1. Liam R
    Offline

    Liam R New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0

    Introducing the Killer

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Liam R, Nov 16, 2014.

    Just something to get your creative juices flowing!

    Hey, new to this site (as in, 3 minutes ago).
    I am writing a short story about a serial killer. His modus operandi is in its essence, drugging and kidnapping young girls, taking them to the desert and running them over with his car. The main protagonist theorized that doing so gives him some form of sexual release, and that he may be sadistic in his motivations. The reason behind the victims being young and female is unknown (for now).
    The survivor that was interviewed, after going through a memory mapping session, managed to recall a tattoo that was on the perpertrators arm.

    My problem is that I do not have a clue as to how the main characters will figure out this man's identity. It may have something to do with the tattoo, or the young girl aspect to his killing. Any ideas?
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  2. gwrolls
    Offline

    gwrolls Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    England
    You've provided a pretty vague description, so there are a multitude of ways that you could go about finding a killer. Criminal Minds jumps to mind as a show that I've watched that requires the kind of stuff you're going on about, so my advice would be to do a bit of research into fictitious or even real life examples of how detectives go about such stuff. Then, with all that stuff in mind you can go wherever you wish.

    Say if your protagonist researches about the tattoo, has a look around, a couple of false leads, just see where your story leads you. It works like a dream.
     
  3. Lancie
    Offline

    Lancie Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2014
    Messages:
    257
    Likes Received:
    146
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    The series 'Dark Minds' looks right into the mind of a killer and their motives, using the help of a convicted serial killer and an experienced killer profiler. It's really interesting (thought as you can imagine, twisted and sometimes upsetting).

    It depends whether the killer is known to the girls or the communities they're taken from or if he's a drifter. DNA testing on the victims and mapping of the area to determine whether the killer is local or where they're likely to strike/hunt. Anonymous tips. If there are tyre tracks sometimes the make and model can be identified. The tattoo could be a particular style and narrowed down to a certain artist. There are loads of things that you can look into but don't get too bogged down, keep writing and see what feels right.
     
  4. tonguetied
    Offline

    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 23, 2014
    Messages:
    548
    Likes Received:
    219
    Location:
    Near Atlanta
    I believe most criminals make mistakes for any number of reasons. If nothing else comes to mind that might work for your case, just don't create a Deus ex machine for the answer.
     
  5. Catrin Lewis
    Offline

    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,675
    Likes Received:
    1,072
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Where does he drug the girls? At popular bars? If so, the police would post pictures of the tattoo around for patrons to look out for. Perp panics, skips town. Maybe tries to get tattoo removed in another town. But there's one aspect of it he can't bear to lose? Or it won't come off?

    A lot depends on whether you want the tat ID to be the key to catching him (and quite right he should get caught, ASAP :eek:), or just a step along the way.
     
  6. Fitzroy Zeph
    Offline

    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2013
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    269
    Location:
    Canada
    The drugs, he has to get them someplace. The guy who sells them to him starts to suspect something after seeing a news report and something the killer said, so the next time he sells the guy some drugs, they are at a quarter the concentration, and one of the girls gets away. She can't describe him, but now the chemist knows who it is and the killer knows he knows. The chemist, would of course have a young daughter of his own, who lives with his estranged wife and before the chemist can warn them, the killer nabs her. Bastard knew about her already...
     
  7. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,518
    Likes Received:
    1,345
    What drugs? (Seriously, what drugs?...if you just use "he slipped a sleeping pill into her drink" it's so lazy and lame - do a bit of research as to a/ what's powerful enough? b/ what is easy enough to administer [as in, does it only come in tablet form?] c/ what won't leave a giveaway taste or discolouration?) If they're powerful enough to sedate the victims, they're probably prescription only...so where does he get the prescription? Or is he using a bent pharmacist? Or are they some sort of street drug?

    Do the drugs leave a clue in the blood-work of the girls at autopsy?

    As already mentioned, tyre-tracks?

    I don't believe the police would "post pictures" of the tattoo...they'd be more likely to canvas the regulars at the bar.

    How young are these girls? Teenage enough to be out on their own? Young enough to be paedophile queries?

    I actually find "one of the victims survived and gave a vital clue about his tattoo" to be rather deus ex machina.
     
  8. Fitzroy Zeph
    Offline

    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2013
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    269
    Location:
    Canada
    First off I forgot to say welcome to Liam, Hi Liam,

    @Shadowfax, It's fiction. I'm thinking it is possible to go beyond the choices available on the streets and in the Compendium of Pharmaceuticlas for choices in drugs. Even then, if our chemist is smart enough, and I do think we need a genius mind here otherwise the plot flops, then he may find a combination of available drugs to use. I don't know, this isn't my story.

