1. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    A Person You Love Just Killed Someone

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Lyrical, Jul 20, 2015.

    I need some reaction help. I've written a scene, but I'm not convinced the reaction of one of my characters was exactly natural.

    How would you react if someone you deeply loved (lover, family member, or friend, doesn't matter) confessed that they had killed another person?

    If you need more information than that to formulate your honest reaction, here is a bit more:
    -It was not an accident. It was deliberate murder.
    -If you question this person, they will simply tell you they were coerced, though they will not try to use that as an excuse. They will admit to being a coward.
    -They are tormented with guilt about what they've done.
    -They are not seeking your forgiveness, you did not know the person they killed and had nothing to do with it.
    -This person that you love has made some tremendously poor choices recently, and you knew they were getting into trouble, but you never expected it to go so far.
     
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  2. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    I really don't know.

    I feel like I'd hug em, kiss em, tell em I love em. Refuse to listen to any details. And then never speak to them again.

    Then I'd be plagued with the problem of "would you tell the authorities."

    The "correct" thing to do would be to run to the police station immediately - but who wants to be involved in the arrest and persecution of someone you love dearly? But then again, if it were to ever come out that you knew something and didn't tell anyone - you'd be persecuted and your life would basically be over. So then it becomes the question of, "Do you love them enough to risk your future?"

    Honestly I don't know what choice I'd make. I'd like to think I'd go to the police.
     
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  3. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    I'd be there for them and ask what happened. Then I'd tell them to do what they think right.

    In all reality it wouldn't faze me. Especially seeing as I have a lot of crazy friends. And have fallen for some pretty crazy girls.
     
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  4. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    Numb... too many conflicting emotions for them to handle... silence ..... confusion .....
     
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  5. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    First thing I'd think about is whether I was safe. Is this person going to kill me if they think I might tell the police?

    If I thought I was safe, I would ask a ton of questions about it. I'd try to find some way to justify it for them because I wouldn't want to see them as a murderer. If there was anything close to resembling a justification, I'd probably accept it in the moment, tell them I would keep it a secret, and think about it more when I was next alone. If there was nothing resembling a justification, I'd want to get the fuck away from that person and think about think about what I'd do next.

    Ultimately, a lot of factors would determine whether I'd eventually call the police, including the victim, the context around the murder, whether I thought the murderer was still a threat, the possibility for legal action against me if I don't tell the police, the murderer's chances of being caught, and more.
     
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  6. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    This would be the first thing I'd say:

    Warning: Language.


    “Then why the FUCK did you kill that person?! Why didn't you just come to me for help? Or better yet, the police?! Why did you think murder was a goddamned good idea?! And now you're pulling me into this? You think I'm just going to hug you and say, ‘Aw, it's OK, it's gonna be OK’? No, it's not gonna be OK. You're goddamned FUCKED! FUCKED! No, we're goddamned calling the police right this goddamned minute and you wanna know why? BECAUSE YOU FUCKING MURDERED SOMEONE!!”




    I'd be too angry, to appalled at this apparent betrayal to really consider anything else. This person, this friend/relative that I thought I could trust, thought I could rely on, did the absolute last thing I'd thought they'd ever do.
     
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  7. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Deeply loved?

    My husband: I wouldn't love him any less and I wouldn't report him to the police if he didn't want it. He's the only person I deeply love, so... that'd be my answer.
     
  8. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Personally, I'd feel as if I didn't know them at all if they could do something that is so abhorrent to me.

    But, what if your joint values didn't include such abhorrence? What if your ideals included acceptance of the taking of a life under certain circumstances?

    Like @KaTrian would forgive her husband; I have to ask, would it surprise you that he would do it?
     
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  9. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not really good at touchy-feely emoting, so I'm not sure how much I'd be able to help the person there, but I like to think that I would at least be reasonable enough to try.

    After the initial shock and horror that s/he had done this, I would try to make the person focus on: "If you go to the police, then you will go to prison for an extremely long time. If you don't go to the police, then the people coercing you will keep doing this until you get you killed by somebody like them."
     
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  10. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well.. I'm the only person he'd kill for. If somehow someone coerced him into that by threatening my life or well-being, I wouldn't be surprised. I don't know what kind of situation that could be but I'm working here on the assumption that something like that has happened and I should examine how I feel and how I would react.

    I'd be horrified too. I'd want to find the person who put him in that situation and make him pay. But I wouldn't love my husband any less, wouldn't feel betrayed, wouldn't go to the cops...

    Of course, this exact scenario couldn't happen. His choices have never been so poor, if poor at all, so there is no "track record." He doesn't fit the profile of this character. But even if he did, and if I loved this version of him deeply, I guess I'd still keep on loving him after the fact.

    Maybe I'm defining deep love differently, though. I only know the love I feel for him and the love I feel for my family. The former I consider deep. But then again... if my brother was coerced to kill 'cause someone threatened e.g. his son or spouse, I don't think my reaction would be much different. I'd feel angry for someone putting him through that, but I'd continue loving him and I wouldn't abandon him or turn my back on him. I'd trust they did everything they could to avoid taking another person's life but just ended up cornered.

