3 Common Forensics Fiction Writing Errors

27 Feb

My guest today is Brooklyn White from The Forensic Science Technician: Online School Guide with some thoughts on common errors writers make when employing forensics in their stories. Brooklyn, thanks for your insights.

3 Common Forensics Fiction Writing Errors

There’s nothing better than a racy crime thriller on a rainy day (or in keeping with the recent weather, a snowy day) to keep you company; combined with the pleasure of a few hot mugs of apple cider, it’s bliss to have nothing else to do but turn the pages of your book and revel in the story as it unfolds and reveals the killer as the end nears. But if there’s one thing that spoils my mood and ruins the day, it’s to find that the book is not my cup of tea because it contains the following of my pet peeves:

Too much detail: Ever wonder why television series that feature forensics based crime stories work so well? It’s because they gloss over unnecessary details, especially those that are too scientific and hard for the layman to understand. Even if they need to include a few details, they explain it in plain terms through a person on the team who is not a science person – like Booth on the television series Bones. But unlike on television, there is no middleman to translate geek-speak to common terms in books. So detail becomes dreary and slows down the pace of the story.

Too complicated plots: Most readers of crime novels are basically looking for a simple whodunit with villains and heroes coupled with forensic science as an interesting tool that helps uncover the MO and subsequently the perpetrator of the crime. When you throw in too many twists and turns that complicate the plot and also fail to explain a few of them or leave loose ends without tying them up, you’ve lost your reader. They may be forced to get through this book, but they’re definitely not repeating their mistake and buying any more of your work.

Repetitive plots: And finally, opening a new novel only to realize within a few pages that the plot or characters are similar to other works of the author is one of the worst disappointments for an avid crime reader. Writers must make the effort to mix it up, change their usual formulae, and capture the attention of the reader with the story rather than resorting to cheap gimmicks or riding on the success of their previous best-seller.

Forensics crime fiction that has these errors will not be well received because fans and casual readers expect pace, suspense and innovation in every novel they read, and too much attention to unnecessary detail, too complicated plots and the same old storyline are definite speed breakers that end up ruining any good thriller.

This guest post is contributed by Brooklyn White, who writes on the topic of Forensic Science Technician Schools. She can be reached at


Posted by on February 27, 2010 in Forensic Psychiatry, Writing


4 responses to “3 Common Forensics Fiction Writing Errors

  1. L. Dean Murphy

    February 27, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Brooklyn: Thank you for reminding us that while a drive along old mountain roads allows us to see more individual trees, the forest is not visible. The uninspired geodesic of an interstate highway allows us to see both. Do you really own that bridge in New York?


  2. wagrobanite

    February 27, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Now for me? I like complicated plots because I tend to figure things out quickly so if it’s complicated it’s good


  3. G.M. Malliet

    February 28, 2010 at 10:01 am

    This is perhaps why the old-fashioned mystery has its adherents. I don’t particularly want the details unless they are spoon-fed to me in small doses and *unless they forward the plot.*


  4. Cher'ley

    March 5, 2010 at 5:49 am

    Thanks for this information. I’m always interested in what can improve a novel.



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