My Mission For You:

Don't let #Doubt extinguish your #Sparks. Find the #Sparks you need to ignite your stories, dreams, and life.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Writing About: Police Officers



I write about a lot of police officers in my stories. There are cops in Hurricane Crimes, 30 Seconds, my unpublished supernatural-thriller series, and the next short story I plan to publish. I just love cops as characters, so it’s about time I create a post dedicated to them! 

By the way, 30 SECONDS is now available on Amazon!!! :D


Here are 10 things to keep in mind if you use police officers in a story:

1.    Good Name

Men and women in the police force have all kinds of names, but when you’re in control, you get to create a good, strong name for your character, and a name that will sound perfect with “Officer” or “Detective.” In 30 Seconds, my hero is Blake Herror, and in the sequel to Hurricane Crimes there’s a Detective Thorn.

2.    Strength

Your character has to be tough both mentally and physically. Police officers see a lot of horrible things, and they hear the most bizarre stories, so your character needs to have a mind and stomach of steel. He/she will also need to be able to run far and defend him/herself in a fight.

3.    Uniform

If you’re writing about a police officer, he/she will frequently wear a uniform, Kevlar vest and utility belt complete with a sidearm, handcuffs, baton (nightstick), and radio.

4.    Vehicle

Your character will most often be driving a police car. Is it a typical police car or is it an unmarked car used for undercover work?


5.    Station

Where will your story be set? This is the home of your character’s police station. You’ll need to mention the station throughout your story. Some places in the station you can use for scenes are interrogation rooms, holding cells, and locker rooms.

6.    Boss

Your character will need people to answer to. Don’t forget to introduce a captain or police chief.

7.    Stealth

All police officers have a special way of moving, and can sense when something is wrong. Make your character quick on his/her feet, and give him/her a ready-for-action posture when it’s needed.

8.    Physique

This should go without saying, but make sure your character is fit.

9.    Personality

Give your character these personality traits: determination, intelligence, common-sense, cleverness and even stubbornness, if you’d like.

10.    The Job

Follow your character on his/her job as he/she patrols the streets, makes arrests, writes reports, and chases speeding cars. Tie some of this into the actual plot of your story.

TIP #1: Be knowledgeable about guns, police procedures, and cop lingo. Check out this website: How to Become a Police OfficerThey created a list of blogs by law enforcement professionals that offer a wealth of information into the police world. And one of our blogging friends, Slam Dunks, made it as #9 on the list! 
TIP #2: Read crime books. Also watch movies and TV shows like Chicago PD, Blue Blood, and Rookie Blue.
***

SHARE: Your tips for writing about police officers.


QUESTION: What are your favorite police books/movies/TV shows?


KICKSTARTER:  “Beaten, raped, and left for dead at age 18, this survivor's smile and laugh will warm your heart. Her story needs to be told.Help PK Hrezo so she can write this beautiful memoir that'll touch so many and make a huge difference in a beautiful young woman's life. CLICK HERE to read more and donate $1 (or more).



36 comments:

  1. A good name does make all the difference. The boss is fun to work in too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sure does! I always like to get creative with my character's name and make it match their profession. :)

      Delete
  2. The things that helped me the most to realistically portray police officers and detectives were: (1) read true crime books, especially ones (if there are) set in the same PD where my story is set; (2) meet police officers and talk to them. Police officers have a very unique lingo and, turns out, they LOVE to talk to people! Also, so many thrillers/police procedural books are so dramatic, but the truth is, these guys have a strong, dark, wonderful sense of humor. It's their way to shake off all the horrid stuff they see on their job line. So, please, when you portray police officers, don't forget to make them crack a joke here and there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Talking to real officers is wonderful advice, E.E.! It would definitely help a writer who needs to understand more about the job and has questions that he/she can't find through research.

      And I'm pretty sure Blake cracked a few jokes throughout 30 Seconds, Dani, too. I had to do something to lighten the mood. :)

      Delete
  3. oh, and I forgot to say: good luck on your launch tomorrow, I've got the post scheduled on my blog for the 18!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Attending the annual Writers Police Academy is a fun way to learn more about all public safety people, their psychology, and procedures. Contact the Public Affairs officer at your local police department for assistance. And checkout The Graveyard Shift, Lee Lofland's blog. He's also written a comprehensive book on police procedures that's an excellent reference.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those are all great tips, Ashantay! Thanks for sharing!!

