Boosting Creativity for Writing Crime Thrillers

I thought I’d lighten things up today with a break from crime scenes, serial killers, fiction thrillers, and forensic breakthroughs.  I love to share all of this information.  I forget sometimes that I find all of these things fascinating and maybe it might be a little depressing at times.

So hang in there, I’m switching gears today…

Writing is tough work, but at the same time it’s a bug that I can’t seem to shake.  It gets into your bones and you seem to live, eat and breathe it.  I can’t imagine my life without it even with all of its challenges.  I budget my time for writing projects, clients, and studying crime trends.  Sometimes it’s a difficult life to balance and I find that I need to have some other creative outlets to calm and balance my mind.

I haven’t experienced the infamous and sometimes taboo condition of “writer’s block”, but I have experienced difficulty writing high tension scenes (usually involving serial killers) and the feeling of burn out or exhaustion seems to accompany it.

I’ve managed to put together a list of 5 tasks that help to keep my writing balanced and it actually helps to boost my creativity.  When I return to my writing, I find that I feel refreshed and energized.  My perception has shifted and I begin to see things more objectively and calmly.

Here is my list of creative mind boosters:

    1. Take a walk.

It’s simple.  Easy.  Even if you’ve walked your neighborhood a million times and you think that it’s boring or uneventful.  This time, really look at every detail that surrounds you.  Every plant.  Look at the architecture of your neighbor’s houses: windows, doors, fences, porches, and garages.  Look at the sidewalk or road.  What’s changed?  How does it look at this particular time of day?  Imagine how the road was constructed and who might have worked on the construction.  Run a story through your mind.

    1. Check out your thesaurus.

For me, I find that I like to use similar words when I describe action in my books.  Jot down 10-20 action words that you like to use and then look them up in the thesaurus and make a list of alternative words.  Apply these new versions of your favorite action words into sentences and keep as a handy reference for your projects.

    1. Write down a recent event or dream.

Write freestyle.  Don’t’ worry about grammar or spelling, just go for it.  Write about your trip to the grocery store or friend’s house in as much detail as possible.  Or, write about a dream that seems to stay with you.  Have some fun with this writing task.  Elaborate on your story and use the full extent of your imagination in the process.

    1. Read a book in a completely different genre.

Pick up a book that’s in a genre that you never read – now really go out on a limb here.  If you like mysteries and thrillers, pick up a historical romance, fantasy, or sci-fi book.  Or, if you only read poetry or memoirs, pick up a high-action thriller.  You can always learn something from every book you read and by reading a genre outside your comfort zone you will find some interesting details in the plot and character development.

    1. Take time with a favorite hobby.

Do something completely different and take your mind away from your writing. It’s a great way to exercise your mind and creativity, but gives your writing a break.

Do you feel better and more energized now?


Please join me:



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About jchasenovelist

Published thriller author, criminologist, and blogger.
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8 Responses to Boosting Creativity for Writing Crime Thrillers

  1. Caleb Pirtle says:

    I have read a lot of good advice in my time. Yours is the best. You have provided common sense living and writing for any author.


  2. donnagalanti says:

    Great tips! A walk always works for me. I also use this tip I learned in James Scott Bell’s workshop on Novel Structure. Open up the dictionary, pick first word you see and try to write a paragraph with that word involving a character. Never know what may come of it! Like brainstorming with a prompt.


  3. Stacy Green says:

    This is some great advice. Free styling with a pen and paper really works well for me when I’m struggling. I should read in a different genre – I know I would benefit from it. But I’ve got so many suspense and thrillers I want to read I can’t seem to find the time. Thanks so much!


  4. I agree that pushing back can be enlightening. Since I write instead of talking to a shrink, I found that changing style, or approach, gives me a new avenue to explore. My last mystery was written in the first person which gave me a lot of leverage with the protagonists thoughts. I’m always concerned about harsh language, not wanting to upset too many readers, or tarnish my image. I think that fiction needs to be real and when harsh language and taboo words are necessary, I use them, though sometimes reluctantly.


  5. Great tips and reminders, Jennifer. Taking breaks, particularly to exercise, get fresh air—and fresh perspective—helps my creative juices tremendously.


  6. Frank Verde says:

    I prefer No. 1, Take a walk and No. 4, Read a book in a completely different genre. I’ve found that nothing works better for me than exercise, especially playing a game of raquetball or full-court basketball. Whatever works, right?


  7. Pingback: Top Picks Thursday 04-12-2012 « The Author Chronicles

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