At Lit Cleveland's Feb. 22nd workshop, award-winning true crime writer Jane Turzillo explained the basics of how to find an interesting true crime case and where to go to find the information to explore it. This was a resource-rich workshop.
Turzillo talked about how to determine if a crime would be interesting enough to explore as an article or book. Is the crime layered? Is the crime itself interesting with enough suspects and unusual situations? Was there a trial? Is the victim at all sympathetic?
Next, Turzillo walked participants through where to find information ranging from newspaper archives to public documents like coroner reports to websites and useful books.
She shared some of her own experiences as a crime reporter and true crime history writer. She passed out a newspaper story of a crime committed in the 1980s, and the group walked through the steps of what aspects of the crime they would pursue if they were writing the story. After learning these approaches from Turzillo, they then went around the room to share what stories they would like to pursue. Everyone had a possible story, and Turzillo commented and offered insights as to what to do next. Afterwards, they felt more motivated to pursue their own true crime stories.
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