1. Ryan Elder
    Offline

    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,613
    Likes Received:
    78

    Looking for suggestions on how my villain's weakness can be used against him.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Ryan Elder, Sep 10, 2015.

    For my story, it's about a serial rapist/killer type villain and the reason why he is that way, is that he was a misfit while growing up, being bullied and persecuted for being 'inferior'. He becomes lonely, especially yearning for the opposite sex as he gets older, and this turns him into what he is, and he targets women that are the type to reject him.

    So the hero, who is a cop, needs to flush the villain out in order to find out who he is. Not only that but he also needs to get the villain to do something to incriminate himself, so is there as way his weakness can be used against him?

    I thought of a few, in the past, but I was told by other writers and readers that it made the villain look stupid, that he would fall for such tricks, when he was smart enough to cover his tracks on all his crimes in the first place. I was just looking for suggestions, if there is any way to exploit that weakness, without the villain having to become stupid to fall for it, if that makes sense.

    Thank you for the input and advice. I greatly appreciate it :).
     
  2. Tenderiser
    Offline

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,288
    Likes Received:
    5,161
    Location:
    London, UK
    If his weakness is an inferiority complex, then I'd have your hero humiliate the villain in public. The villain will be forced to act to repair his ego and show that he's better than the cop, right?

    Maybe the cop can give a press conference and brag about how he's caught every killer he's ever hunted, and this one is by no means the most sophisticated or intelligent killer he's ever met, so it's only a matter of time. Maybe he makes your villain sound like a bumbling idiot who's just got lucky, and all the journalists and news reporters laugh at him. Your villain will be so enraged at being made to feel like that little kid being taunted in the playground that he'll go after the cop and show him that he can murder very effectively.

    I mean yeah, it will be stupid of your villain to hunt down a cop, but if his motivation is strong enough then it will still be believable.
     
  3. Mumble Bee
    Offline

    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2015
    Messages:
    799
    Likes Received:
    1,313
    Give the Villain something to find so that he stops looking to see if the female is a cop.

    I.E- female is like a 9/10, pretends like she's just playing him for an easy ATM machine. Whenever the situation is out of her control she needs to blow him off, anger and messed up plans will make him sloppy. Finally, when she's able to determine the home field and while the antag is under the impression that this girl thinks she's using him, but is in over her head, when really the third level is that she's setting a trap, you get him.
     
  4. Ryan Elder
    Offline

    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,613
    Likes Received:
    78
    Okay thanks. However, I wanted the cop character to be a beginner and out of his element, at least at first. He's kind of like Clarice Starling, just starting out sort of thing I was thinking. That doesn't mean he can't necessarily lie though, as long as he can back it up. He has as theory as to who the suspect is. He can blab to the press that it's this guy, or blab to the internet, who is more willing to slander someone. However, if the villain responds aggressively and aims to go after the cop, this makes him much less predictable. In order to set a trap for him, it would probably work a lot better if the police could predict where he will go and what he will do as a result, right?
     
  5. Ryan Elder
    Offline

    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,613
    Likes Received:
    78
    What if I wrote it so that the cop found out who the killer is but he does not enough proof to take it trial. So he makes a public statement to the media, saying that he knows who he is but even though he cannot turn him in, he will give away the villain's identity to the world, thereby slandering him, and his family, or anyone who knows him will know he is a serial killer. He tells the villain while making a public statement, that the villain has 24 hours to kill himself, if he does not want his identity to be revealed to the world. He is hoping the villain will do it since then no one around him will know it is him, and he does not have to live with the shame.

    However, there is a possible hole in this idea, because if he kills himself, then everyone who reads in the paper, about any suicide that happened in 24 yours will know that it was most likely him. So either way, the public still may know, and the killer may feel that it's moot.

    What do you think?
     
  6. Inks
    Offline

    Inks Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    Messages:
    655
    Likes Received:
    167
    Uh... So wait, a person in law enforcement is going to make an official announcement. He does not have enough proof and cannot capture the person. So he will announce the name and hope to have the villain kill himself. Then within 24 hours he expects the villain to die, be identified, and not reveal the name.

    And you are worried about the hole being that his name will be known via the paper? Nothing about "slandering", nothing about a cop demanding the person commit suicide, nothing about the time period for death, identification and discovery... 24 hour head start to Columbia woo-woo!
     
  7. Ryan Elder
    Offline

    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,613
    Likes Received:
    78
    No he is not going to identify the villain by name. He is going to threaten to, unless the villain kills himself, hoping the villain will do it, to prevent his name from being publicly shamed. Well the cop is desperate and really pissed off at the killer for what he has done by the time the third act rolls around, so the cop's figures that an unreasonable problem (the villain) is going to require an unreasonable problem. Even though it's a really desperate solution the villain is not going to go down easy and does not play by any rules, so what can the hero do really, since he does not have enough proof to go to trial?
     
