a loved one. Worse, you may even be obliged to talk to actively violent criminals, psychopaths, and other irredeemably unpleasant people to make your narrative unbiased. With all of these things, it is important that you fully know beforehand what you are getting into.
Writing true crime necessitates mental toughness. Because you are dealing with sensitive topics, you need to be mentally strong to be able to finish what you are writing. Meeting with damaged or miserable people and narrating horrifying events can be a heavy task to take upon yourself, so you need to be sure that you are strong enough to handle them.
Truth should not be sacrificed for drama
According to Truman Capote, a true crime novel is a non-fiction novel. This means that even though you are the one who crafted the narrative of your novel, and the parties involved in the actual crime became your characters, you cannot just play around with the truth. Your story needs to be consistent with facts as much as possible.
When writing a true crime story, never sacrifice the truth for drama. Although it can be tempting to add a witness, alter a motive, or change the sequence of the events, doing these things will only hurt the integrity of your story. Remember, you are dealing with real people and real events here. So, distorting your story for the sake of drama can have serious repercussions in the real world. As much as possible, stick to the truth and be an honorable true crime author.
The best true crime stories have a real bearing on the present day
For a true crime story to be worth reading, it should have a real bearing on the present day. This means that your story should be relevant. Do not go around chasing the most lurid story. Instead, aim for a story that is rich and has a lasting impact not just on the literary community, but on the society as a whole. Just like any other genres in literature, the goal of true crime is to inform, educate, and protest. So, when crafting your true crime story, make sure that you have in mind a purpose that is deeper than the mere publication of a book.
In summary, to write a good true crime story like those of Truman Capote and Wanda Draper, you must always keep these things in mind: mental strength, truthfulness, and relevance. True crime is a rich and complex literary genre. Writing a true crime story demands a great amount of time and attention. Nonetheless, the genre is always open to authors who want to delve into the richness and complexity of true crime literature.