The Crime Writers' Association



More tips from readers of Debut Dagger entries.

Remember, each tip is only the view of one individual and, as we all know, individuals disagree. All Debut Dagger entries are read and scored by at least two readers.

  1. Avoid using too many commas, or overly long paragraphs of wordy unnecessary description. It’s an immediate turn off.
  2. Introduce a strong character by the second page, one that has nothing stereotypical about them.
  1. To create really vivid characters, provide the reader with the answer to the following three questions for each major character:
  • What does he/she look like?
  • What made him/her what he/she is today?
  • What makes him/her tick?
  1. Point of view – please don’t head-hop, it drives me nuts!
  1. Make every word count.
  1. Don’t ride a hobby-horse.
  1. There’s an old adage that you should write what you know. Sometimes that’s taken to mean that you should use your own life experiences, but that’s not necessarily so. If there’s a facet of your story that requires research to bring it to life, then hit those books/surf that web/find that someone who knows. But don’t fill your narrative with your new-found knowledge. Be selective and use only what’s needed.
  1. Write what you want to write, and what excites you, because if it doesn’t get your juices flowing, how can you expect the reader to invest?

The CWA Debut Dagger 2018 opens October 2017 and closes 28 Feb 2018.


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