  8. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,994
    Likes Received:
    5,503
    I'm going to say it yet again: you need to start this whole plot over and build it as plausible from the beginning.
     
  9. hilal
    Offline

    hilal Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2015
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    27
    Look at the MO, there has to be a link with the previous victims. Other then that look at famous crimes. What your lacking is research. So study. Famous case i dont remember is who this man was identified by his car tires and paint that had been left at the crime scene[source: i studied csi]
     
  10. Ryan Elder
    Offline

    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,613
    Likes Received:
    78
    Okay thanks. But that's not really using his weakness against him. That's just using a piece of evidence against him. I thought that using the greatest weakness against him would just be more dramatic for his downfall.

    As for restarting the whole plot over, that is what I want to do. His greatest weakness is he commits crimes because of how he has been treated and bullied in the past. But I cannot think of how that can used against one, effectively, so far.
     
  11. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,994
    Likes Received:
    5,503
    But you're not starting it over. You're changing only tiny things.
     
  12. Ryan Elder
    Offline

    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,613
    Likes Received:
    78
    Okay. Aside from the cops' method of capturing the villain, what else needs to be changed? This was the biggest problem and most of the other problems were coming out of that. So what else needs to be changed likely, other than the cop's method of capture? It also seems I need to change this first, as the method will determine the other changes that will come out of it.
     
  13. Shattered Shields
    Offline

    Shattered Shields Gratsa!

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2015
    Messages:
    415
    Likes Received:
    272
    Location:
    Athagora
    This is how nearly every single famous serial killer was caught. They always make some small screwup and give themselves away. If you wrestle with the plot too much, it's going to look implausible and silly. Make him screw up because of his weakness.

    If your cop has enough on this guy to know his weakness, then he has enough to get the guy on circumstantial. A cop idling on how to exploit a weakness while people are dying is ridiculous and unrealistic.
     
  14. Ryan Elder
    Offline

    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,613
    Likes Received:
    78
    Okay thanks. I guess I wanted the cop to have a challenge though, rather than have the villain leave a piece of evidence behind to fall into the cop's lap. When you say he has enough to get the guy on circumstantial, how is that enough, since usually circumstantial evidence is thrown out, because it is circumstantial.

    Since the villain's weakness is that he is doing it because of how he was bullied while growing up, how can that cause him to screw up?
     
  15. ToeKneeBlack
    Offline

    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2014
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    207
    You need a ghost from the villain's past - in this case, a woman who used to go to school with him, one who turned him down.

    All she has to do is be in the room and he might lose it. Bam! Your cop moves in and catches him in the act!
     
  16. Ryan Elder
    Offline

    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,613
    Likes Received:
    78
    Okay thanks. I thought about doing it that way, but then the cops would be putting an innocent woman in danger as bait, and I am not sure if they would be up for that. As long as it's believable that they would do that.

    My original idea was that the police create a website of fans for the villain, who admire what he does. The website is fake though, and it's just a ruse. A woman wants to meet him, and tell his story to the world, and sort of be his mediator, and this is how he finally exposes himself and is caught.

    But I was told by some readers and writers that the villain would not be foolish enough to trust a stranger, in that situation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2015
  17. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,994
    Likes Received:
    5,503
    I don't see the cops creating a website in praise of a psychopath, even to catch him.
     
  18. Ryan Elder
    Offline

    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,613
    Likes Received:
    78
    Okay thanks. If they would not create a website, or they would not put a woman from the villain's past in danger, is their anyway the police could use the villain's weakness to get him to come out and reveal himself?
     
  19. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,994
    Likes Received:
    5,503
    I don't feel that his weaknesses have been clarified. As you and I have discussed before, I also find his motivation and the reason that he is the way he is to be unclear. "I was unpopular" is not, alone, a motive for rape and murder. It may be a pointer for what your character's deeply broken personality turns itself to, but I don't accept it as the cause for it being broken. And that implausibility is, IMO, at the core of many of the issues with your plot.
     
  20. Ryan Elder
    Offline

    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,613
    Likes Received:
    78
    Okay thanks. His weakness is that him being bullied in childhood and that him being lonely in his adult hood has caused him to feel inferior to others, but it's also a combination of childhood trauma from the bullying. It's a pointer for what he has turned into, and that pointer, is his weakness. His need is to want to take a stand and commit his crimes, and feel like he has done something to avenge how people have treated him, so as long as the cops can use that to flush him out, that is using his weakness, or at least that is what I intended.

