Plotting Murder

Don’t you love being a writer? One of those people who are allowed to discuss such crazy/taboo topics without having people alerting cops or loved ones keeping the nut house on ICE speed dial.

Even writing mostly medieval-ish Fantasy I’ve gotten to research all sorts of weird stuff, including nuclear explosions, drug trade and illegal alternative cancer treatments.

One of my current projects is a short story idea involving very pre-meditated murder. It’s not my typical arena and so I figure if I’m gonna write one, I might as well make the most of it. I’m not going for a mystery, or gory, violent thriller, but something to keep it interesting.

So far I haven’t come up with any fabulous ideas. The mulling continues. Personally, I love brainstorming with other people and couldn’t help but recall some very creative imaginations here so I wondered what devious ideas might be brewed.

What about you? What do you think are possible makings for an intriguing killing? Do you favor detailed layout or implied? Want into the killer’s plans ahead of time to know what might be coming, or like to get on with it and thrill in the suspense of it unfolding on the run?

Who out there has carried out murder scenarios?

I would love to see what’s going on out there.

Meanwhile, the particulars of my set-up. It’s a fantasy world, relatively primitive technology. Although there is magic in the world and about, this killing seems best done without any such.

The murderer is methodical, relatively efficient but not above vindictive desire for the victim to suffer. Probably not sadistic. Mass destruction is an option (may even be ideal) and said murderer is fine with dying in the destruction as long as target dies too.

Meanwhile I’m thinking possibly complex and absolutely fool-proof with probably several plan Bs. One absolute is that it must be something that can be set up ahead of time and then have it run on auto. Because of the situation, the murderer can have hours to set up, but when the target is present the killer cannot do anything at all suspicious. The target is extremely perceptive.

Crime scene is in rural isolation but otherwise relatively flexible. Caves, tower, treetop… I’ve contemplated all sorts of options. However, speaking of which, I’m also open to any suggestions of old fashioned primitive booby-traps! Risk to innocent bystanders? Zero.

Ain’t no one innocent in this story! Just calculated casualties. Muwhahaha!
*Disclaimer: This is actually not the product of a feverish mind or raving side effect of caring for a sick family for the last week and a half, or caffeine induced at unseemly hours long past bedtime as a last desperate effort to write something.

No – seriously, I’ve been planning this post for weeks, and I haven’t had any caffeine…

…just sugar.

About Ren Black

Part-time novelist. Weekend artist. Full-time Mother. Ex-poet. Perfectionist by training. Compulsive researcher sporadically. Prone to fits of linguistic commentary Unorthodox Renegade occasionally. Sarcastic by habit... Dreamer Always... Consider Yourself Warned

7 comments on “Plotting Murder

  1. Murder mysteries used to be my de-facto genre of choice. I’ve heard authors say that you have to write them backward. After all, the kill is only the inciting incident–the hero still has to figure out whodunit.

    Sounds more like you’re writing suspense. Someone said somewhere that “before the event–suspense. During the event–horror. After the event–mystery.”

    And what’s really more important–the kill, or disposing of the body? Make sure you show both sides of this, so we understand why the killer is so intent on killing the victim. And what the victim did (and whether they deserve murder).

    The song by the Decemberists about the Rake (the guy who murdered all of his own children in various ways) comes to mind. Drowning, poison, battery. Their ghosts come and kill him later on, though.

    • Well, the reasons for why the murder is committed should be pretty obvious and I think that readers are most likely to feel death justified. Disposal of the body is not a concern. The story line isn’t a question of who or why. That’s part of the reason why I’m investing in an interesting kill because I think that it could be one of the best points of leverage to keep the reader’s interest through to the end.

      The reader will know that the attempt will be made, that it must be made, and by whom. So I’m hoping to make the most of those questions left, How and Does it work.

      I like your little genre division by time line. It makes sense.
      Thanks Kessie and sorry for the delay of response. My laptop is like a narcoleptic nut-house patient.

      • Ren: Quite all right! Sounds almost like you’re writing Crime and Punishment. Here’s a guy, decides to bump off his dependent mother and sister, feels justified, does it–and then has to deal with the consequences. I’m curious as to the reason for the story in the first place. What’s the theme, or the moral, or whatever you like to call it? Murder is all right as long as it’s interesting? 😀

        • lol. My murderer has to deal with the moralistic issues later – in another story. The short with the actual incident is on more of a survival level. It’s basically a scientist experimenting on human beings. My murderer is his assistant more or less. The assistant knows too much to be allowed to walk away but can no longer tolerate the twisted nature of the study. Thus the assistant decides to end it by killing the scientist and sort of intends to destroy all things associated with it, including herself.

          Her expectation is that if she happens to survive, murder is unfathomable in her culture. All individuals with any violent inclination are exiled to a deserted isle. In killing she assumes that she will suffer the same fate.

          • Very interesting. What if she goes with more of a “force him to commit suicide” sort of psychological thriller? You know, like in A Study in Scarlet in Sherlock Holmes, when the killer forces people to take poison in a rigged game. Or like in Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, where everyone is confronted with their sins and does each other or themselves in?

            Those kinds of murders (if they’re really murders) always intrigue the heck out of me. It’d be really wild if the gauntlet she cooks up involves the experiments in some way.

          • True, that would sure be interesting but I’m not sure how I can approach that angle. You see, one of the complications I haven’t mentioned that makes things tricky is that the scientist (the murder target) is something of a master mind reader. It would be quite poetic justice if I could manage it though because the experiments are sort of explorations in compulsion. He prides himself on knowing all the thoughts of his assistant – knowing that she hates him but that he would see anything coming a mile away. He uses the results of his studies to control her and punish by inflicting pain psychologically as well as twisted mind games.

          • Hmm. So he’s got her pretty much locked down. But what if he made a mistake? What if he planted the idea by accident? And what if she managed to set up a Final Destination chain of events resulting in his death, that she didn’t exactly foresee and thus he couldn’t read? (Not that she’d have a problem with his death, but maybe she’s doing it all indirectly, without thinking about it.)

            Or maybe she stumbles upon a way to shield a tiny fragment of her mind from his probing (like what Mordion did against the mind control in Hexwood), and that fragment is where this all plays out.

            As the character remarked in Have Spacesuit Will Travel, if a problem is unsolvable, introduce a new variable. 🙂

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