True Crime: Writing In A New Direction

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True Crime

Up to this point, I’ve made my way by writing fiction. Now I have another project brewing and it’s much different than what I am accustomed to.

And that’s okay.

Why Try True Crime?

I’ll be honest: this isn’t something that I planned out. I’ve always enjoyed true crime content, yet I’ve never really considered dipping my toes into the genre as a writer.

What changed? Quite simply, I found a cold case that caught my attention.

I’m not going to give much away here but I found a story that I was wholly unaware of. It’s a cold case that happened almost 3 decades ago in a small town not far from my hometown. The story of how the events unfolded chilled me to the bone.

Granted, that could be said about countless crimes throughout human history. It’s made worse when there are no answers, no known reason for why something horrible occurred.

That is my true impetus for wanting to do this.

The Herman Ingram Collection

So…Why?

True crime is a delicate genre. In fiction, we’re able to create lives and mold them to our whims. That is far from the case when it comes to actual crimes.

I’m researching what happened to real people, people with lives that were cut short, people who left behind family and friends. In this particular case, those loved ones don’t have answers. I can’t begin to imagine how they feel, how one event changed their lives.

What I can do is strive to tell people about the victims, who they were, what they meant to those they left behind. The event in question may have ended their lives but it doesn’t define their lives. I think that is a very important distinction.

I have no interest in sensationalizing a macabre crime and I wouldn’t be able to sleep very well if I thought I had. That said, there are two main goals that I have:

  1. Tell the victims’s stories. I realize that since this crime is decades old, there may be much information that I can’t get but I intend to tell as much as I can verify. There was more to these people’s lives than being victims.
  2. Raise awareness about the crime. Again, this is not to sensationalize. Instead, I would like to bring this case to more people’s attention. Like I said, I had no knowledge of this crime and it occurred relatively close to where I grew up, as well as the city I now live in.
The Devil's Backyard

Where Things Stand

Everything is in the very early stages. I have been gathering information and making notes. I have reached out to a few people, including law enforcement, and am waiting to hear back (if I do).

I did have a good conversation this morning with a journalist who covered the event when it happened. Not only did he provide me with some solid insight but also gave me some avenues to explore.

Still, things are just starting to come together. I am continuing work on my other projects while researching this one. If I am unable to find enough information to share, then I’ll either shelve the project or scale it back.

I don’t want to do either of those things. I want to tell the story the the victims deserve but I won’t compromise for the sake of putting a book out. I wouldn’t do that with my own fiction, let alone something that left lasting impacts on countless lives.

I’ll keep you all updated as things progress. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Until we meet again…

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