    It's kind of like how in the book Red Dragon, the FBI uses the media to strike a cord in the killer, which will cause him to flush himself out to them hopefully. If the FBI can use the media to that, then perhaps a website to strike a cord in the villain, in modern times, is not so far fetched I wonder.

    But I think that being bullied can trigger violence in people. There was a story a few years ago in the paper I recall, where an autistic kid was being bullied and eventually he came to school with a gun and shot the bully. The cause of what caused him to do that was listed as being bullied through grade school, to high school.

    My brother was autistic too and was pushed to the point of violence in school. Not murder, but I can see it reaching a brutal point. How can I make it more clear to the reader that it can be caused by that instead of the reader not being able to see it that way?

    But come to think of it, a lot of serial killers and mass murderers in real life, have a tendency to overreact. Like if you look at Timothy McVeigh for example, his reason for blowing up a government building was because of what the authorities did in Waco. He wasn't even a personal victim of that incident and he said that was the reason and he just believed in the cause a lot. So as long as you believe in the cause, it seems it is possible. Unless I am wrong?

    The Silence of the Lambs is another example. In that, the killer is killing women because he wants to take their skin and make himself a female suit out of skin, because he was denied gender re-assignment. But if think about it logically, even if he put on a skin suit, anyone he goes out and talks to, will know that is a man wearing a strange skin suit, and not an actual woman. So his plan is flawed and does not make logical sense. So I need to get readers on that level of suspension of disbelief, that even though what the killer is doing will not solve his problem, he still does it anyway, just because he believes it would.

    I also asked a few people with degrees in psychology while researching it and they said that being involuntarily celibate can cause a person to become quite sexually frustrated and angry towards the opposite gender, and therefore they said they thought it was possible for the character.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2015
  21. ToeKneeBlack
    Offline

    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2014
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    207
    I was bullied every day by the same boys without any explanation. One day one of them kicked the chair out from under me, so I turned round in a blind rage and attacked another boy, thinking it was him.

    Everyday I try not to think of what happened, but the physical damage from some of their "pranks" persists to this day. Without an outlet, it becomes easy for those feelings to resurface and there I am, back in the classroom, alone in a sea of faces. You feel like nobody cares what you're going through, because "it was so long ago, just forget about it", but the question remains unanswered - "why?" Why me? Why did I deserve such treatment?

    I try to block it out. I started a family, which gave me a reason not to pursue revenge. If I did, they'd suffer if I was arrested, and I care more about them than I do for my own life. If I lost my family, I don't know what I'd do.

    But my situation is a little different than that of your villain. Maybe his bullies have become famous and successful, leaving their old ways behind. He sees them on TV and wants them to know suffering, just as they showed it to him. And so begins the stalking. He doesn't attack the bullies directly - rather he goes after their wives. One by one. Once the pattern emerges, each of the ex-bullies wonder if their wife will be next - or worse, one of their children. Maybe this is going in a different direction to your original plot, but if you like any of the ideas, please feel free to use them.
     
  22. Inks
    Offline

    Inks Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    Messages:
    655
    Likes Received:
    167
    I really do not think bullies get together in groups and make a conscious decision to be bullies. So I doubt the "old gang" will fear in that situation from ToeKneeBlack. Though the revenge bit makes sense, usually those feelings fade after a few years though.
     
  23. ToeKneeBlack
    Offline

    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2014
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    207
    Sorry about that - something touched a nerve there.
     
  24. Ryan Elder
    Offline

    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Messages:
    1,613
    Likes Received:
    78
    Okay thanks. Well I think for a group of villains who are getting revenge on society for that reason, the MC has to find out who they are... In order to do that he has to do something that will get the gang to take the bait... And how do you get villains to take the bait? You give them what they want, or at least appear to give them what they want, in order to trick them. However, what would a group of villains such as that want exactly? They want to get revenge on people who persecute others, but what could you actually give them, that will make them take the bait?
     
  25. Morgan Stelbas
    Offline

    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2015
    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    44
    Location:
    Toronto area, Canada
    You mention that he has a "type" that he targets. I'm guessing this type is based on physical attributes? In a sense, his pattern is his weakness. This is done over and over again in stories about serial criminals. They all have a pattern or a link between victims, and it sometimes is obvious and other times it's not as obvious, but still there.
    This would enable the idea that he doesn't mess up, he just keeps doing what he's doing targeting his "type", and it's up to the rookie cop to try to figure out the pattern, figure out how he's finding his victims and catch him before he strikes again.

    That being said, this scenario has been played out many times before. So I'm wondering if what you're asking for is a new idea that's never been done before? That will be a lot harder to come up with without extensive research into serial killers and how they work, and probably also how police investigations work.

    What's the setting of your story? Is it modern day? In the past? Does it take place on Earth? You may laugh, but maybe knowing this will help us come up with more ideas.
     

Share This Page