Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

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    A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths

    "How to Write a Dick is the best work of its kind I’ve ever come across because it covers the whole spectrum in an entertaining style that will appeal to layman and lawmen alike."

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Archive for the ‘How to Order Criminal Records’ Category


Posted by Writing PIs on March 23, 2013

How to Write a Dick cover

To go book’s Amazon page, click on cover

by Colleen Collins & Shaun Kaufman

“If you want authenticity in creating a fictional private investigator for your stories, then this is a must-have reference book. Its authors, Colleen and Shaun, are living breathing PIs with years of actual experience in the PI game.”
~R.T. Lawton, 25 years on the street as a federal special agent and author of 4 series in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

Book Excerpts

How to Write a Dick: Catching the Cheater

How to Write a Dick: Financial Investigations

How to Write a Dick: Intellectual Property Investigations 

Book Blurb

To purchase HOW TO WRITE A DICK, click on Bogie

To purchase HOW TO WRITE A DICK, click on Bogie

The private eye genre has come a long way, baby, with new subgenres — from teenage PIs to vampire gumshoes to geriatric sleuths — attracting new readers every year. Unfortunately, most writers are not aware of the state-of-the-art developments that shape today’s professional private investigator, which sometimes leave writers floundering with impossible and antiquated devices, characters and methods in stories.

Which is why we wrote How to Write a Dick: A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths, whose material we culled from our combined 14 years as private investigators, as well as one partner’s 18 years as a trial attorney training private investigators, and our teaching online classes and conducting workshops at writers’ conferences about writing private investigators.  How to Write a Dick isn’t about how to write a novel, but what you need to know to write an authentic, compelling 21st-century sleuth character or story.


To go to book's Amazon page, click on banner

To go to Secrets of a Real-Life Female Private Eye’s Amazon page, click on banner

Posted in How to Order Criminal Records, PI Topics, Real-Life Private Investigator Stories, Reverse Email Searches, Social Networking Search Engines, Training to be a PI | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Three Book Excerpts from HOW TO WRITE A DICK: A GUIDE FOR WRITING FICTIONAL SLEUTHS

How to Order Criminal Records

Posted by Writing PIs on April 13, 2011

Three tips for how to order criminal records.

Tip #1. Check your local police department website. Many departments offer means for people to order offense reports–at minimum, a person’s name and offense date are typically required. If there is no online order form, call the police station and inquire how to order offense reports. There is typically a $6 to $10 dollar fee.

Tip #2. Order your FBI criminal records. Called an “FBI Identification Record”–the FBI only provides these arrest records to the subject of those records (you must provide an ID, a written request and an $18 payment by certified check or money order). They show arrest charges, dates, and dispositions. Go to FBI Identification Record Request.

Tip #3. Go to county courthouses. The most relevant, current criminal records are maintained in the county courts where the person resided, worked or attended school. Obviously, you know which counties you’ve lived in, but if you’re wanting the criminal records for someone else, you’ll need to know which counties are in their residential/work history. Ask the court clerk their procedures for obtaining criminal records, which typically include a search fee and copying costs.

Note: Don’t fall for those online ads that promise “nationwide criminal records” for $19.95 (or whatever they charge). Sorry, but there’s no such thing as a national repository of criminal records. See Tip #3, above.

Have a great week, Writing PIs

Posted in How to Order Criminal Records, PI Topics | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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