Writing True Crime

You will have to forgive the lack of blog posts – I am deep into my manuscript – now knowing there is potential of it to be published. I know it will not be as big as the book I orginally imagined; however, a book of any size written is better than no book at all.

In between my writing and relaxing I have been rewatching I’ll Be Gone In The Dark. The tooing and froing between either fiction or non-fiction has been a war that has raged for years. If I told the story of the Crutchy Push fictionalised, than there would be a lot of gaps would be there, also I would need to follow one centeral character. As Valentine Keating would be my main character, you would think that wouldn’t be an issue. The problem with this is that there are a lot of external events that influence the Crutchy Push as a whole – so I wouldn’t be telling the full story.

This leaves me in the position than of telling it as a true crime story. There are of course going to be gaps missing, but I am ok with that. Writing it as a true crime story allows me to do a few things that I cannot do if I wrote it as a fictionalised version.

Photo by C M on Unsplash

The biggest thing with me and now that it is true crime is citing.

This may seem like a little thing, but the ammount of research I have put into tracking these criminals deserves to be regonised. Now that is a little self-grandising but I have gone to lengths to track down the most accurate information related to the gang as I can. I have used my training as a library technician to gather the sources.

So far I have endnotes, a bibliography and a figures page. I am not a trainned academic, but I am aware that I wouldn’t be able to write this book without the sources I have found and used. I know not all books do it, but to me it is good practice. I would want someone to do it for me, if they use my work. It is only right that I do it for the writers, researchers and archivists that came before me.

Quickly I want to explain the structure of how I am writing this, I have drawn inspiration from Michelle’s book. She has sections of the story of the Golden State Killer and interweived are bits and pieces of her obscession in trying to investigate this criminal.

My book is split into three layers:

  1. The Story – This is the story of the Crutchy Push mixed with information that provides context to the story I am telling
  2. Newspaper Articles – Bits of the story are directly told through the newspaper articles that were written at the time
  3. My Story – This layer is where I go into a bit of my story of writing the book, but also it discusses some of the issues surounding the Crutchy Push that need to be looked at more deeply

What I love about I’ll Be Gone In The Dark is apart from her writing, Michelle was able to keep it respectful and able to humanise the topic. Even though this is my first book, I hope that I am able to take a bit of what she had and put it into my writing.

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