Conducting proper research is essential for any nonfiction book, but can be especially important when writing a true crime book. True crime is a genre in which the author tells the story of an actual crime and details the actions of the real people involved. Author Carla Norton highly recommends attending the trial when writing any kind of present day, nonfiction crime story. She also suggests visiting and reviewing the scenes of the crime, learning about the evidence, and understanding the roles the various experts play. For her New York Times bestselling true crime book, Perfect Victim, Norton wanted to inhabit the story and research as fully as possible, so she visited the basement where the kidnap victim was kept and tried on the wooden headbox that the victim was forced to wear every day. These types of experiences, while haunting, allowed her to understand first hand what the victim in her story went through. Writing a true crime book can be a huge investment of time and effort, Norton says, but that's what it takes to give these stories the consideration and attention they deserve.
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