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Coming Soon: Crime Conference with a Bang

May 18, 2014

By Chris Coad Taylor

Crime is powerful, it’s riveting, and it’s intense. No matter what genre, if the author adds the smallest reference to a crime, it is an attention grabber, a conflict builder.

Whether you write hard-boiled detective novels, or suspense and psychological thriller/romance like I do, you must remember the devil is in the details when writing about crime. Readers expect the author to know everything and relay the details accurately.

If you write romance, sci fi, or a mainstream fiction, and insert a crime somewhere in your story you are not exempt from having to be accurate.

If the author doesn’t understand crime investigation and police procedures, errors can occur in the writing and your readers will spot them and stop reading. Readers expect truth even in fiction.  Today’s reading audience is intelligent and knowledgeable and they will not tolerate mistakes.

So, what can novelists do to guarantee what they write is accurate? Going to mystery writing conferences can help. However, as great as they are, the presenters are usually a mix of mystery writers and some crime fighting professionals. I’ve left these conferences excited with the knowledge that I’ve gained but frustrated there wasn’t more crime investigation teaching. I wanted more intense contact with the crime professionals who work in the trenches.

We’ve all heard the saying, “write what you know.” How can you follow that rule when writing about a crime or murder? Unless you are retired from a career of crime fighting, you don’t have the knowledge.

In 2013, I contacted the FWA president, Chrissy Jackson, to discuss a vision I had for a unique and different type of mini-conference. One that would focus on crime details for authors of any genre, who wanted to write about a crime, or crime investigation, or add a crime scene into their novel writing.

My concept for the conference was simple: One room for authors to come and learn from a group of professional crime specialists for a full-day conference. The audience would be authors seeking the “real” facts from the people who work or have worked in the field. For a small price, all the attendees would be seated in a large classroom setting to listen and learn from all of the presenters.

A conference like this would give information to determine the truth from the myths about things like proper procedures of evidence collection or finger printing and lab capabilities. A whole day of knowledge to soak up! How great would that be?

I know authors don’t want to write the mythical, Hollywood versions of a crime. Serious authors want to write truthfully. Especially in fiction, it has to be believable or you lose your readers. This is where the devil “is” in the details. Detectives, crime scene investigators, blood spatter experts; they’re the people who know the real truth.

My vision started the journey and in the spirit of FWA’s motto Writers Helping Writers, and with the help of Chrissy Jackson, Chris Coward, and a great team of people, we organized Get the Crime Right mini-conference.

On June 7 at the Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore, the one-day, FWA mini-conference will meet. Writers will assemble to learn the details, which are needed to write accurately from professionals who have worked in all aspects of crime investigation. This is your chance to get the right information and the “real” details. After attending, Get the Crime Right, you will be armed with valuable firsthand information that you cannot get by just using Google search.

So, mark your calendars and go to the website and register. Space is limited, so don’t wait. Register now. Hope to see you there.

Taylor, Chris Coad compressed

Chris Coad Taylor is an author, artist, and publisher. She is the owner of JoHazel Publishing company in Land O Lakes, Florida.

JoHazel Publishing is a fee-paid publisher that offers full publishing packages, as well as, ala carté professional services such as book cover design, formatting, interior design to name only a few of the services available.

Taylor heads the design department and is the production manager of the video department, which produces promotional video trailers.

One Comment
  1. May 18, 2014 3:34 pm

    This is exactly what I need. Unfortunately the date and location doesn’t work for me. Any plans for a northeast location for this mini-conference? Claudia

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