Writing Believable Crime Thrillers with Sue Coletta

Crime writing is even harder because we need to ensure our stories ring true.

Sue Coletta is a proud member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Kill Zone, an award-winning writing blog where she posts every other Monday. Sue’s a bestselling, award-winning, multi-published crime writer in numerous anthologies and her forensics articles have appeared in InSinC Quarterly. She’s also the communications manager for the Serial Killer Project and Forensic Science, and founder of #ACrimeChat on Twitter.

2019, 2018 & 2017 Award-winner of Feedspot’s Top 100 Crime Blogs on the Net (Murder Blog sits at #5) and 2019 Award-winner of Expertido’s Best Crime Blog, Sue shares crime tips, police jargon, the mind of serial killers, true crime stories, and anything and everything in between at https://www.suecoletta.com. If you search her archives, you’ll find posts from guests that work in law enforcement, forensics, coroner, undercover operatives, firearm experts… crime, crime, and more crime.

For readers, she has the Crime Lover’s Lounge, where members will be the first to know about free giveaways, contests, and have inside access to deleted scenes, when available. As an added bonus, members get to play in the lounge. Your secret code will unlock the virtual door.

BONUS: When you join Sue’s community you’ll receive two killer reads!

Sue lives in northern New Hampshire with her husband, who deals with a crazy crime writer feeding circus peanuts to crows named Poe and Edgar, a squirrel named Shawnee (the Marilyn Monroe of squirrels, with her silky strawberry-blonde tail), and a chipmunk dubbed “Hippy” for his enthusiasm and excited leaps each time he scores a peanut in “Hip, hip, hooray!” fashion.

Sue Coletta

60 Ways to Murder Your Characters

With this handy research guide, no longer will you need to search for ways to murder your characters, or stare at a blank screen while you mull over the character development of your antagonist. Many of the murder methods listed in 60 Ways to Murder Your Characters come with ways you can use them in your novel, short story, or flash fiction.

From the basics, like a shotgun blast to the head to the more creative ways to commit murder on the page, this research guide will help bring your crime scenes alive.

Let’s face it. Being an author isn’t an easy endeavor. Crime writing is even harder because we need to ensure our stories ring true. That’s why I’ve given you the exact measurements for how to dissolve a body in lye or acid, for instance. If I can help your stories ring true, then I consider it a win. Don’t let the preview fool you. There are all kinds of information in this guide.

If you check out my blog, you’ll find endless posts on research, forensics, and police procedures. Let my passion for crime help you. One element of my psychological thriller/mystery, Marred, that readers found the most chilling were the crime scene details and forensics.

Crime Writers Research

Look no further. In Crime Writer’s Research, you’ll find countless hours of research that I’ve compiled into one handy guide to help other crime writers or any author who has a murder, crime, or police procedures in their books. Let my passion for crime lend credibility to your story.

In Crime Writer’s Research, you’ll find information on serial killers, police procedures, a rare never-before-seen interview with a real-life undercover operative, and so much more.

Take a look at the Table of Contents:

Seven Phases of the Serial Killer — This chapter discusses what the serial killer experiences, his inner desires and fantasies.

The Terrifying World of Serial Killers — Unlike the previous chapter, we’ll concentrate of how serial killers are classified by the FBI and how you can use this knowledge to write a more realistic antagonist.

What Happens at The Body Farm? — I’ll take you inside the forbidden place where the dead litters the earth.

Blood, Bodies, and Bugs — In this chapter you’ll learn what happens to the body after death; what affects rate of decomposition; life cycle of blowflies; how to estimate time of death, etc.

What Happens Inside an Autopsy Suite? — Specifically, the careers of individuals who work in an autopsy suite and what their job entails.

Exceptions to Search Warrants — There are exceptions to search warrants, and your detective needs to know what they are, including but not limited to Terry Stops, Exigent Circumstances, Custodial issues, Abandoned Property, etc.

Crime Writers’ Boot Camp: Jurisdiction — In order to investigate a homicide, a detective needs to determine if the crime scene is within his jurisdiction. We concentrate on Subject Matter Jurisdiction, then move on to…

Crime Writers’ Boot Camp: Jurisdiction Part II — Nexus, Territorial Jurisdiction, and more.

Police Procedures: United States vs. Canada — Two detective friends sat down with me to discuss the differences between the US and Canadian police procedures and law.

Why Dogs are Such Fantastic Trackers — Ever wonder how your best buddy can tell when you’ve petted the neighbor’s dog? Now you’ll know why. Plus, learn how to print your dog in case of emergency.

Forensics: Radiocarbon Dating and Skeletal Differences — Forensic breakthroughs and how to tell if a skeleton is male or female.

Psychopaths & the Criminally Insane — Have a psychopathic killer in your story? Read this chapter.

If She Walks Like a Victim — What our body language tells potential attackers.

Candid Interview with an Undercover Operative — Using an alias, this undercover operative comes forward to discuss what happens behind the scenes of a sting. We also cover how he deals with the “theatre of crime,” family life, befriended the suspect, the inner workings of undercover work, etc…

Badass in Heels: Self-Defence Moves — Learn techniques to make your protagonist a badass in heels.

Badass in Heels: Nerve Strikes — No one will mess with your hero if you arm her with these techniques. And if they do, look out!

How Story Structure Relates to Our Lives — A clarifying post about story structure, and an easy way to remember it.

Crime Writer’s Resource — The research doesn’t have to end here. Have a question you wish you could ask a detective or coroner? No problem. This chapter gives you a peek at what you’ll find inside my website’s resource page. For example: When your detective enters a crime scene, what does he do? This chapter gives you the step-by-step procedure.


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