    Or maybe the chemist is the murderer, maybe he was a top researcher at a big pharma lab and came across a drug that can easily be given by simple touch. I'd make the chemist the protagonist, and the fact that he got caught and fired by his asshole CEO boss, the one with the young daughter, the one he wants to get even with just because he had sex with a lab assistant who accidentaly touched the drug.
    There are a million ways to go on this and limiting it to grinding up your mothers oxy is too deus la machina.
     
  9. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,518
    Likes Received:
    1,345
    Going "beyond the choices available...in the Compendium..." isn't fiction, it's fantasy - sci-fi at best.
     
  10. Fitzroy Zeph
    Offline

    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2013
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    269
    Location:
    Canada
    And that would be bad? I think then, that a lot of what is sold as fiction, should be re-shelved under fantasy or sci-fi. Especially all the romance novels.
     
  11. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,518
    Likes Received:
    1,345
    I recently re-read "Venus with Pistol" by Gavin Lyall. It's about a set of villains assembling a collection of art, some purchased legitimately, some less than. One of the pieces of art is the eponymous painting, alleged to be by Giorgone, of a naked woman holding a wheel-lock pistol...of which there is no known example dating from before the time of Giorgone's death; therefore it must be a forgery.
    Lyall comes up with a plausible explanation as to how it could be genuine.

    THAT'S fiction. He invents something, but puts it plausibly within the world in which we all walk every day.

    To go back to the OP, if Liam invents a chemical compound that knocks out the victims five minutes after they've left the bar, renders them unconscious for ten hours, doesn't need medical knowledge to calculate the effective dosage, and leaves no trace in their blood-work, that's fantasy. If, having done his research, he invents a chemical compound that builds upon known drugs to do the same thing, that's fiction. Even if the knowledge of which chemical it is doesn't appear in the book - though I suspect that the temptation to flaunt that knowledge would be hard to resist!
     
  12. Fitzroy Zeph
    Offline

    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2013
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    269
    Location:
    Canada
    @Shadowfax the word "plausable" is probably the best word you used to describe what I am also trying to say. However, it's likely different readers, and, I am assuming at this point, writers feel they need different levels of rationilzation to accomplish the plausablity of any plot element.

    Fiction, I believe to be the broad banner, the one at the top, below that is fantacy and genre (and others obviosuly) and below that is murder mystery; I think is what the OP wants write. I need to see blue pixies blowing coke up the snout of the killer's nose with their wings before I would consider it to be fantasy. Mixing a knock out cocktail of the hundreds or more to choose from, never mind the many nasty ones that never got FDA approval, I think most readers would find acceptable without having to see a full blown chemical and drug list, including dosage and possible side effects. It would also add characterization to the bad guy. We'd know he was smart and methodical and therefore a tough guy to catch. We could add motive into his actions as well. The exact drugs just don't matter.
     
  13. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,518
    Likes Received:
    1,345
    All fiction requires a suspension of disbelief on the part of the reader.

    When that suspension goes beyond "what happens to us within the rules of physics as we know it" it becomes fantasy or science-fiction (or something else)

    I recently read a short story based on the Nazi conference to discuss the final solution, and the new "company car" of a junior officer who attended. It was set in a street in an unspecified German city, where all the neighbours were involved in admiring his car. Now, this conference is fairly well-documented...those in attendance are well-documented, as is the date. Only senior officers attended, so the MC wasn't there. It was a top-secret conference, so he wouldn't have been discussing it on the street - especially with what was obviously a Jewish sympathiser. It occurred in the middle of the coldest winter, in Europe, in the 20th century, so it's incredible that people would have been just gossiping in the street when it's that cold out. Some readers will have happily read that and accepted it as a good story.
     
  14. Fitzroy Zeph
    Offline

    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2013
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    269
    Location:
    Canada
    The truth, the real thing, is just too boring most of the time. Clearly this is an area you have a need for precision in history or reality, but if it was a secret meeting, and the author is just putting his best spin on it, adding dialogue as he feels, then other details might as well be tweaked as well. If the end story keeps the reader engaged, entertained and turning pages I say then it is a good story. If the story needs to be comprimised to get some fact straight, then this would seem a poor decision to me, especially if embellishing it with phony detail makes it better yet.
     

Share This Page