Hello there! My name is Gonzalo and this will be my first post so I'll just get right into it! I have a question that I've been wondering for quite some time and its if a crime story--as the story progresses--can become an epic? A heroes journey? My thinking is with escalation. If the story escalates, could I make the idea bigger; stray away from a crime story and into a larger scale problem?

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Essentially, you'll have to consider the buying public.  Will they buy an epic?  Is it easier to sell a mystery?  I suppose word count would be very different.  Certainly the plot line would differ.  A mystery solves a crime.  An epic journey completes a quest.  The scope of the epic is much larger.  Mixing the two up could create a problem.

Once you choose a genre, you need to stay within the confines of the genre.  That is not to say that crime novels don't allow you considerable freedom within those confines.

I don't see why a story couldn't be both, though there would be challenges. I think of LES MISERABLES as both, as well as Dennis Lehane's THE GIVEN DAY.

I agree with both points! Recently, someone use the example of the Da Vinci Code: where Robert Langdon was brought to assist in a murder mystery and then the story spiraled into religion and conspiracies that challenged two thousand years of beliefs. Of course, I'm not that ambitious! But I see the challenges and was curious in the approach should I commit to the idea. I'm one that certainly loves to test the confines and occasionally break them!

The Da Vinci Code is no epic by any stretch.  It's a thriller.  An epic involves a quest and a hero.

Sounds like a great idea.  The crime stories I really love are so engaging they feel like a new universe, a galaxy far, far away... 

I believe people will read great writing about near anything.

No.  Mysteries and thrillers have specific forms and story requirements that would clash with an epic.   In the end, your story would be another epic.  

The epic nature and larger message in a mystery or thriller can come over a number of books.  Look at LeCarre's Smiley stories that point to the hypocrisy of cold war spying.  Another excellent example is the L.A. Quartet by James Ellroy.  The four books begin with the Black Dahlia and continues with The Big Sleep, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz.  These stories give you the bigger picture of crime and corruption in L.A.  I consider these as required reading for all crime fiction writers.

By the way, while commercially successful, The daVinci Code is a second rate thriller.  Don't get me wrong, I'd take the money, but it isn't something to use as a guide to writing your story.

Exactly.  And extending the quest over a number of books strikes me as an excellent idea also.


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