Whether novel, series or feature film: all crime novels work according to a certain scheme, or in other words “according to a certain formula”. You have certainly noticed that many crime novels are similar. This is because they follow the same plot.

The plot level is a higher level in terms of content. For example, there are crime novels in which several suspects are interviewed and are under suspicion. I refer to such a crime plot as “an ensemble of suspects”. But there is much more than just this one crime plot. I have identified a total of 28 such higher-level crime plots, which I call superplots, for the genre of crime fiction. These plots are “super” because they are above all other plots and have a real success factor for you as an author.

Superplots help you to separate stories from each other and thus to recognize the core of your story more easily. Believe me: A common problem for authors is that they can’t see the unique core of their story. Once you understand that almost all crime novels come down to a manageable number of only 28 Superplots, you will reach a new level of story understanding.

At this point I would like to make an important genre-specific distinction to the genre of the thriller. Because many crime stories with an investigator are often also called thrillers. The main characteristic of the thriller, however, is that no professional investigator is looking for something there, but a layman. This layman is confronted with hostility in the thriller. His life is threatened. He can hardly defend himself. In the crime story, on the other hand, we have experienced policemen or detectives who are relatively good with violence and can defend themselves.

A dead man belongs to the criminal story as salt belongs to soup. The dead doesn’t always have to be there from the beginning. A murder can also happen later. That depends entirely on the story. Don’t be too good. The reader or viewer has a certain expectation. He is looking for a murder or a serious crime in a crime story and wants to follow the solving of it.

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