Forensic and Technology Tips for Authors

I had the pleasure of attending a forensic and technology panel at Bouchercon 2015 with Neal Griffin, Kathy Reichs, Anne Hillerman, Ryan Quinn, and Alex Letrau. Here are some of the tips they offered to help writers make their mysteries and thrillers more plausible.

1. Even with all the science and technology, you still need the dogged persistence of a good investigator. Make your detective strong with good instincts.

2. The creation of databases for forensic information has been an extremely effective tool for crime solvers. These vast databases provide samples for comparison for investigators. Without the comparison, the technology isn't viable.

3. Weaponizing contagions is not as easy as it is portrayed on TV and in movies. It is very difficult and expensive, and most portrayals are more fantasy/science fiction rather than reality.

4. If you are writing about the world of espionage, the WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden information provide a lot of critical details about the spyworld. And all the information is available on the Internet.

5. Make your stories plausible. You need to get the facts right for your readers to believe in your work.

6. Do your research, but you do not need to put every little, scientific detail in your writing. Keep it fun and interesting.

 l-r: Ryan Quinn, Anne Hillerman, Alex Letrau, Kathy Reichs, and Neal Griffin

l-r: Ryan Quinn, Anne Hillerman, Alex Letrau, Kathy Reichs, and Neal Griffin