      Delete
  5. E.E. definitely has some great suggestions! I used to watch a lot of true crime shows on the Investigative Discovery channel and that helps as well because they interview the cops associated with the cases. And best of luck with your release tomorrow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She sure did have great suggestions. Anything true crime whether it's a book, show or movie is golden.

      Thank you! :D

      Delete
  6. Favorite? Dirty Harry!
    They do need stealth, although not as much as a Ninja.
    Tomorrow is the big day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dirty Harry is a classic.

      I know! Eek! ;)

      Delete
  7. Oooh, Chrys you've made me want to make one of my characters a police officer after reading this. I don't write mystery though. I love watching the true crime shows such as forensic. They always interview the PI on the case at the time and I find these men interesting. They're so very dedicated to solving the crime for the victim's family. Is you book 30 second available as a regular book or on itunes? I don't have a kindle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find officers, detectives and investigators interesting as well, which is why I always write about them. :)

      Oh, dear, 30 Seconds is only available as an eBook, but on my publishers website you can order a different format (pdf, mobi, or ePub).

      http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=5801

      Delete
  8. These are awesome tips for writing about police. I watch those true crime shows and I'm amazed at how the cops work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kimberly! I am amazed at how cops work, too.

      Delete
  9. I have police officers in my latest WIP. It was not easy to write them since it was my first time using them. I was vague if I didn't know something, but I did draw from all the shows and books I've read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Using shows, movies and books as inspiration is always good. :)

      Delete
  10. I love crime and suspense novels. My WIP has a detective and a police officer, currently, and I had to do A LOT of research for their roles and surroundings. I remember spending hours looking at different guns and terminology I wasn't familiar with. These are some great tips, Chrys!
    I downloaded your book this morning to show my support=) Best of luck with the release and I will be looking forward to having you over on my blog for the tour!! Hugs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH for downloading 30 Seconds!!!!!! I do feel your support. All the time. :) Thanks! Hugs

      Delete
  11. I like the tips, but I also like turning them upside down. What about a detective with a skinny, weak physique who appears to be ineffective and passive? What if he uses his appearance to disguise a very clever mind? Or what about a dirty cop? See, this is why these tips are great. You can use them to create a strong, good officer, or you can use them to turn that cop on his head and make him evil :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can definitely turn them upside down! That's the beauty of writing your own book and creating characters. I just decided to stick with the typical cop character for this post, but in my story Hurricane Crimes and the sequel, I did write about dirty cops. I'm glad you like my tips, Liz. :)

      Delete
  12. I actually work for the police, though as a programmer. I must say, it is fun to watch the troopers train.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I read Ed McBain's first 87th Precinct novel, Cop Hater, awhile ago, and enjoyed it. I'd read some mysteries before, but never a police procedural.

    One of my favorite secondary characters in my Russian historicals is the police officer Harry Baron, whom I've included in all three books so far. I wrote about him at http://carrieannebrownian.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/harry-baron/. There's also a minor recurring cop character in my Atlantic City books, who's always referred to as "the cop with the cute ass." He's finds it rather frustrating how he's almost always assigned to stupid, ridiculous cases (like trespassing at a private swimming hole) instead of real criminal matters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll have to check out Cop Hater.

      I love cop characters and create new whenever I can, or carry one over into other stories. Like you, I can't seem to let them go. If I was your cop, I'd be frustrated, too. :P

      Delete
  14. I think you've summed up how a police character should be quite nicely!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Congratulations on the release! Awesome post!

    ReplyDelete
  16. There's so much to learn about police work. When I wrote romance, I always wanted to write a romance with a police officer hero...but the research was grueling!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, Stephanie! There is a lot to learn, but it's not impossible. Maybe one day you'll write that romance with a police officer hero. :)

      Delete
  17. I love cop dramas: Law & Order (especially SVU), Criminal Minds, The Closer, and British dramas like Midsomer Murders, DCI Banks, Wallander, Inspector George Gently, Line of Duty ... I hope to write crime fiction in future as well. Oh and Chrys, I learned about your 30 Seconds sale just minutes ago. Heading over to purchase a copy after this. Very excited for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Criminal Minds is one of my favorites!

      Thank you, Claudine!!! I appreciate your support! :D

      Delete
  18. I've written about police officers. I had to research police procedures for my Touch of Death series and The Monster Within.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like knowing that, Kelly. Thanks for commenting! :)

      Delete

Please tell me what you think. I love to chat! :)

Popular Posts!