Crafting the Crime Novel.

Full Description
By integrating factual crime terms and methods of investigation into a fictional or non-fictional story, students will learn to construct a crime and the subsequent happenings. Suggested reading: “The Writer’s Complete Crime Reference Book,” by Martin Roth. Optional reading: “Anatomy of a Murder,” by Robert Traver; “In Cold Blood,” by Truman Capote; and “The Michigan Murders,” by Edward Keyes.

1. Students will conduct research.
2. Students will learn how to weave factual elements into a good story.
3. Students will display their skills by completing weekly assignments and the first chapter of their novel.

A. Be able to identify elements that need to go into a crime story.
B. Be able to create believable characters.
C. Be able to tell a crime story.
D. Be able to use facts and terminology correctly.
E. Be able to outline their plot.
F. Finish the first chapter of a crime novel.

Week 1
An overview of the crime genre will be given. We will discuss the elements of writing about crime and the differences in writing non-fiction or fictional crime novels. We will talk about the responsibilities of the writer when investigating a real case and how to conduct research and interviews. Hyperlinks will be provided to the student so they can read accounts of crime authors and what their experience has taught them about selecting a crime and working with publishers.

Assignment # 1: The student will conduct an Internet search and select a real crime case that has been solved or unsolved. A synopsis of the crime will be turned in.
Week 2
A discussion of characterization will be discussed. Students will learn how to accurately portray real people without being slapped with a slander suit, and to craft a fictional character. We will discuss the antagonist and protagonist and what drives them.

Assignment # 2: Character descriptions of an antagonist and a protagonist will be turned in.

Week 3
We will discuss the different types of crime including smuggling, arson and drugs. Students will learn about crime and motive, means of escape and acts of violence.

Assignment # 3: Students will write a one-page description of the perfect crime.
Week 4
Criminals will be discussed. We will talk about Modus Operandi, Weapons used by criminals, firearms and manufacturers, and explosives.

Assignment # 4: Students will create a criminal and write a one-page description using Modus Operandi.
Week 5
An overview of how to write about an investigation will be given. We will discuss the fundamentals of the investigation, scene of the crime and sources to investigate. We will talk about the law enforcement personnel that investigate crimes and the differences in them. The discussion will include the differences between a criminalist and a criminalogist and forensics. Agencies that investigate crimes include: police departments, private investigators, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations and Postal Inspection Service, et. al.

Assignment # 5: The student will write a one-page description of an investigator and how he/she conducts him/herself at the initial crime scene. Who does he/she interact with, what facts does he/she commit to memory?
Week 6
A discussion of the courts including the grand jury, courtroom concepts, evidence and the rights of the defendant will be conducted. We will also talk the penal system, rights of convicted felons, parole and capital punishment. A brief overview of legal terminology and crime slang will be given with reference materials for the student to obtain a list.

Assignment # 6: Students will write a one-page courtroom scene.
Week 7
We will put it all together and outline a fictional or non-fictional crime novel. We will discuss plot devices and techniques, sub-plots and how to portray the characters.

Assignment #7: Students will outline their novel.
Week 8
We will discuss the actual writing of the novel. If students agree and have access to MSN Messenger, we can arrange a chat to discuss the elements of each persons outlines.

Assignment # 8: Students will submit the first chapter of their fictional or non-fictional crime novel.

Contact Hours: 4