True Crime is happening all around us. It can be a robbery at the local gas station or a national act of horror, such as the Las Vegas shooting that left almost 60 people dead. It doesn't matter how serious the criminal act is: crime is all around us and writers often draw on these real-life events when writing a novel. Sometimes, drawing inspiration from these true crimes allows writers to craft more believable -- and therefore more terrifying -- stories. Sometimes, insane crimes can be unbelievable and readers may be turned off. Perhaps no one thought it was believable that someone would fire on a crowd of people from a Las Vegas hotel room prior to October 2017.

Many writers try to explore real-life crimes when they have a period with writer's block, exploring crimes scenes, criminals, or even unsolved cases that result in great research. Live television coverage of mass shootings may also provide a story idea, where the crime scenes are altered a bit. Readers of crime may know of many cases from shows such as "48 Hours," "Dateline," and the many shows featured on "Investigation Discovery." But, how do you use these crimes or events as a basis for a story? How can you use a horrible national event as an angle for your upcoming thriller?

Being sensitive to the victims' families

When you are watching true crime, it's important to understand that these are real crimes that happened in Real Life and to real people.

Some of the individuals involved may be scarred for life and may not be interested in reliving their nightmares through a best-selling novel. It's important to be sensitive to the fact that the victims have families and they are suffering.

While you may find inspiration in a crime, others find horror. Others could be so distraught and affected by it that their lives are no longer the same.

They are saddened, shocked, or perhaps depressed over what happened. It's therefore insensitive to use a true crime as inspiration for your entire novel. While it isn't illegal, it is in bad taste. Plus, if you use real names in your book based on real crimes, you could be in legal trouble if someone doesn't agree with your story.

Drawing inspiration

It's important to use real crimes as an inspiration point only. For example, take one or two elements you find interesting from the crime and use that in your novel. To distance yourself even more from the crime in question, use elements from another case. Blend elements together to create your very own narrative that is so far removed from the case you started with that no one will ever notice.

How do you draw inspiration from real-life cases?

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