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Putting yourself in the mind of a killer...

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Old 10-13-2012, 08:35 PM
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Default Putting yourself in the mind of a killer...


Since I am trying to write killer novel (No pun intended) I thought it would be a good idea to ask online if they were a serial killer/killer, how, why, who, and where would they kill? What enviroment it would be in, who your victims would be, etc.

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Old 10-13-2012, 08:49 PM
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Hello there icycoolx! I'm a new member myself around here, just joined today. But uh, I'm not sure a thread like this belongs here in this section?

Just a thought assuming that in general the "Member's Feedback" section is a section that's only for Feedback and Suggestions for the site itself. Not for stuff like this. Again I could be mistaken, being new here myself. So pay me no mind.

(EDIT: Thread Moved, disregard statement.)

As for your question, I'd think it'd be more appropriate to actually read some mystery novels, or stories. Kind of like the Sherlock Holmes Stories. Perhaps watch some television programs like Forensic Files, NCIS, or CSI. The Japanese Animation, Detective Conan is also a good reference.

I'm suggesting these things because you can best understand a killer, or serial killer through the perspective of the people trying to track them down. You get a very good view as to what led to their capture, or the clues they leave behind, and there's usually some exposition and discovery of why they did it, or how their motives unfolded.

Ya know, just a thought. I'd think it'd be very beneficial to your research.

Last edited by Passim; 10-13-2012 at 11:55 PM..
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:39 AM
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You might consider reading Patricia Highsmith's "Stranger's on a Train" or "The Talented Mr. Ripley"

Her protagonists or often the killer and it compels the reader to take his side. Ripley, the killer, appears in a series of books
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Old 06-05-2014, 01:22 PM
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You can also look for case studies of serial killers. There are even some actual interviews with serial killers that have been recorded or transcribed. Can't get any better than studying the real thing!
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:15 PM
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There are even some actual interviews with serial killers that have been recorded or transcribed. Can't get any better than studying the real thing!
That would be my suggestion as well.
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Old 07-27-2014, 06:10 AM
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Do you have a character in mind? Or are you just thinking along the lines of a serial killer novel of some sort?

Serial killers are a bit of a strange obsession for me. I own several books about serial killers and have watched countless documentaries on them. I can tell you just about anything you want to know about Jeffrey Dahmer. He's my personal favorite. I tend to find him interesting because he's so different. Most serial killers are angry and hate people. He kills because he doesn't want to be alone. Perhaps your character could have something that makes him a bit different to make him a more dynamic character.

Who your victim kills, motivation, patterns, weapons used, torture first or just kill, what to do with the body, cannibal or not, necrophilia or not, all depends on your character's background. Was he abused as a child? Does he have a mental disorder? Does he have a strained parental relationship?

Ed Gein killed women because his mother taught him that they are evil and will try to have sex with him to make him go to hell. Jeffrey Dahmer killed only men that he found attractive because he was more into necrophilia and finding a willing sexual partner than he was actually killing someone. The cannibalism was a way of keeping his victim with him forever, as though ingesting the person would bond them together. He was motivated by an intense fear of being alone. Edmund Kemper was also sexually motivated, killing beautiful women because his mother used to tell him that no woman would ever want anything to do with him. He killed them for sex, then his mother out of anger, even beheading her and throwing darts at her decapitated head. He also killed his grandmother because she added to his low self esteem by emasculating him. Others kill because they have voices in their heads that they believe come from God who wants them to kill "evil doers".

Once you have your character's background, motivation and type will come more easily. He may kill women who look like his mother because he hated her.

A character motivated by anger will likely torture, perhaps rape his victims simply to hear them scream and beg. If he's a sadist, he will make the pain last as long as he can for them. The final killing will be brutal and done by hand. He will strangle his victim, or use a knife or something else that produces a lot of blood and allows him abuse his victim.

If your character is more sexually motivated, someone like Dahmer, the killings will be quick and painless. Strangulation also works here because it's fast. Or he may shoot them so he doesn't feel so connected to the murder- the bullet did it not him. He may feel guilty about the murder. Jeffrey Dahmer was often drunk when he killed, because he hated killing his victim, but felt he had to, so he'd drink to make it easier to do.

Let me know if you have any more questions about serial killers. Good luck with your novel!
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Old 07-27-2014, 06:19 AM
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Oh, also, don't forget to have a trophy from each victim. Most serial killers keep an item to remember each kill by. This will be determined mostly by who is victims are. If he kills women, he may take a piece of jewelry.

Or if he's just really obsessed with death, he may prefer to take a bone or the victim's skull, and clean it. If you have Netflix, look up Skeleton Inc. for some really great inside information on how to clean up a bone properly.

One more question as well- is the serial killer your main character? Or one your main character is working to catch? If he's a main character, be sure to make him likeable in some way. Elicit sympathy perhaps from an abusive childhood and give him a good side, something to make the reader believe he can be a good person if he gets the right help. Like Dexter Morgan. He had a terrible experience as a child that caused him to become a killer and a father that encouraged him to become a killer. He was also a wonderful father, tried to be a good husband, would sacrifice anything to protect his sister, and worked in a career where he could help people. In a book I'm writing, the character is a mass murderer- school shooting. He's suffering from PTSD after seeing his friend commit suicide in front of the school because of bullying. When the other kids mock him over his friend's death rather than learning their lesson about how far bullying can go, he gets angrier and angrier until he snaps and shoots them all at the school. The reader feels sorry for the character because of his pain, and is made to actually feel more sympathy for the killer than his victims. This makes him a compelling main character.
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:10 AM
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Your plot sound interesting have read a few stories based on this. I personally think your victims should be insecure people who are desperately broken or going through something. Hope this helps
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