Murder 101

Killer Nurse

Yesterday I had the privilege of making a presentation at a first of its kind seminar for writers sponsored by the Northeast Texas Writers Organization (“NETWO”). It was a fun event. The bit was a workshop entitled Murder 101: CSI for Writers.

As you might suspect from the title, the program was designed to introduce authors to some of the technical aspects of criminal investigation and courtroom procedure.

The first presenter was East Texas writer John Foxjohn. John is the author of the book I have listed above, Killer Nurse. That book is in the true crime genre and tells the story of a nurse who according to Foxjohn is the only person known to have killed multiple victims by injecting them with bleach.  The events transpired in Lufkin, Texas, Foxjohn’s home town.

John, the author of fifteen books, is a former homicide detective who took up writing in retirement. He currently is under contract for three more books.

Next up was Detective Travis Prew of the Longview, Texas, police department.  Prew works in the physical evidence lab at LPD and gave us a primer on crime scene processing. He even brought the mobile evidence van and allowed us to look at all the equipment that is required to collect and preserve evidence.

My job was to address the “what happens at the courthouse” part of the equation.

What that means is that I told a bunch of war stories and pretended to know what I was talking about.

The big takeaway I had from the event was John Foxjohn’s advice that writers should not allow themselves to become too bogged down in the technical aspects of criminal investigation. He was quick to point out that it is the story that matters.  Readers don’t care if CSI is realistic.  They just want to see or read a good story.

My suggestion is that other writers groups have similar programs. It is a great way to fire writers’ imaginations and a fun time for fellowship around a day of interesting information. KUDOs to Nancy Hudgins of NETWO who put the deal together.

And thanks to her for allowing me to participate.

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