    So I guess my reaction depends on how they were coerced. If they didn't reveal it, then my reaction would more reserved and less understandable 'cause then I'd be in a situation where I'd have to admit I don't know this person at all. While, weirdly enough, I don't find it far-fetched that pretty much everyone has something or someone they'd be ready to kill for. It sounds naïve, I know, but I can't help it, I have a feeling even the most normal people are capable of it when the stakes are high enough.
     
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  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    From a writer's perspective, that's one hell of a good question to ask. Wow.

    I'd have to think about it. I very much doubt I'd go running to the police unless the crime was particularly horrendous, whereupon I probably would stop loving that person—because this would change what they were, to me at least. I'd have to admit I was loving somebody who didn't really exist. Turned out this nice guy has molested and murdered children? Or killed an elderly lady (on purpose) to steal her money, or something like that. Some motive that was really crass and self-serving. In fact, if those things were the case, I'd run a mile and probably would tell the police.

    Other scenarios? Well, I'd probably ask myself (on behalf of my innocent character) "Would I have loved this person if I'd known beforehand what they had done?" If the answer is yes, I think I'd try to protect them and would not stop loving them. The dead person is dead, and can't be brought back.

    Another question I'd ask myself would be: "If this person had it to do over, would they still do the same thing?" And the corollary: "Would they ever do it again?" If the answer is yes ...I'd hesitate a bit. Then motive would come into it. I can think of lots of instances where murder might feel justified, even though it never is justified in the eyes of the law. But if the murdered person had led the kind of life that spread misery to others, killing this person would not feel like such a bad thing. Did the murderer think he was doing the world (or me, the person who loves him) a good turn? Is the murderer sincerely sorry and wants to make amends?

    I'm assuming here that the lover is in no danger from the murderer. Of course if they are, or feel as if they are, then that changes the whole thing. If I found myself in that position, I'd get the hell out of there ASAP, no matter how much guile I had to employ. And then go straight to the police, unless circumstances prevent that choice.

    So much of this is grey area. And so much of it depends on the personalities of the characters involved. The murdered person. The murderer, and the person who loves the murderer.

    However you answer this question as a writer, it's a compelling one, for sure.
     
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  12. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    Ha. I feel like the answer to this question is as varied as the question, "What is your favorite color?" So many different hues and shades all interpreted differently as our lives have been different.

    My answer was centered around someone like my best friend approaching me - 'cause I don't have a SO that I care deeply about and I can't imagine having one right now. But then KaTrian immediately thought about her husband - and how she wouldn't love him any less and would be with him and figure it out with him which is completely understandable.

    Then there's Link's answer - which is downright volatile. :D I completely understand that one too and honestly I'd probably have something similar to say in certain circumstances. Hell, I've reacted like that to some things my friends have told me anyway.

    As the person above said, it really depends on their personality and their definition of being "wrong." Maybe they grew up in a town where they're used to violence and making hard choices and are surrounded by people making those hard choices every day. I feel like they'd be more forgiving and understanding. Or maybe they grew up a pretty perfect princess with nothing resembling a hard life - that person would probably react with horror and distaste.

    Then, the circumstances of the murder comes into play.

    It's all very circumstantial and personality based and I'm quite interested in how you decide to write it.
     
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  13. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    Thank you! I asked my husband this question before I posted and he simply said, "I'd tell you that I need some time." I thought it was a mild reaction and realized I would probably behave differently in the same situation. So nothing would do then but to see what other writers thought. I'm glad I asked.

    Yes, my thoughts exactly. It has been fascinating to see the different perspectives, and this is all incredibly helpful. I'm realizing the reaction that I already have written might not be as far off as I thought. I see a lot of his reaction reflected in the various posts here. There are some adjustments I think I'd like to make, for sure though.
     
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  14. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Initial reaction would be cold shock. Need time to process this.

    Hmm. It's looking grim. An internal process of disconnection is starting to execute its subroutine.

    It's getting worse. Definitions are falling into place that fall outside the parameters of someone I can love.

    I come from a culture that is very permissive as regards extravagant emotional displays. This isn't winning me over. Me, personally.

    .... ok.

    I'm cutting my losses. And there is a huge part here that is no longer about my choices. I have a particular life history that makes emotional divorce a rather clean and surgical procedure for me. Doors are closing. Windows are locking. Shades are being drawn. I will quickly disentangle myself from this person. Me.
     
  15. Void
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    Void Contributing Member

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    Given this situation, especially the fact it wasn't anyone I know, my first reaction would be:
    "Why the hell are you telling me this? Who else knows and who else do you mean to tell?"
    If the answer was anything other than "Just you" then the next thing I would say is:
    "I didn't hear any of this, you never told me anything, and we didn't have this conversation just now."

