Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Guest Post: Robin Spano

7 Reasons Why I Write Crime
by Robin Spano

1. Crime is fun to write. I love diving into the action each morning. I can work for hours, because it feels like entertainment.

2. Crime is structured. There are certain rules to writing a good mystery. You have to play fair with the reader, making sure they have all the clues the detective does. You have to introduce the killer early and often, so the audience cares when he or she is unmasked at the end. You have to pepper the scene with red herrings, so the puzzle is satisfying and not obvious to sleuthing readers. For some reason, this simple structure gives me freedom to play: I can make the characters as outrageous as I like, knowing that the structure will rein them back in when required.

3. Crime-solving is a puzzle. I like games. I like the way crafting a mystery twists my mind and challenges my logic skills. It can be frustrating—it’s definitely not easy—but it’s the kind of frustration I like, because it wakes up my brain.

4. Characters are varied. Every crime story needs a hero, a few potential villains, and a cast of supporting characters. To write the story well, I need to get behind the eyes of several different characters—victims’ grieving loved ones, potential killers, and of course the struggling undercover detective. I love throwing myself into all those new shoes—especially trying to figure out why someone otherwise decent would kill.

5. My protagonist can grow over time. Because it’s a series, I don’t have to solve all Clare’s problems in one book. She can be human—solving some issues, getting nowhere with others, and creating new obstacles for herself along the way. I’m excited to see who she grows up to be, and I enjoy her self-destructive party side in the meantime.

6. I can travel. Crime happens all over the world. And I want Clare to see the world. She is very much Canadian, and always will be. But I wouldn’t dream of tying her down to one place—it just isn’t in her character (or mine).

7. Crime is fun to read. Good crime (to me) is fast-paced and enjoyable. It keeps the pages turning and the reader entertained. I don’t have to play to any literary snobs or try to sell the book to critics. Writing crime, I’m writing purely for the reader.


Thank you Robin for an awesome guest post.  You can find more info on Dead Politician Society and Robin Spano over at her website - www.robinspano.com .


  1. I get to be the first commenter. That almost never happens!

    Great fun, Robin. Your reasons are very much my reasons for writing crime/mystery (except that I - and my characters - are older and calmer these days... most of the time, anyway).

    The other cool thing about following your blog tour is that I'm finding a lot of very cool blogs that talk about books in general and/or mystery in particular. I'll always think of you as my local guide to more places than Steveston. :-D

  2. Aren't there some awesome blogs out there? I love Spellbound by Books; every time I'm here I want to stay.

    I have a sneaking feeling, Jayne, that your characters are a lot of fun no matter how calm they are.

  3. The travel part is why I enjoy writing science fiction! To go where no man has gone before...

  4. These are great reasons to write about crime (and murder), Robin. There's one other good reason Diane Mott Davidson mentioned at a mystery conference I attended. Writing about crime gives us the opportunity to kill off (or at least slightly injure) characters modeled after the rude guy at the checkout counter or the nosy neighbor who gives us the third degree every time we go outside. She gave some great examples, too.

  5. Ha ha! Pat, you are dead right!

    Hmm, Alex, that makes sense. And in your case, you get to explore the whole universe...I'm starting to see the appeal in science fiction. Once I've finished your book, I might be a convert.

  6. Robin, your book sounds like a wonderful read. Melissa, this site is gorgeous. I am now following you.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author



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