There are quite a few crime scenes in the fourth book of my (unpublished) series, but even though all crime scenes are different, writing about them requires the same elements every time.
Sight: The most powerful element of a crime scene is what it looks like. Describe the detective’s first steps onto the crime scene starting at the crime scene tape. Is the crime scene in an alley, a hotel room, a house? What does the detective see first? A dumpster, a shattered lamp, a jimmied lock? Imagine that you are walking through the crime scene yourself and you’re seeing everything with your eyes.
Then when your protagonist is in the middle of the crime scene, all eyes are on the victim. Before you begin describing the scene around the victim, tell us what he/she looks like. This can start with their hair color, their clothes, the position they are in, and finally, the wounds on their body. You will have to know all of these details beforehand, so it is best to write out a profile for the victim to help you create a full description, and to make sure you don’t leave a single detail out.
|This picture is NOT real! I am using it for visual purposes|
to show wounds a victim can have. Also, to raise
awareness for domestic violence.
Finally, you get to dig into the crime scene. Along with knowing the victim before you write, you will also need to know how they died, even if you keep a few secrets. The method of murder most likely will affect the crime scene. For instance, if the victim was shot, there will be bullet casings, blood splatters, and maybe a bullet embedded in a wall or a piece of furniture. Does the suspect leave a message? Was the room/house destroyed? Describe everything, because a crime scene is 360 degrees!
Smell: What the detective smells is also very important, and crime scenes can be especially stinky. Does he/she smell decay, chemicals, gunpowder, or smoke?
Feel: The detective’s thoughts and instincts are very important. Reveal them! Also in the category of feel is the real sense of touch. Does the detective have to touch something? Describe the sensation, but make sure they are wearing gloves!
Hear: Sometimes a crime scene is silent, other times there can be hysterical loved ones, barking dogs, sirens, and/or a television tuned to a talk show.
Taste: I honestly don’t know of a crime scene where a detective will have to actually taste something, but fumes can settle on the tongue.
After you follow your detective through the crime scene, follow them out of it and into their steps to solve the case.
TIP: Watch movies and crime shows for ideas.
SHARE: Your tips to writing a crime scene.