Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Guest Post- Alex Hughes- Getting into the Mind of a Killer-

Firstly, huge apologies for not being around. I'm moving tomorrow, so things are a bit hectic. If you've sent me emails, they'll be replied to by the weekend. Thanks for being patient and huge thanks to the awesome people who have sent me things for The Month Before Halloween!

Second, and why I'm remembering to post today (though not really, since someone else wrote this), we have Alex Hughes talking about how she got into the mind of a killer. It's a great post, so no more waiting :)

Someone recently asked me, “how do you get into the mind of a killer?” The question made me think about my process for building a story villain, and here’s what I came up with.

Big idea: A killer is a regular person… who you drive off a cliff.

  1. We’re All Killers
Let’s be honest. We’ve all fantasized about getting rid of someone who’s been cruel to us. We’ve all hated or feared someone enough that our hands shook. We’re all equally capable of murder under the right circumstances. The killer has just found his or her circumstances right now.

  1. A Killer Wants Something
Just like the rest of us, a killer wants something. Usually several somethings. The difference is, they don’t necessarily care about other people along the way. They want what they want, and they intend to get it.

  1. Killers are Active
Unlike a lot of story heroes, killers don’t feel the need to sit around and ponder the deeper moral meaning of their actions. No, they’re motivated creatures, are killers. They see what they want and they go after it hard. Not that the plan for world domination might not have several steps, or that their personal internal clock might say there’s been enough killing for this particular moment, but they’re active. They get things done.

  1. Killers Lack “Stops”
Civilized society depends on us saying “no,” at certain points. No, I will not hit my sister. No, I won’t curse out my boss. No, I won’t torture small animals. Some of the “stops” are more important than others – but when it comes right down to it, according to experts in the field, the big difference between most regular people and killers is that the killers are missing some of these stops. It’s what makes a screamed insult turn into a fistfight and a fistfight turn into a fatal stabbing – somewhere along the way, when you and I would have said “no, enough” a killer doesn’t stop. They take the same motivation and the same experience and take it all the way to the ultimate conclusion.

So when I try to get into the head of a killer or a story villain, I try to take a strong feeling or motivation past its usual stops and past any consideration of consequences or other people, all the way to its ultimate conclusion. I try to take the character I already know (smart or dumb, quick or slow, calm or angry, powerful or weak) and see what would happen without any stops.

It’s an unsettling way of thinking.

You can see how this has affected Alex if you read her novel, Clean, published by Roc on the 4th of September. You can buy Clean from Amazon US, UK, or The Book Depository, and you can find it on Goodreads

1 comment:

  1. This list makes me laugh. I am fascinated by this subject (as a strict observer of course.)


Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

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