    It may seem callous to shove them out the door and ignore the situation, but if I know of this murder then I have a legal obligation to tell the police, and if this person is stupid enough to go around telling others then they are stupid enough to get caught. What's more, if this person is foolish enough to tell me about the others who know of the murder then they may be willing to tell these same people that I know about the murder, meaning, if any of the others buckle under guilt and rats this person out then they may also tell the police about those who knew of the crime and did nothing.
    Selfish? You bet, but I have no desire to board a sinking ship.
     
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  16. Lemon flavoured
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    Lemon flavoured Active Member

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    I personally wouldn't tell the authorities, and would probably just call the person a twat and leave it at that. I am slightly autistic though, so my reaction is likely ... non-standard.
     
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  17. AsherianCommand
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    AsherianCommand Active Member

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    Well it matters.

    If it was justified then maybe it is trying to ensure that person is fine. Whether or not the character needs help.

    I don't think the other person would be completely fine killing someone, it is a time of great stress and people can change after taking a life. The other characters would act differently, according to what they do and how they feel. I remember talking to a marine, and he talked about how he killed someone. What were the thoughts that passed through his head. Though I didn't talk to him directly. I read it in his journal that he gave me. And it gave me quite an understanding of the human mind when they take someone elses life. It is primordial it is apart of us. As someone once put it. "Men are Machines, and Men are Beasts." We can't really ever escape that reality. Even if we tried.

    Many people do not have the thought even enter their mind, they would be cautious, they would be sad, and they would be very afraid. It would matter on how close that relationship is.

    Sometimes people will do anything to protect their family member, but sometimes they will try to do the right thing which is to turn them in.

    It matters. It really does on the person, their morals, and their life experiences.

    In one of my stories. One of my characters kills his sister, though he was justified, he was never the same after that event. He just stopped caring about the world. Instead of being bound to his old morals, he became someone else. Its a psychological phenomenon. To have someones life in your hands and taking it away from someone is something very strong and not something anyone could just recover from. They will be psychologically scarred for the rest of their life.
     
  18. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Agreed.

    Though personally, I would have them stay with me as we called the police. After I calmed down, I would say, “I can't control what will happen to you after what you've done, but at the very least we'll let the authorities know what's happening. Better safe than you wandering off and I have to worry about one of them busting down my door to extricate my soul. You brought me into this, so we're gonna see this to the end no matter how it ends, got it?”
     
  19. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    +1

    Having had people accept me for me, that's what I will do in return.
    We all make mistakes.
     
  20. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Yeah, but...murder? Sure if my beloved went on a bigoted rant because her anger got out of control and later showed remorse for it, I'd give her another chance. I'd still love her and help her.

    But murder?? I'm sorry, but the law is the law. If my beloved killed someone and I didn't report them in, I may as well be aiding and abetting them.
     
  21. Song
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    Song Active Member

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    Me personally, my first reaction would be disbelief. It's big news and you don't expect it to happen to someone you know. Once I did believe it, I would be trying to find out what happened, because I would be shocked and still wouldn't want to accept that this person could do that. Then if they are telling me it's an accident I would be trying to work out if it was true or not but I can imagine some people wanting to believe they were innocent so much they would believe anything. I would then tell them they had to hand themselves in to the police, I wouldn't want to become accessory to the fact (which you are if you know but don't tell the police.) But maybe your character wouldn't, you have to think of their personality. Are they gullable? Easily led? Is the MC very charming and is able to convince them to not say anything? Lots of stuff to think about in that situation.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2015
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  22. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    But society is fixed and not always right. Morals are fluid. It all depends on the circumstances of the murder. If someone was raped and your friend killed the rapists would you be upset about it? I wouldn't, because I would be completely fine with it and get him a beer or cup of tea. How was he coerced into the murder? Because that also counts. What happened if both parties were coerced (said person paranoid your friend/lover into thinking bad people were after them and then coerced someone else into trying to rob their house therefore setting up the crime) would it be so bad then? I doubt it would be. Again, there are many reasons people kill others, and not all of them are bad. Hell we have people legally murdered every day. You going to call the police on them? No, because it's all fluid. Unless I find myself at risk of being hurt or killed than I find no real reason to do anything than help her/him get over it or figure out how they would feel best about it. Hell if the body was still around I'd help clean up the mess and give the victim a proper funeral. People are flawed and morals are fluid.
     
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  23. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    True, true.

    Keep in mind, though, this would be my first reaction after I found out that someone I loved had just killed someone. Defensive, somewhat selfish, and very rash. It would take time for me to calm down, get my thoughts together and grill him/her for information to find out exactly what had happened.

    Thankfully this is hypothetical, so after calming down (without calling the police first; never do anything rash when you're borderline insane with shock and anger), I'd probably give him/her something to drink and say, “OK, I'm ready to listen. What happened, tell me everything.”
     
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  24. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    People are much more comfortable with state sanctioned murder.
     
  25. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    That is where you and me differ my friend. My first reaction would be "ok". Then I would ask them why and how and about everything. Because in reality the coercer is the one who is responsible for the victims death, not my friend. So then comes figuring out a proper response to the coercer. Finding a way to make it so the coercer could no longer coerce anybody into having other people killed.
     

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