When you sit down to write a crime novel, you may have a good crime idea in mind. You know what you want your Main Character to deal with and you want your villain to be a scary one. You have the general outline complete and you are ready to start typing away at the keyboard. But, there's a chance that your readers may not like your book, simply because of your characters. It's possible that they will be turned off by your whole novel because they simply can't connect with the people you are writing about.

Of course, crime writing is all about the suspense of the crime and the mystery over who did it and why, but there has to be something at stake.

There has to be someone who loses something or someone who is affected by the crime. If your readers don't have a sense of connection with your characters, then your story doesn't matter. It won't have the emotional impact you may be hoping for.

No one is perfect

The reality is that horror and crime writing comes down to one thing: how well you build your characters. Sure, your characters have something to lose, win, and learn, but if you start your book by talking about a murder, your readers won't feel a connection to your character. You need to create characters that pack a punch and that are relatable in some way, so your readers can invest time into getting to know them. When something happens, it will have a much bigger impact on your reader.

When you are building your characters, it's important to realize that your readers are still cheering for your main character to win in the end. They want your protagonist to conquer the evil. While you decide whether or not that happens, you do need to make your readers feel like they know your characters inside and out. Spend time building the relationship between your readers and your characters before dropping a bomb.

Avoid jumping the gun

You may have noticed that some novels start out with a calming scene or perhaps your protagonist pouring a cup of coffee. This is meant as a way to create a connection and set the tone for who your character is. If you start off with a horrific murder, and your first few chapters are all about the crime, the killer and the victim, then your readers aren't connecting.

They don't feel sad for the victim because they don't know the person. They aren't horrified by the killer because they don't know the situation. Instead, spend time developing a relationship between your reader and your characters so that your reader becomes your protagonist. That way, when the crime happens in your book, it will be like it happened to them.

How do you build a relationship between your readers and your protagonist?