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Saturday, April 24, 2021

Ann Rule's True Crime Writing Tips

If you want to be a true crime writer, the best thing you can be is immensely curious. And, you should go to criminal trials. Here are tips and etiquette for trial watching.

l. You can usually get a press pass, but there's often a deluge of writers trying to obtain one. Call the prosecutor's assistant.

2. Study the witnesses, watch the jury, and soak up the entire experience.

3. Try to obtain the court documents from the court reporter or the prosecutor, or purchase them.

4. Observe the other reporters in the room, and analyze what they are doing.

5. If you're sitting out in the hall with potential witnesses, don't ask them about anything. Keep our eyes and ears open and your mouth shut.

6. Don't take newspapers into the courtroom.

7. Know what you're getting yourself into. You don't want to start a book unless you're really in love with the story.

8. Absorb detail. When I'm writing a true crime book I want the reader to walk along with me…As far as writing, you can novelize, but keep all of your facts straight.

9. Don't use the real name of a rape or sexual crime victim in your writing.

Ann Rule in "Ann Rule on Breaking Into True Crime," writersdigest.com, by Zachary Petit, July 13, 2012

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