Author Topic: A Little Help  (Read 2887 times)

Offline paramour

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Re: A Little Help
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2007, 01:44:34 PM »
That's not quite what I meant, I meant things made to educate and pander to the kids low attention spans. Like the updated Romeo & Juliet with DiCaprio

Hrmmm...like remaking old classics to grab the attention of the younger viewers? I say if it gets the message across, it doesn't hurt. I am a fairly open minded individual and pretty "hip" for a grandmother. I'll try anything new...twice. ;) Guess it's the hippy coming out in me.
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Offline Gyppo

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Re: A Little Help
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2007, 05:32:55 PM »
Within reason anything which gets/keeps kids reading is good, but there should be some progression ;-)

I have heard this same argument applied to 'manga' type comics but personally I find the illustrations so damned ugly that I can't bear looking at more than a few pages.  Just me perhaps.

Now back to the subject matter...

***

Returning to the topic of serial killers as well as using music to get into the right mood it's a good idea to read up some background material on what makes killers tick.   Visit your local library and find books about a few high profile cases.

Some are quite utilitarian killers, killers for gain.  They only become serial killers in the sense that they are repeat offenders.

Others are driven by a deep rooted impulse, like Peter Sutcliffe (The Yorkshire Ripper).  He claims that God told him to kill whores.  An excuse to get a reduced sentence, or a deeply held belief?  Sane people would find the former easier to believe.  But if he really thinks that way what can you do with someone like that?  No amount of sane reasoning will touch him.  No normal Christian is going to accept that God told hm to do it.  A normal agnostic/atheist is going to simply label him a nutter.  Someone with extreme religious beliefs might find it more believable.

Some will admit to getting a god-like feeling from snuffing out life, from having that ultimate control over another's fate.  The mass-killer Dr Shipman was possibly one of these, maybe he got addicted to the rush...

The more interesting type to study are - in my opinion - the super-intelligent type who seem to watch the world through a mental microscope, seeing the rest of us as specimens to be played with.  Just as some people are quite happy to barbecue ants on a sunny with a magnifying class, or pull one wing off a fly and watch it struggle with curiousity but no sense of pity.  Hannibal the cannibal is the classic fictional example of this type.

One thing most of them seem to have in common is the ability (or perhaps a mental coldness would describe it better) which allows them to treat people as commodities rather than people.  Not so much an extra layer of weird feelings/emotions as a mental disconnect from some of the normal reactions.  Similar perhaps to the way some obsessed people will accept injury after injury in a stunt show, but keep coming back with more and more extreme stunts.  More normal performers take so much damage and then pull their horns back in.  But the truly crazy, like the driven killer, can never imagine their luck running out.  They believe themselves invincible.  Maybe not gods, but god-like in their superiority to the normal folk.

I think you need this kind of background image running in your head before you turn on the music and start to write.

Having acted the part of a bad guy on numerous occasions I can tell you there is a point when you find yourself starting to understand their motivations.  You start to see it from their viewpoint, not your own more humane one. It seems to me this is the point you're after, when you can think the unthinkable but are still sufficiently yourself to know it is wrong.  Still sufficiently yourself to be able to write about it.

Writers can be cold fish at times when they start to Blockedyse suffering ;-)  (I once saw a man having his forehead laid open from side to side with a knife slash just after chucking out time.  Most of my attention was on getting my young lady out and away but that sneaky '10% notetaker' who lives in my head was automatically recording everything for future use.  Nearly thirty years later it's as clear as ever.)

Writing about the physical activities of a killer is one thing.  Getting inside their head if they are going to be more than a stereotype is something else entirely. 

Most normal people are quite capable of imagining themselves doing truly barbaric stuff as revenge against someone who killed and tortured their family.  But to get that mental dissasociation which would allow you to do it to a random stranger...?

So your killer needs a good motive. Not just for your own benefit but to make him believable to the readers.

Even if it's a strange one like wanting to kill any man who wears a red tie wth a black bird design.  For your readers to identify with the killer his motive needs to be believable, no matter how bizarre.  It's no good just saying that he hates people with that type of tie.  But if he was asaulted by such a tie wearer as a child it becomes more plausible.  If that image was burned into his brain during the assault (or repeated asaults) as the one thing he focussed on to take his mind off the unspeakable things happening to him then you have the makings of a deeply 'programmed' obsession which 'normal' readers may be able to relate to.
 
It's dark meat to study though, and distinctly uncomfortable if you find yourself beginning to understand them.

Gyppo
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Offline Tarnished Halo

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Re: A Little Help
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2007, 12:56:51 PM »
To Gyppo: I have quite a few true crime books, but my favorites to help me out on this story are a series of books written by former FBI agent John Douglas and author Mark Olshaker. They are: The Anatomy of Motive, Mindhunter, Obession, and Journey into Darkness. They explain much better, the mindset, background and stressor that make these kind of men tick; much better than most of my true crime books. I think I'd be lost without them.

Offline Gyppo

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Re: A Little Help
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2007, 06:51:28 PM »
You're on the right track then ;-)

Gyppo
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1